May 5, 2018

What in Your Wallet (or Purse)?


I'm sure you remember the credit card commercial with Vikings and other assorted characters asking, "What's in Your Wallet" as a way to urge you to carry that particular card. It was clever and memorable. Here I am several years later using that slogan as the basis for a post.

I thought it might be interesting to see what I carry around with me whenever I leave the house. Obviously, these items must be important enough to me to stuff inside my wallet and then sit on it all day.

Cash. For a growing number of people, this would not be included. Credit or debit cards or pay-by-phone are replacing cash as the way to pay. Call me old school but I don't feel comfortable without at least one hundred dollars in bills in my wallet. Like most folks I put almost everything on a credit card, but want real money for the feeling of security it gives me if a card doesn't work. Also, for anything under $5 I am likely to pay with money instead of a card. 

Credit Cards. There are three in my wallet. One gets most of the use because of airline miles. Another gives cash back, 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. Actually there are three other credit and debit cards in a drawer at home. They are used a few times a year to keep them active and keep my credit score high.

Driver's License. Obvious to carry, but an important date is coming up. Next year I will be 70. The great state of Arizona has determined I need a new license when I hit that milestone. Plus, the card I carry now will not be accepted at airports after October of 2020. So, a reminder has been put in my calendar. 

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. The Triple A card doesn't get much use though I still like their free paper maps for long road trips (really old school).

Chandler 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. Remember checks?

Auto insurance card. There is also one in the glove box of the 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.

Pictures of grandkids, daughters, and wife. People ask and if I wasn't prepared to show them I might get in trouble. Unfortunately, I just noticed all are badly out of date!

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. Otherwise, I'd be stuck.

Various health plan cards (mine & copy of my wife's). Beside my own for Medicare 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 one of her purses. I also have a dental discount card that has saved us thousands over the years.


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. Wallets, or purses...either works. Take some time, look through your wallet, purse, or 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? Do you realize that something important should be added to your stash? Come on..it will be fun.



44 comments:

  1. Add $50 to bring the cash up to $150 to cover our weekly groceries and dining out. (If I use a credit card for those two expenses, it's a little too easy to go over budget.) Replace your credit cards with three that all give cash back. Subtract the two blank checks, the auto insurance card and the prescription for eyeglasses. (Although those last two are excellent ideas that I just might have to adopt!) Replace the AAA card with my CoachNet card (same idea, but geared toward RV travelers). Add my bank ATM card, my AARP card for discounts, my State Parks pass and a spare $20 that's hidden from my sight but available in case I go over on the groceries. There you have it. And you're right, Bob - that was fun! Have a terrific day!

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I have an AARP card in my desk but found I wasn't using it often enough for discounts to carry it around. When we RVed I had my Good Sam cards for park admissions and emergency road assistance. Now, those two cards are replaced with the AAA card.

      You are right about the credit cards making it easier to buy. I wish Amazon required cash...it is much too easy to click "Place Order."

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    2. Forgot about my Good Sam card! Yes, that's there, too, tucked behind my CoachNet card.

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  2. I can add a few hotel loyalty cards from my days as a business traveller. I also have my electronically readable transit pass which gives a discount over using straight cash and I also set it up to automatically reload when the balance gets low so that I am never stuck trying to pull together "exact change". I do not have any photos (recent photos are all on my phone), checks (my wife carries one but for anyone that ever requests a check they have always agreed to let me mail it), or eye glass prescriptions (never thought of that one). It's good to have cash but realistically, with all the ways to pay electronically, a couple of twenties can last me for weeks.

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    1. You are so right about the photos...I don't need the old, out-of-date photos in the wallet since when I leave the house my phone is always with me.

      I only refill my cash stash every 3 or 4 weeks. My barber wants cash but he is about the last holdout.

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  3. Great idea about the prescription for glasses - I should do that! Tho I’d take a photo of it and keep in my iPhone. I finally quit carrying wallets and purses, except when taking my mom to hospital (have to take too much with me then). Now I wear black jeans with good pockets and keep necessities in there. Much easier when juggling my real estate paperwork and/or grandkids and/or anything else. And less likely to lose anything! ��

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    1. I bought a man's wallet that is designed to go in a front pocket instead of in the rear. It holds less and doesn't force me to sit on it for hours on end.

      I like the paper copy of the eye glass prescription but I think I will follow your lead and take a photo of it, too.

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  4. Interesting post. I don't carry photos of my family in my wallet (uh oh, should I feel guilty about that?) but otherwise, all of the above, plus a grocery store loyalty card. ATM card, county park card, and my Lowe's and Costco membership cards.

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    1. I do have an ATM card I didn't mention. My supermarket loyalty card is a small one that is on the key ring.

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  5. I also have contact information for my son and daughter-in-law, in case of emergency. Family photos are on my phone. I once needed my license plate number and had to go back out to the parking lot in the rain, so now I have that written down on a copy of my insurance card. Sorry to say that I have my debit card pin, but I get frazzled sometimes and transpose the digits (and then also forget where I hid it). I prefer my debit card anyway, because I get an immediate email about the purchase from my bank. I seldom use my credit card or cash anymore and the checkbook stays at home unless I specifically think I will need it.

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    1. Emergency contact info is a good idea. I can add that in place of the photos that will now be on my phone!

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  6. Back when I wore suits all the time, and traveled extensively, I got in the habit of using a long, suit jacket pocket wallet. It contained everything I could possibly need while on the road - cash, credit cards, rewards cards for hotels and airlines; you name it. It almost became like a woman's purse crammed full of stuff. I've been happily out of the workforce for 4+ years now and you would probably guess that I have gone back to a small wallet, but the answer would be no. I still have everything imaginable in there - credit cards, gift cards, rewards cards of all types, the airline cards that I don't even use anymore and have no status with anyhow, etc. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet someday and cull it down, but just like when I throw something out, a week later I'll need it for the first time in years.

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    1. Like you, when I was traveling all the time my wallet was packed. In fact, I think some of my back problems today were caused by sitting on that lump for years. I keep my lifetime Delta Medallion card at home since the only time I need it is to make a reservation. I haven't flown on that airline in years.

      Hard to imagine, but when I first started extensive travel things like airline and hotel loyalty cards were not common.

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  7. I have some combination of just about everything the other commenters have said above in my wallet minus the eye glasses prescription and emergency contact information. And those are great ideas that I will add to my "stash". The only things I carry with me that haven't been mentioned are a list of the medications I take and the date of my last tetanus shot. I keep them both behind my drivers license so they can easily be found during an emergency (my doctor gave me that tip years ago).

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    1. Good idea about the meds. When I go to a new doctor I have to list what I am taking. It would easier if that list was always with me.

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  8. Mine is much like yours, except I don't carry loyalty cards with me. I have too many and keep them at home. Also I don't carry a glasses prescription although, when we travel, we always carry our next oldest pair with us in case anything happens. If we are just moving around town, I don't see the need. Also, I'm wondering just how fast an optometrist would be able to make up a new pair of glasses for you. I always have to wait several weeks when ordering a new pair. But maybe they have "emergency" rates.

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    1. Some chains can turn produce regular glasses in a few hours or days. I normally get progressive lens that do take 7-10 days. In an emergency I'd settle for a single vision lens just to get me through the time until I get home. On overseas trips I do take spare glasses so I don't know how helpful the prescription really is.

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  9. The eye glass Rx is a good idea, especially when travelling. I have many of the same things in my wallet as mentioned above, as well as a cardlock card for a particular fuel station (eliminates cash/credit card at the 24-hr pump; a monthly bill is sent). I always keep spare cash in my wallet and home. All the cards are rendered useless during a power failure. I keep a small flashlight in my purse since I don't always carry my cell phone with me. There's usually a notebook & pen as well. There's also a spare set of car keys and a spare mailbox key. I've also been known to carry a jackknife in my purse.

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    1. I assume the jackknife is for emergency repairs or to act as a tool!

      The cards are useless if there is a power failure, but so is the cash register that stores couldn't open without electricity! Have you ever been stuck in a line at a grocery store or other retail establishment when the register malfunctions? The poor clerk is lost. In many cases they don't even know how to make change.

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  10. My "wallet" consists of little more than a wide elastic band - it goes in my front pocket. In it have the same $65 in cash I've been carrying for months, driver's license, ATM card, main Amazon card, back up AMEX card with hotel points, MARTA (rapid transit) card, student ID (free university in GA when you hit 62), AAA card, medical insurance card, gym card, Costco (about to expire - won't renew), MoviePass, card, HSA visa for anything medical. That's it, everything else is on my phone.

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    1. I allowed my Costco membership to expire a year ago. We don't buy in bulk so it made no sense to drive 15 minutes to save 10 or 15 cents per gallon on gas.

      My gym card attaches to my key ring, which is convenient.

      Free university in Georgia after 62? What a great deal.

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  11. Hi Bob! I guess your chiropractor has never told you how carrying a wallet stuffed with so many cards and items can create imbalance when you sit and even walk. My husband eliminated a wallet altogether and he now just uses a money clip for a little cash, his DL and a credit card. We are never far away from all of our other cards--and I carry more in my purse, so it has NEVER been a problem! ~Kathy

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    1. As I noted in a comment above, I am sure sitting on a wallet did help throw my back and hips out of joint. The thin wallet that is shaped to fit in the front pocket feels better and is harder for someone to steal.

      I tried a money clip for a while but never got used to it. My daughter has a pocket that attaches to the back of her cell phone that holds her DL, and credit cards.

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  12. Funny Kathy should mention her chiropractor: Ken (chiro hubby) has actually weighed the purses of some of our women patients who are having shoulder pain and we have found many women are carrying purses that weight 30 pounds or more on one shoulder!!! I tend to carry a large purse with too much in it too. Am trying to pare down. I carry much the same as you do,Bob, in my wallet but the rest of my purse is filled with cosmetic items in a pouch, a notebook, ROOM for the ipad but I don't carry it around often, handkerchief, earbuds for iphone, my phone itself, pair of reading glasses ( I wear my progressives mostly but find reading more comfy with dollar store readers.) I have an envelope full of coupons,.I often have a paperback book in there in case I am stuck in a line somewhere. It's ridiculous! Like a small suitcase. This article made me think again about paring down!

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    1. That is quite a collection, Madeline. In fact, it would make a great weapon to swing at someone if that ever became necessary!

      I'm sure Ken also agrees that men would be better off not putting a wallet in a rear pocket.

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  13. No cash. One debit card, my medical cards, my license. My reward cards and library card are on my keychain...the little ones...my insurance is on my phone and in a printout in the glove box. All other cards sre at home and taken omly if needed. Pictures on my phone. Admittedly I have chapstick and hand lotion everywhere. I do t write checks except for the lawn guy who doesn't take a card and gs cookies once a year. I pay all bills online or with card. I don't carry a purse, I carry a wrist phone holder that has room for the cards

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    1. These responses have made me realize there is more I could put on the phone, both for convenience and less clutter. Since the phone is locked with a PIN I am not worried about someone stealing any valuable information before I could shut it down completely, if the phone were ever lost or stolen.

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    2. I also have taken pictures of all my docs and put them on my phone in case they are stolen or I lose them. Most states noes take digital insurance cards. Scripts are also on the phone, lol

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  14. I have pretty much the same as you except no pictures and only two credit cards. I have one credit card at home that all our auto-pay bills go on but nothing else. It is not likely to be compromised when only the same institutions are billing it each month. I like the idea of the eyeglass rx and I will take a picture of mine.

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    1. I use one credit card exclusively for on line purchases from places I don't regularly frequent. If something goes amiss, I can cancel that card and not make a mess of bill paying and other things that are set up ahead of time.

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  15. One credit card, DL, Military ID & some cash on me. After having my purse stolen while working, the pain to replace everything else keeps my wristlet empty! I do keep a separate carrier in my car that has a bunch of other things that I may need.
    I wish my library and the National Parks would come out with a tag for my keys! Wait, I don't really carry keys, just a fob in the wristlet. ~Janette

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    1. You are right: I wish my library used a fob. Maybe they do and I've never checked. OK, time to follow up.

      I will be glad when I get my new Medicare card, without my SSN. That is a huge security hole that should have addressed years ago.

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  16. Hi Bob living in Australia where we don't need to tip, I find that I rarely carry cash. I have my credit card, debit card, driver's licence, medicare and private health insurance cards and pension card. These are all in my mobile phone case which has a special area for cards. I no longer carry a wallet or purse - funny how things change over time.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    1. I am interested in the number of comments like yours..no wallet or purse. That is pretty solid proof of the movement to an electronic way of life.

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  17. I have copies of my car reg. and insurance in my wallet so that there isn't anything in my car indicating where I live. If someone breaks in they can't then know I"m not home and go rob me. I've read several articles to this effect - particularly cars parked at movie theater lots. I'd be more than happy to have a chip implanted in my wrist so I wouldn't have to carry a wallet at all. If it would start my car I'd be thrilled and I'd even leave the purse at home. Too many clothes without pockets means I have to carry the fob and wallet in my purse. My library lets me use a username/pin combo so no cards there. I have a copy of the permanent restraining order for the ex; AAA card and healthcare card; but no pics and only the 2 credit cards, for the times when one of them doesn't play well with the card reader. Not close to losing the wallet but I figure the next generation or my grandkids will figure it out. Love technology and hate carrying a purse !

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    1. I have always worried about leaving the registration in the car. But, what if my wife is driving and she needs it but it is in my wallet? So, it stays in the grove box. So far, OK.

      After all these comments, the outdated photos are coming out. I'll set up a Google Photo album for selected family photos, though honestly, I can't remember the last time someone asked to see family photos!

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    2. My registration gives me two copies. One without personal info to put in the car and one with it. I guess I thought all states did that.

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    3. Arizona doesn't. Colorado is more progressive in many ways!

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  18. I carry pretty much the same things as you. The one thing I did do was download the insurance company app to my smartphone. Now my insurance card is right there - except of course on the at least 2 days a month when I forget my phone!

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    1. Yet another use for my phone. Thanks!

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  19. As FYI there are phone apps to store loyalty cards.

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  20. These are all interesting lists. I, too, have a few credit cards, a debit card, and a couple of store cards for places I shop regularly. Not the grocery stores, though, as they let me enter my phone number. My library card and drivers' license, plus a copy of my car registration and insurance. My insurance card and $50 in "mad money", as my mom used to say.

    I will agree with others that a heavy purse has become a burden, but I usually have at least a smaller one with my wallet, kleenex packet, gum, and an emery board (I know, weird). And finally my car/house keys and my phone. The phone really contains most of my life, so I'm intrigued by the phone cases that carry a few things in them. That sounds genius and I'm about to look for one and see if I can downsize to that. Maybe with a crossbody strap.
    Cheers!

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    1. The small pocket for the back of the phone works for a lot of folks. I don't think it would fit in my pocket, but a small purse? Probably.

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