Your wallet should be an organizational tool, not a catch-all.
If yours is bulging with month-old receipts, random gift cards, and every single credit card you own, it may be time for a little process of elimination.
Recently, the Today Show aired a segment that focused on the items you should carry in your wallet as part of their Take Charge Of Your Life series.
Here’s what they designated necessary to keep close, plus a few extra items you might want to have on hand.
1. The main forms of ID you use
The Today Show says your driver’s licence or photo ID should always have a place in your wallet in case of an emergency or any situation where someone needs to verify your identity.
It’s a good idea to carry your health insurance card as well, for doctors’ appointments or in case of an emergency.
Keep your social security card at home or in a safe deposit box at a bank — there’s a greater chance of someone stealing it if you carry it on you.
2. Debit, credit, and loyalty cards
There’s no need for more than one debit card in your wallet, explains the Today Show, and you should try to limit yourself to two credit cards in case your wallet is lost or stolen. Identifying the one or two credit cards that give you the most rewards will encourage you to use those more often, benefitting you in the long term.
Retail credit cards, however, are better off left at home unless you’re planning on hitting that store specifically, since they have a higher interest rate than most other credit cards.
If there’s a store loyalty card (not a credit card) you use frequently — like one from your grocery store — you might want to carry that, too. If not, most stores will allow you to give your phone number instead.
3. Some cash
The Today Show also says that it’s always a good idea to have a little cash in your wallet, for a tip, for an emergency, or for the odd cash-only purchase. If you’re ever caught in a cash-only situation without any cash, you might end up paying $US2.50 or $US3.00 to use an out of network ATM.
4. Your work ID
If you use an ID or a badge to get into the building where you work, it makes sense to keep that in your wallet, since you use it regularly.
5. A transportation card
Anyone who has ever missed the subway fishing around for their MetroCard or CharlieCard might want to move it from the bottom of their purse or briefcase to their wallet. If you take public transportation to and from work, you’ll want to have your card handy.