Jen Charron: Control Freak


3 Tips to Tame your Wallet

If you can’t close your wallet, this is for you

I have distinct childhood memories of my mother’s wallet. She always has—and always will—sorted her cash by denomination. Fives, then tens, then twenties. Always grouped in the proper order and neatly stacked together. With the fronts facing out and all of the heads on the bills aligned. As a kid, I remember waiting patiently for her as she carefully put her change away after paying for our groceries. It was all in place before she set foot outside the store.

Then there’s the wallet that belongs to one of my dearest friends. It is huge and sits like a rock in the poor gal’s purse. It is full of stuff that she’s had in there for god only knows how long and she cannot for the life of her, zip that thing up! Totally Costanza! I’m always razzing her about it.

I’m not as particular as my mother about my wallet but have been known to sort my bills just like my mum from time to time. However, I religiously collect receipts and they can quickly build up­­–depending upon how much spending I’m doing. ;) So I try to keep on top of emptying them out on a semi-regular basis.

Whether you can close your wallet or not, here are a few things that you can do to be better organized about your wallet and the stuff in it:

1. Get rid of all of that extra stuff
All of the organizers out there will tell you to limit the amount of stuff you keep in your wallet. Only the needed credit cards, not too much cash, stash the gift cards at home. I probably keep more in my wallet than I should, so it could use a purging. And if you’re like my BFF and overflowing, take a half-hour to go through it and remove at least some of non-essential items.

2. Have a place for everything
If you take some time to create some order to the stuff in your wallet, make sure you always put things back in their proper place after using them. You’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for. On occasion I accidentally slip one credit card behind another. When I glance in my wallet and don’t see the card on the top that I expect to see, I always get a sinking feeling in my stomach for fear that I’ve lost it! I’m so used to seeing everything in its place.

3. Make copies of anything important
Taking 15 minutes to photocopy all of the important stuff in your wallet will be a lifesaver if your wallet is ever lost or stolen. Get copies of both the front and the back of your driver’s license, your health card, your kids’ health cards, credit cards, bank cards—anything in your wallet that has any identifying info on it. Then keep the copies in a safe place at home. If you ever need it, you’ll have all of your account numbers and the phone numbers to call to cancel the cards in one spot. This has been on my mental to do list for a while but I haven’t done it yet. I’m going to make it a priority to do it this week and I’m going to make Mr. Org do it, too.

Oh and speaking of Mr. Org reminds me of one more tip: Keep a little note in your wallet with an emergency contact’s name and phone number. When, God forbid, a crisis occurs; it will make it easy for emergency workers to be able to quickly locate your family.

So, I wonder if folks generally fall into one “wallet” camp or the other…

I wonder what the way you keep your wallet says about your personality…

Could keeping your wallet organized help you be better with organizing your finances?

What do you think? What state is your wallet in?