If you are anything like us, your wallet is brimming with tons of things, from colorful plastic to outdated receipts to business cards from places you can’t remember. And, it’s ripe for some straightening out.
We’re following the example of LearnVest CEO Alexa von Tobel, who has helped us narrow down our list of expert-approved wallet essentials:
What Not to Include
Don’t walk around with personal information like your PIN, account numbers, or Social Security card. The only identifying info in there should be your name and the best way to reach you if your wallet is found.
You should have two credit cards to your name, but keep only one in your wallet. In your wallet, keep the main one that you do all your spending on; keep your emergency credit card hidden away in a desk drawer at home so that you won’t be stranded if your wallet gets lost or stolen. For the same reason, always make copies of your cards! They’ll come in handy if one of those cards disappears. Also, if your main card is an American Express, make sure that your debit card is Visa or MasterCard so that your plastic will be accepted wherever you go. If you have more than two credit cards, cancel only one each year (it hurts your credit score to cancel too many at once).
We aim to carry around $25 to $50 at all times. Although any loss of cash is a blow, the goal is to keep little enough that we won’t, say, have trouble paying rent if we lose our wallet, but enough to split a restaurant bill with friends (there are always groans when too many people insist on paying via credit card).
You should always have access to your checking account, just in case you’re in a bind and need extra cash on the go.
For most people, this will take the form of a driver’s license. Stores have the right to ask for an ID when you use a credit card, so you need to have one ready to show them.
Always. You’ll need your health insurance on hand for any medical services, and your auto insurance card in case you get into a fender bender.
If you use public transportation to commute to work, keep an unlimited transportation card in your wallet, which often saves a lot of money over buying individual rides. In Boston, it’s a CharlieCard. In New York, MetroCard. In D.C., SmarTrip. If you drive to work every day, this includes your AAA card, which you should have with you at all times if you’re a member.
Discount Club Cards
This includes your CVS card, Regal card, promotional tenth-coffee-free cards, and anything else that fits the bill. There’s nothing worse than stopping by a store and realizing that you’ve left your gift card at home.
This includes things that have already been paid for, like a gym membership card.
This is optional, but recommended—Alexa carries around her airline cards so that she never forgets to use her frequent flyer number whenever she travels.
LV Tip: If you’re a) an iPhone user and b) don’t want to stuff your wallet with a million cards, consider this iPhone app.
To take a peek inside Alexa’s wallet, watch the video below! What does YOUR wallet look like? Tell us in the comments!