If you’re like most of us, your wallet accumulates “stuff.” And stuff is the best way to describe it—an abundance of credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, receipts, notes…the list goes on. Chances are because of this, it’s hard to actually locate what you need, when you need it. Here are some tips to lighten your wallet load, some of which may also help protect your identity.
LIMIT YOURSELF TO TWO CREDIT CARDS
Not only will carrying two credit cards slim your wallet size down, but it will also protect your identity. The more cards you carry, the easier it is for a crook to rack up a bunch of charges if you accidentally misplace your purse or wallet. Plus, it's a huge pain to replace all your credit and debit cards at once—by carrying two, you have a backup card ready to go should something happen.
LEAVE THE GIFT CARDS AT HOME
Sure, it's hard to spend your gift cards if you don't have them, but carrying all those gift cards is not only a space waster, but there's no way to recover gift card balances if your wallet disappears. So, unless you're going to a store specifically to use the gift card, leave them at home. Or better yet, load the balance to your account—retailers like Amazon and Target offer this feature.
ALWAYS CARRY A LITTLE CASH
Yes—you probably use your credit and debit cards for everything—it's a great way to earn those extra rewards. But remember—cash is still king. Make it a rule always to tuck a $20 in a safe place in case you get into a jam or visit a store or restaurant with a minimum spend for a credit or debit card purchase. Plus, it's always good to have some singles for tipping.
NEVER—WE REPEAT—NEVER CARRY YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD OR PASSPORT
It may seem obvious, but if you lose these guys, you’re well on your way down the road to identity theft, plus it’s a giant pain to replace them. Unless you’re traveling or you have a specific need to carry them (like identity validation at a new job), leave both at home in a locked safe or file cabinet.
DITCH THE RECEIPTS
If you hold on to receipts, what are the odds you will either be able to find them or have a need for them? To minimize wallet clutter, take pictures of your receipts or scan them using your smartphone or computer.
KEEP THE PHOTO OF YOUR KIDS
According to a recent study by the University of Hertfordshire in England, a photo of a cute baby (even if it isn’t yours) is the one and only item that could compel a person to return your wallet should you lose it—in the study, 88% of wallets with a baby photo were returned.