9 things you should never keep in your purse

Victoria Chudinova/ShutterstockYou’ll only want to keep items you would be ok with losing.
  • Your purse is there to keep all of your things stored safely in one place.
  • There are some items you should always keep in your purse, like wallets, keys, and hand sanitizer.
  • Other items, like sensitive documents and old receipts, should definitely be left at home in the case that your purse is lost or stolen.
  • Here are nine things you should never keep in your purse.

The essential items you carry around in your purse often include things that prepare you for unexpected emergencies, like tampons, tissues, and over-the-counter medications.

Though it’s important to be prepared, keeping certain items in your purse can set you up for devastation in the case that your handbag is lost or stolen.

If the items in your purse have any sentimental value attached, like family photos or jewellery, or could have expensive consequences if lost, then you should avoid carrying them in your purse.

Here are nine things you should never keep in your purse:


1. A list of your passwords

inewsfoto/ShutterstockIf someone steals your bag, they will have access to password-protected content.

As more and more websites and apps require passwords for security purposes, it can be hard to keep track of that information. But you should definitely avoid keeping this sensitive information written down on a sheet in your purse.

“Some people feel passwords are safer in their bag than at home because it’s always on them, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of Identity Theft Resource Center, told Reader’s Digest. “You’re much more apt to lose your purse or wallet than have a break-in.”

It’s much safer to store your passwords in a password manager smartphone app that is also passcode protected, such as LastPass.


2. Identifying documents

John O’Nolan/Attribution Licence/FlickrYou should only carry a driver’s licence or state ID.

The only identifying document you should regularly carry with you is a driver’s licence or state identification card. You should not make a habit out of carrying your social security card, passport, or birth certificate with you unless you need it for travelling.

Aside from the hassle of having to replace these items, they’re a major source of identity theft.

“Your social security number is the critical piece of information a thief needs to carry out identity theft,” Velasquez told Reader’s Digest.


3. Your debit card, checkbooks, and large amounts of cash

Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesA thief could withdraw money from your account.

If you use your debit card as a way to easily take cash out, then you can bet a thief can do the same if they steal your card.

“I’m not a huge fan of always having a debit card with you, because the cash disappears from your account and you have to prove it wasn’t you before you get it back, unlike a credit card, where you can stop the charges and the money never leaves your account,” John Sileo, CEO of cybersecurity group Sileo Group, told Reader’s Digest.

It may not always be possible, but try only keeping a debit card on you when you know you’ll be withdrawing cash, and a checkbook only when you need to write a check. Also avoid carrying around large wads of cash in the case that you lose your bag for good.


4. Your entire makeup collection

Noam Galai/Getty ImagesYour makeup could leak or spill.

If you wear makeup daily, sometimes you may need a midday touch-up.

However, warm temperatures or broken caps can spell disaster and cause your makeup to melt or leak all over the contents of your purse.

If you must, opt for travel sizes of your absolute essentials and store them in a separate makeup case or clear plastic bag.


5. Old receipts

PRORoland Tanglao/Attribution Licence/FlickrReceipts give a thief an idea of your go-to shops.

We’re all guilty of shoving receipts in our bags and unearthing them months later, but you should get in the habit of regularly organising and throwing out receipts.

Though they’re not as tragic a loss as your identifying documents, receipts paint a picture of what you typically spend money on, which can make it easier for someone to make purchases with your cards without raising suspicion.

“It’s giving a thief a great picture of who you are and where you shop,” Velasquez told Reader’s Digest. “All fraud analytics look for anomalies in behaviour, and your receipts show where you shop.”


6. Perishable snacks

FotoCuisinette/ShutterstockJust like makeup, perishable fruit could spill and create a mess in your purse.

If you have a long day or busy schedule ahead of you, you may want to fend off a growling stomach by keeping your favourite snacks in your purse. But just like cosmetic products that can melt, spill, or leak, certain foods are as equally as disastrous.

You’ll want to avoid keeping anything perishable in your purse – even granola bars, fruit, and candy bars can get smashed when you’re on the go.

Opt for bagged items that won’t be easily crushed, like trail mix or nuts, and store them in clear bags or containers when you’re in transit.


7. Gift cards and store credit cards

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThieves could easily spend these.

Keeping gift cards in your wallet feels natural for most of us, in case you find yourself on an impromptu shopping trip.

But according to Intuit’s Mint, it can be nearly impossible to get the balance back if they’re lost or stolen, so minimise the risk by bringing them only when you’re heading to that store to make a purchase.

You should do the same with store-specific credit cards – the more cards you have on you, the more damage a thief can do before you’re able to cancel them all with your bank.

“Do you need to carry that department store card with you all the time? No, only when you plan to go to that store,” Linda Jacob, a certified financial planner and accredited financial counselor told Discover.


8. Membership and loyalty cards

Tim Boyle/Getty ImagesYou should only bring membership cards if you plan on using them.

If your wallet or purse is a dumping ground for membership or loyalty cards at your favourite stores, gas stations, and restaurants, then you’ll definitely want to downsize.

Just like gift cards and store credit cards, you should bring them only if you know you’re going to use them.

It’s not as risky as losing identifying documents or bank information, but a thief can easily access your gym or use your reward points if they get hold of your card.

An even better option is to check for smartphone apps which can be password protected and used just as easily when you’re out and about.


9. Less things

Vladimir Gjorgiev/ShutterstockA heavy purse could lead to shoulder or back pain.

Basically, you don’t want to be toting too much of anything with you on a regular basis. Carrying around devices, books, umbrellas, personal items, food, extra clothes, and anything else can make your purse too heavy and lead to back, neck, or shoulder pain over time.

“Many patients don’t realise that their heavy handbags are contributing to their problems,” Heidi Prather, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told Real Simple.

She recommended that your purse or tote shouldn’t weigh more than a gallon of milk, or a bit over eight pounds. Lightening your load is not only better for your body, but also protects you in case someone gets hold of your belongings.

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