Trent, over at The Simple Dollar, has been reviewing his favourite posts from the past year. One of them, Wallet Hacking, caught my attention. It’s about tailoring the contents of your wallet to “minimise your spending and maximise your time”.
This idea stood out for me:
Wrap a picture of your goal or inspiration around your credit card. Still not convinced of your own willpower? Take that one credit card and wrap a picture of your personal finance goal or your inspiration around it. Wrap that picture around your card and tape one edge of that picture to the other picture, creating a pocket or a sleeve for the card to live in. Then, when you feel the urge to pull out that card, you’ll pull out that picture, too, and it will serve as an immediate reminder of the big dreams you’re postponing to make this little trivial purchase.
My own wallet isn’t really geared towards time management, but it is tailored towards a frugal lifestyle. I’d like to add some pictures of the wallet and its contents, but my husband skedaddled to San Francisco tonight (I’m meeting him there in a week’s time) and he’s taken the camera with him, so I’ll post them another time.
It’s a good wallet – dark brown leather, smells yummy, and I found it in T.K. Maxx for a bargain price – but more importantly, it’s small. It fits into my jeans pocket. This is good because I don’t like heaving a handbag around with me everywhere I go. But also, its small size means that I can’t fit everything bar the kitchen sink. I have found out the hard way that the more slivers of plastic and quantities of cash I carry around with me, the more I spend.
- I have four bank accounts: a sole firstdirect account, a joint firstdirect account with my husband (for household direct debits), a Barclays bank account that I don’t really use and a bank account for my business. But I only carry the debit card for that sole account. There’s no point carting the others around – and if my wallet was stolen or lost, cancelling all four would be a pain.
- My Visa credit card. I rarely use it, but I like to have it with me in case of emergencies.
- Receipts. I keep them together, and stick them on a desk spike when I get home. As I’m self-employed, my expenses are deducted from my tax bill; losing receipts costs money.
- A few business cards. You never know when you are going to meet someone interesting.
- A couple of stamps. They don’t take up any space, and save a traipse to the Post Office.
- Both parts of my UK driving licence. Used for ID – admittedly, more often in the USA than in the UK. My driving licence also comes in handy whenever some idiot rear-ends the Thriftymobile.
- RAC membership card (UK equivalent of AAA card). A couple of years back, when we were living in Arizona and I was the proud owner of a phuttering Mercury Sable, I had the pleasure of breaking down in various isolated locations including a desert parking lot (in 45 degrees centrigrade weather), a snowy mountainside in Idaho and somewhere in rural Mississippi. These unhappy experiences were sufficient to ensure that I never leave the house without a roadside assistance card. I keep the card in my wallet, rather than the car itself, because it covers me in any vehicle that I drive.
- Two gas station loyalty cards. A Shell card, for airmiles. A Morrisons petrol card, because every time I make it to 5,000 points I get a £5 voucher to spend instore. Yippee!
- 50p in chump change. I don’t tend to carry cash. Not because I’m royalty or a rock star (well, not yet), but because it burns a hole in my pocket and I’m quick to spend it.
That’s my lot; it doesn’t take up much room and it keeps my spending waaaaaay low. Could I do better? What’s in your wallet?