April 6, 2012

What's In Your Wallet?

No, this is not about credit cards or those funny Viking characters. Rather, it is literally about what is in my wallet, and what that says about what is important to me.

Cash. Not surprisingly I have a few hundred dollars in cash in my wallet. As I write this we are leaving for a long weekend out of town so I have about $100 more than normal. Like most folks I put almost everything on a credit card, but want greenbacks for the feeling of security it gives me if a card doesn't work. Also, for anything under $10 I am likely to pay with money instead of a card.

Credit Cards. There are three in the wallet. One gets most of the use because of cash back and no annual fee. Another gets me into Costco, while a third is an emergency backup card. It gets used just enough to stay active. As regular readers know I always pay off the full credit card bill at the end of every month so I have them for convenience, not to buy things I can't afford to pay for.

Driver's License. Obvious, but an important date is coming up. When the license was issued, I had 15 years until I needed to renew it on my 65th birthday. That seemed like forever into the future. Now, it is only a few years away. Me 65 in 2014? Can't be, but the new picture will reflect it.

AARP Membership card. There are people who are unhappy with AARP's stand on various political issues. I don't care about any of that. I just like their monthly magazine and all the discounts the card gets me.

AAA Card. I have this purely for safety. If i break down somewhere I want to know I can get a tow or help anywhere. I have used their service to have a new battery installed when my car refused to start, and once for a tow when the transmission got stuck in park. But, with the AARP card offering virtually the same discounts, the Triple A card doesn't get much use. I do like the free maps and tour books, though.


Phoenix Library Card. This gets lots of use. I am probably at the library about once every 10 days or so returning or picking up books. It is one of the free city services I would have a tough time living without.

Two blank checks. You never know.

Auto insurance card. There is also one in the glove box of each car, but sometimes on a trip a rental agency wants information that is on that card. So, I carry one with me, just in case.

Total Rewards Card (Harrah's). When my parents used to live about 25 minutes from Harrah's casino south of Phoenix, this card earned Betty and me nice discounts on food. Since then, it has made a trip or two to Vegas and Laughlin, but certainly doesn't need to be in my wallet.

Pictures of grandkids, daughters, and wife. People ask and if I wasn't prepared to show them I might get in trouble.

Prescription for eye glasses. If my glasses ever break while away from home, I would need to find a store that made a replacement pair in an hour. Otherwise, I'd be stuck.

Desert Botanical Gardens Membership Card. A world class garden in Phoenix that we visit several times a year to enjoy the gardens and simply sit and relax. It is beautiful and calming.

Various health plan cards (mine & copy of my wife's). Beside my own I carry a copy of Betty's card. If I have to take her to the hospital, that information will become instantly needed and heaven knows where it would be in which of her many purses.


So, there you have it...my wallet. It presents  a picture of some things that I think of as important and gives a glimpse into my life.

Now, your turn. Purses certainly qualify and may be much more interesting. Take some time, look through your wallet or handbag and see what you deem important enough to keep with you. Share with us. Do you find things that you "lost" years ago? Do you have items that certainly don't need to be carried everywhere with you (like my casino card)? Do you realize that something important should be added to your stash? Come on..it will be fun.

What's in your wallet?


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33 comments:

  1. A lot of what you have - credit cards, AAA, consumer cards, health plan card...... But not nearly as much cash. No grandchild pix (the wallet's not big enough!). Some business cards. A card with some important phone numbers that I might need - if my cell phone gets away from me. A place for charge card receipts. And a list of the meds that I take.

    Th-th-that's all folks!

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    1. A card with important phone numbers should probably replace my unused casino discount card. Good idea. Thanks, Steve.

      I'll have a post next week that you will want to see, Steve. I went to a folk music festival with lots of banjo picking. One or two pictures might interest you. There was also a guy who played the saw. Cool.

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    2. Sounds like a fun (bluegrass?) festival. I look forward to your recollections and impressions. Be well.

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  2. What you said. I only keep between $30-$100 though. I have started getting with the program of the new "cashless" society. I get cash back from BoFA on my credit card so I use it all the time now. Might as well get something from them right? They must hate me though because I pay it off right away. I just want the cash back! I love the gaming the system especially when it it a big bank or an airline.

    I have a ton of my jewelry business cards which I hand out at the drop of a hat.

    I have my husbands social security number. I know, Bad. But when I fill out health forms they always ask for it since he carries the insurance.

    I have too much paperwork that I end up shoving in there. Think George Costanza...

    Thanks for asking!

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  3. I usually have around $140 in cash, but I'm not sure why I'm not closer to your total. I rarely use cash and it does make the wallet "bump" I have to sit on bigger. Which reminds me, whose idea was it that men have to carry this thick wallet in the rear pocket. All it does is make sitting uncomfortable and over time throws your hips out of alignment. Kind of like ties...silly.

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  4. Interesting post, Bob. After seeing my 27 year old son's flat, front pocket wallet, I recently went through a "wallet makeover" at age 58. I researched front pocket wallets and found a great one online. And after reading a lot of info about just what is absolutely necessary to carry, I did a major clean out. I haven't looked back or regretted it. Now I have developed the habit of maintaining my wallet contents daily instead of carrying everything all of the time (which sounds like what you must be doing). I also carry some cash but I vary that each day depending on my errands. On trips I carry more but I don't keep all of it in my wallet. I only carry my public library card when I'm going to the library. Otherwise it stays home. Likewise the AARP card. I eliminated all photos. Keep two or three on your phone if you must. But really, most people don't really want to see them. The only items that stay constantly are my health insurance card, driver's license and ONE credit card. That's it. Those three cards plus appropriate cash. Now my skinny front pocket wallet fits great and no more "bump" on the seat. I know that you have written about what a list maker and planner you are. You are the perfect candidate for a wallet makeover. Take control of your wallet! I can't believe I waited 58 years to make these changes.

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    1. Excellent idea..front pocket wallet. I could certainly eliminate at least half of what's in my wallet at the moment and not miss any of it. Yes, I am a list maker, so I'll put "thinning out my wallet" on my to-do list for Saturday. Thanks, Don. I seriously never thought of lightening up until this post and your comment.

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    2. OK, Don, I took out 6 cards from my wallet this morning.

      Delete
  5. I carry a wrist wallet. Inside I have:
    $20-$50 in cash, a credit card, Military ID, Driver's license, AAA, photo of each family, one check and my change.
    On my car keys I have:
    Public library card, Shopper's card from my grocery store, small flash light, Panara bread card.
    I do not carry a purse. Got out of that habit years ago when purses were being ripped off of shoulders in Italy. If you didn't/couldn't let go they would drag you down the street.
    Both my boys use the front wallet. My husband does when we travel.

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    1. OH Janette, a wrist wallet. That sounds interesting. I'll have to see if I can find something like that. I would have to do a lot of thinning though.....hmmmm

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  6. I always keep a folded $100 bill, hidden in my wallet, along w/smaller bills, kept in the usual place, and one blank check. I have one charge card and a debit card in case I have to visit an ATM to withdraw cash. Driver's License, military ID, auto ins. card, medical card, dental ins. card, a couple of grocery store cards, library card, some pics, eyeglass prescription too. (when I travel, I always pack my older pair of glasses). I have a nice cross the body handbag that I use daily and when I travel. It works well because it keeps both my hands free, especially nice in a grocery store. You mentioned AARP and what I do is go to their website frequently and read their articles for free. Can you please tell me what member discounts you get from them that you value the most? What am I missing? Thanks. Sandy

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  7. I use AARP discounts on hotels, rental cars, flowers, Walgreen's, and an occasional restaurant meal, plus all their maps and guidebooks. In Arizona I can renew my car registration at the local office. My wife likes Michaels which offers an AARP discount on Tuesdays. I'm not nearly as diligent in using the card as I should be. Your question will prompt me to really look at all I could be taking advantage of. Thanks!

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    1. thanks Bob, speaking of discounts, Ross offers a 10% discount on Tuesdays, if your wife is interested, and I believe you only have to be age 55. (no AARP card necessary for this). Sandy

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    2. I meant AAA for maps and guidebooks. And, thanks for the tip on Ross.

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  8. I just got back from a vacation trip so my wallet contents are kind of sparse right now. Usually I have my driver's license, military ID (never know when I might be near a base), AAA card, insurance card, cash-back credit card, debit card for smaller purchases, and some cash. My library card and store/restaurant discount cards stay in the car console, because that's the only time I need them.

    I'm eligible for AARP but haven't joined yet. I don't approve of all their politics, and I find I get the same discounts and travel info with my AAA membership. I do like the roadside assistance benefit, and I've used it a few times. Do you find you use one card more than the other?

    One tip I would offer is to make a copy of everything in your wallet and keep that copy in a safe place. If your wallet ever gets stolen, you have all the information in one place to report and replace everything.

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  9. Overall, I use AARP more, but I wouldn't be without AAA on the road. I try to separate a company's political agenda from its benefit to me. I believe AARP has seniors' best interests at heart. For the minimal cost, the excellent magazine, and the discounts I don't cheat myself just because they aren't 100% in alignment with my views. If I applied that standard I'd probably carry no credit cards or ever deal with a bank!

    Actually, the only entity that has 100% of my views is me.

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  10. Oh, this will be a boring answer for me, because I only carry something that barely qualifies as a wallet. It doesn't even fold over. Think of a one sided wallet. There is a pocket for cash. On the side are several slots where I keep my driver's license, car insurance card, health insurance card, AAA card, credit card, and debit card. That's it. Based on what you said, I should add my AARP card if I can squeeze it in there!

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    1. I have toyed with using a money clip...cash, a driver's license, one credit card, and an insurance card. Maybe I'll go back to that. One benefit is a clip is carried in the front pocket so I don't have to sit on it.

      Readers: Galen has graciously asked for a guest post from me. It was just posted this morning. It is on the illusion of control. She (and I) would appreciate your taking a look (copy & paste): http://bit.ly/HmPYCf

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  11. dude! do you have back or hip problems carry that wallet around? i have one credit card and if i go out to eat or stay some where i ask if they take it. if they don't i go some where else but then i'm 60 and didn't have a card till i was 40. in the credit card industry i'm considered a "dead beat" because i've never paid any fees,interest or charges and now i make them give me my cash backs in cash not that gift card crap. and those free meals people get with those casino reward cards well there is no such thing as a "free lunch" i live 7 miles from atlantic city and i never had one and in the 34 years that they've had the dam things i may have gone 20 times and never lost a dime to them but i have to watch what i say cause the last time i got on a tirade about gambling they came in the night and burned a roulette table on my lawn:) you need to go through that wallet and divest.

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    1. The Casino card I have does get me a 25% discount on the food at the restaurant and allows me early check-in if I go to a Harrah's resort. Since I don't gamble it seems like a pretty good deal.

      I pulled out 6 things this morning and am giving serious thought to a money clip.

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    2. that's what i'm talkin about! divest,divest,ect....... my county gave all veterans a I.D. card (it's the thought that counts, and don't thank me for my service!) i carry that and some bucks when i go out walkin around the neighborhood aimlessly. just in case?

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  12. About the same contents. Add some grocery store discount cards. I try to keep my wallet slim, but as I'm more one to use CC than cash, for SOME reason I find I'm carrying ~$300 cash these days. Use it very little. I also have a theory that if I'm ever held up I'd just as soon have a happy criminal.

    Front pocket wallet? Won't do for me. For some reason I HAVE to have my wallet in my back pocket at all times. Like there's a nerve there that demands to feel it. If I come home in business clothes late at night and change to jeans to just watch TV for an hour before bed, gotta put the wallet in the jeans. I don't get folks like my son in law, comes home and takes the wallet out and puts on counter. I just want to know I always have all my essential stuff wherever I am I guess.

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    1. I put my cell phone in the front pocket so a front pocket wallet won't work for me, though a money clip may be a good idea. My daughter has had a cell fall from her rear pocket twice into the toilet...I'll never put mine there.

      Our grocery loyalty cards are the kind that clip onto the key chain so they stay out of the wallet.

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  13. Bob: I found you on Galen's site, and I am now your newest follower.

    I have tons of memories in my wallet.

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  14. Welcome, JJ. I'm glad to meet you. Galen is a good friend and an excellent writer. Thanks for your kind words. Now, what's in your wallet?

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  15. I have a flat metal wallet about the size of a checkbook. At the moment it holds:

    Change (no bills--I need to go to the bank)
    Driver's license
    Credit card
    Medical insurance card
    Picture of grandson on Santa's lap
    Debit card
    Appointment card for hair salon
    Bunch of receipts I really need to go through

    Hmmm...where is my auto insurance info? I need to find that.


    In my purse, besides the wallet:

    Keys on a ring
    Two pens
    Handkerchief
    Elderly pack of chewing gum I need to throw away
    Packet of wet wipes (habit left over from my kids' childhoods)
    Note from our vet to the rescue where we got our latest dog

    I wouldn't really need a purse, except that I use it to carry around my Kindle (love that thing!) when I'm going to have to hang out and wait somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Except for the auto insurance card you have the basics well in hand. I tend to put any receipts into my pants pocket and deal with them as soon as I return home. I used to put them in the wallet, but it became too thick to sit on! (another reason to go to a money clip).

      Isn't the Kindle the greatest thing ever? My wife now wants her own since she has discovered the joy of reading books on one and the ability to bookmark wherever you stop reading.

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  16. Sounds like your list. I also have a rubber-banded stack of cards for our book, just in case someone asks. And the punch card for my favorite espresso stand. Neptune Society cards.

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    1. For those who don't know, Linda and her husband have produced a book about about his experiences in going back to Vietnam. Those are the "cards for our book" she is referring to.

      Linda, how is the book doing? I know you have been so generous to donate many to local Vet organizations.

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  17. Plus: a Costco card. My county park card. And my "America the Beautiful" senior pass to the national parks.

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    1. I now qualify for the senior pass to the national parks which is an incredible value. I also have a Costco card, but the AMEX card issued by Costco includes the info to get into the store, so it does double duty, and pays cash back once a year.

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  18. Hi Bob,

    I found you over at Galen's blog. Nice to meet you. As for my purse, you really never know what you might find. Sometimes I have a tape measure in it. Hey, you never know when you will need something, and you have measured it at home, but need to measure it when you get to the store.

    the cards that i don't like these days is for the discounts at, grocery stores, Ace hardware, Rite Aid and the list goes on. They make everyone think they are getting a good deal, but hey they just raise the prizes and than give you a card to bring them back down to where they should be in the first place. Marketing has really gotten carried away.

    That is life and I have no control over it other than rather carrying the cards, I just give them the phone # so they can look it up.

    Very interesting post.
    Blessings to you,
    Debbie

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    1. Welcome, Debbie. Thank you for coming over from Galen's blog.

      The reason retail stores issue loyalty cards isn't to reward anyone, except the store. All of your shopping habits are tracked so the store knows what is selling and to whom. They can target ads specifically to you.

      Controlling the release of of our private information is another issue of control that I could have included in my guest post at Galen's. You are smart, Debbie, to keep a tight rein on what you will allow others to know.

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