What to Carry and not to Carry in your Wallet

We haven’t thought about this before untill we came across an article on Yahoo finance which listed things to carry and not to carry in the wallet. I don’t belive in some of the things they mentioned, like carrying a blank paper to note down few essential things when out on the road.

We carry smart phones and that come with notepad utility to take notes and obviously the phone numbers.

Things to keep in Wallet

I carry a medium-sized wallet which is not too uncomfortable when I tuck it into pant pocket. Here are the things I carry.

  • Driver’s License
  • $2 in change
  • $40 in cash
  • Insurance ID card
  • Name Card with emergency contact
  • Credit Cards
  • Library Card
  • Postal Stamps
  • Store Cards (not credit)
  • My lucky cent coin!

Driver’ License – You should always carry an identity in your wallet. Ideally, your license could be the best option. From buying liquor, cigarettes to entering in to a secured area, an identification is must. Also, state law requires you to have licence while driving. For me this is the number-one item in must haves.

Money – I carry $2 in change (quarters). They come in handy for the toll booth and for the metered parking space. I also carry 5 $1 bills, one $5 bill, one $10 bill and one $20 bill. Carrying cash is absolutely must as some stores operate only on cash transactions. Same with the public parks and vending machines.

Insurance Card – Our health insurance card should be in your wallet. This is must have as the drivers licence. I do have separate cards for vision, Dental and prescription medication and I carry all of them. if you have only one card issued by your insurance provider, do ask for a duplicate card. Keep one at home and carry one along.

Contact Card – This is when you can’t speak for yourself. You can simply write your name, address, home phone number or phone number of the emergency contact. I have SMB’s cell phone and one of my friend’s phone numbers listed.

Credit Card – I buy my stuff on credit, almost always unless only cash is accepted. I don’t care if I lose it or its stolen. There is a way to recover every fraud transaction on your card. Every card issuer honor ID theft protection for free.

Library Card – This is not must, I returned back from the library quiet a few times before making it a practice to carry this card.

Postal Stamps – They don’t occupy any space as such. No harm in throwing in a few postage stamps in one of the many compartments your wallet probably has. I don’t have to run to post office each time I need to post something from work.

Store Cards – I carry cards from my hair stylist, pharmacy, a free car wash card from our car dealer, etc. They often ensure discounts and shorter wait in the queue for being serviced.

My Lucky Coin(!) – you can absolutely ignore this. I do carry a shining one cent coin, which I have kept since the time I landed in this country.  Its my superstition of some kind.

Your Business Card – I do not have a business card from my job or from this blog. I didn’t feel the need to create a card for the blog (although its becoming a business slowly). If you happen to have a business card, don’t forget to throw in a few in your wallet. It’s great way to spread the word.

That’s a lot of cards, yes..I am also thinking. But really I do need them all.

I can’t attempt to list things a woman should carry in their purse, I don’t even know the things SMB carries in her’s. But whenever I needed something, from chapstick to toothpick, she always had it. My attempts to convince her in writing tips were turned down flat-out.

The things not to keep in your wallet as per the article on Yahoo I referred to at the beginning.

  • Social Security Card
  • Passport
  • Passwords/Pass codes
  • Bank Checkbook
  • Too Many Credit Cards
  • Too Much Cash
  • Gift Cards/Certificates
  • Jewelry or USB Devices
  • Receipts

Here’s what I do

Social Security Card and Passport – A strict no-no. For some reason I did that for initial couple of months after getting the card. Since people started frowning upon me, I stopped it. If you are carrying this in wallet, keep it at home immediately.

Passwords/Pass codes – It stored electronically on my laptop(encrypted) and on our offline external hard drive.

Your Checkbook – SMB carries a cancelled check, just in-case some one needs our checking account details. We do not carry checkbook with us.

Too Many Credit Cards – I am guilty of that. I carry all active credit cards I have. I need your suggestion on this. Should I continue to carry all my credit card? Please suggest.

Too Much Cash – I don’t carry, SMB doesn’t either. If you lose your wallet, you’ll lose this money for sure.

Gift Cards/Certificates – SMB carries this in her purse. this comes handy during shopping trips.

Jewelry or USB Devices – Wallet is not the place for it, we don’t do it either.

Receipts – whatever I get of these I keep it in back pocket only to be clipped and stored at home for tax purpose. Though I have done standard deduction only, still I keep them hoping for itemized tax return next year.

What do you carry readers? Do you want to extend upon the advice?

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  1. says

    The only thing I make a point not to carry is my passport, although it is in my bad right now – I’ll have to take it out now that you’ve reminded me. Otherwise, I have almost everything in my wallet/purse.

  2. ImpulseSave says

    Thanks for the tips. I was just thinking I have to clean out all the change in my wallet – it’s starting to get heavy! I try to keep my purse pretty clean, though, because when I go to secure buildings for work they have to scan everything. It’s much faster to have a clean purse. I do keep a USB device on my keychain at all times, in case I need a file from another computer and the internet doesn’t work or a printer is off-line. I don’t keep anything important on it – just odd papers and photos I need to transfer. It has come in handy A LOT! I’m wondering why they said to not keep a USB with you?

  3. says

    This post reminds me of my exgirlfriend’s purse and wallet. She would just have so much stuff in there. In her wallet would be every card imaginable. As a result her purse was usually quite heavy which may have contributed to back problems. My own wallet is pretty bare. After reading this post though I think I’ll remove one of my extra credit cards. There really is no point to carry them all around since I only really use one all the time. The other I have a balance transfer on and the other I only got to satisfy my bank’s requirements to waive my checking account fees. It would just be an extra hassle to deal with if I did happen to lose my wallet.

  4. says

    I don’t carry all of my active credit cards, but I carry any credit card that there is a reasonable chance I may use it. If I lose out on the couple of dollars of savings, it is worth it to not keep another card in my wallet.

  5. Muhammad Jahid Hasan says

    Its really nice tips for us. Wallet or purse is very important for us. Because its size is small naturally and easily carry on. Basically, I have almost everything in my wallet/purse. Thanks for sharing a nice topic.

  6. says

    I’m pretty good with not carrying too much personal stuff in my purse. However, I do have a not so smart friend who has her social security card where her license is supposed to go in her wallet. So every time she opens her wallet, you can see her number! UGHHH I’ve told her so many times to leave that at home.

  7. says

    I try to keep it simple. I have a Jacobs Ladder wallet that perfectly fits eight cards – no more, no less. So whenever I get a new card of some kind that I need to carry, something else has to get demoted. (I recently got a free permanent bus pass and demoted a debit card.) I also keep a small amount of cash and receipts in the center part, but it can’t fit too much so I clear it out often.

    My purse is similar. It’s very slim so I have a set of items I always carry: wallet, phone, home/car keys, office keys, iPod, camera, and pen. Anything else that might go in there is transient. I could carry some of the little useful items you mentioned like the stamps and coins but it just hasn’t come up often enough for me to bother.

  8. says

    I want to get to the point where I only carry a money clip, debit card, and some business cards. Carrying cash is cool.

    I think the fear of carrying cash is greater than the chance of getting mugged.

    • Michael says

      Of course, I’m personally against putting a home address on the card. There’s too many crazies out there. I’ve got a PO Box address on my drivers license.

    • Michael says

      My bad. I just took out my roadside assistance card since I don’t drive anymore. Paper transit pass replaced the roadside card. Lighter now.

  9. says

    Absolutely agree on the things not to carry. It’s best to think about risk management when carrying a wallet, it can be more important than convenience. Think of the potential problems of losing things.

    Speaking of convenience, however, it’s also nice to carry as little as possible – just what’s necessary.

  10. says

    I lost my wallet in Japan and was told I would get it back with the money included. 8 years later I am losing faith. After that day I only carry 1 credit card and my license. The pain of recovery was not worth it.

  11. says

    I transferred all my shopping loyalty cards to my iPhone so at checkout all I have to do is show the cashier my iPhone and they scan the digital barcode. I used to carry my AAA card but also recently went digital on that card as well.

  12. says

    A tip: Photocopy, and stash away in your home, all the stuff you have in your wallet. Really helpful to have if you were to misplace your wallet or it’s stolen, both to confirm in your mind everything that’s missing (for follow-up with cancellations, etc.) and because you might need, say, your insurance card info before you get a replacement.

  13. says

    I have wayyyy too much stuff in my wallet to list, and then I have that in my purse! So I’ve got more stuff there. And it’s only gotten worse lately…

  14. says

    I use to carry around my whole family’s SS cards and all our weekly/monthly cash. Boy was I stupid then. My wallet now compared to then is a complete minimalist.

  15. says

    I don’t know why postal stamps made me laugh, but it did; I rarely have them in my house, let alone my wallet.

    I do break the rules and keep my Starbucks gift card in my wallet, but that’s only because if I don’t, it’ll go unused.

  16. says

    My wallet is getting so big with rewards cards and nonessential stuff, that I am developing the George Costanza syndrome. When I set down I lean to one side due to the size of the wallet.


  1. […] great article from One Cent At A Time giving advice on What To Carry and not to Carry in your Wallet, saying, here are a few things you must carry in wallet to satisfy essential needs and things you […]

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