We’ve all seen the commercials that ask, “What’s in YOUR wallet?” I decided to look inside mine and take a little inventory. Inside my wallet I see the following things:
- Credit and debit cards
- Hotel, airline and car rental membership cards
- Vital documents & cards (driver's license, car insurance, health insurance, car registration, etc)
- Retail loyalty rewards cards
- Membership cards (AAA, NAPO and similar)
- Gift cards I’ve received
I ask about the state of your wallet because I believe that just as the state of your home, office or car provides a glimpse into your frame of mind, that the state of your wallet can do the same. Ruh-roh!
Take out your wallet and look inside. Are there random papers stuffed into it? Old candy wrappers? Crumpled receipts and dry cleaner claim tickets? Do you struggle to locate your identification, credit cards, or anything else you need frequently?
If you carry cash, pull it out and take a look at it. Is it crinkled up and dog-eared? It is stuffed into various spots, crammed into your pants pocket, or stored neatly together in one compartment? Are some bills folded while others aren't? Are the denominations mixed up and facing different directions or is your cash neat and orderly?
I believe that if you don't treat your money and the things it buys you with respect, that your relationship with money is unhealthy, and that you could actually be repelling it from your life! Yikes. What a thought! If your financial life is in chaos, organizing your wallet is an easy way to begin taking control. Here are four simple tips to get you started:
- Group your cards by category such as rewards cards, airline / hotel cards, credit / debit cards, and vital personal cards such as your drivers license, insurance, car registration, and blood donor card. Eliminate expired or duplicate cards and if you can’t keep each family in its own compartment, try fastening them together with a small rubber band or binder clip.
- Remove your cash and organize it by denomination largest to smallest, with all the bills facing the same direction. Keep it in one compartment of your wallet consistently so you always have an accurate idea of how much cash you have on hand.
- Extract all random scraps of paper, notes and receipts and shred (or toss) anything you don’t really need. Once your paper clutter is eliminated, designate a specific spot in your wallet to collect expense receipts going forward.
- If your wallet is physically bulky, consider streamlining it even more by moving some items to another location. For example, relocate all your travel-related cards to a separate wallet and store it inside your luggage. That way you have it when you travel, but you won’t carry those bulky cards with you every day.
Taking a minute or two every few weeks to organize your wallet is a good habit to cultivate and shows that you respect yourself, your possessions and your money.