Samuel L. Jackson and company never seem to tire of interrogating you about what’s in your wallet. They do this while pressing you to add a product that almost certainly shouldn’t be there. It is not just to cure your hopeless case of Costanza wallet. It is to help you gain better financial hygiene. Not only that, but it is remarkable how much better your situation can get by eliminating the things you carry with you. That is not to imply that removing a few things from your wallet will magically fix everything. But it is the beginning of a solution.
There are two major problems that have to be addressed in every financial crisis:
- You don’t have enough money to cover your expenses regardless of what you do.
- You are spending the money you have in a way that is contributing to the crisis.
Just about every financial problem has its origin in one of those two buckets. They are both buckets of hurt. The first problem cannot be easily addressed. You will need to increase the amount of money you make or decrease your lifestyle to fit the budget you have. The second problem can be addressed. Let’s take a look at a few of the things we can remove from your wallet that will help to address the problem:
Unneeded Credit Cards
You probably should not cut up all of your credit cards like so many people suggest. That is advice born of privilege. No one telling you to do that would consider trying to live without a credit card. It is impractical in today’s economy. You will also want to keep at least one credit card around for emergencies. Better a credit card than a loan. Furthermore, when the emergency comes, you will already have the credit card. You will have to run out and search for a loan.
Your credit builder card is an obvious candidate for your wallet. Your department store cards are fossils from a bygone era. When it comes to your wallet, let bygones be bygones. For most of your maintenance shopping, use a debit card so you don’t have anything to pay off at the end of the month. If you use a credit card for daily shopping, don’t wait for the end of the month. Pay it off immediately. Mostly, you want a credit card for emergency situations. Credit cards you have just to make it easier to spend money you don’t should be permanently evicted from your wallet.
You should take a lesson from the Domino’s Pizza drivers and never carry more than $20 at any given time. Better yet, make it $5. The more cash you have, the easier it is to blow money on the kind of silly impulse purchases you would chide your kids for. Having a few dollars in cash might be just the thing to get you on a bus after a late baseball game. But cashing your check and carrying it with you because you don’t trust banks is the wrong idea. The one you should trust even less with your money than the bank is yourself.
Loyalty cards are not good for anyone. They are not good for businesses, and they are even worse for you. They might have started out as a good idea. But in the modern world, they are like computer viruses. Your use of that loyalty card keeps you from looking for a better deal elsewhere. And it gives the company access to some of your personal information. You might think that all sounds innocent enough. After all, they already have the information you are giving them.
What you fail to realize is that information is traded among their “partners” and sold to the highest bidders. Do you ever wonder how all those telemarketers get your information in the first place? Take a look in your wallet, that loyalty card is not there for your benefit. You will be better off without it. There might be some rare exceptions where you get a legitimate discount by using the card. But that is extremely rare.
Your wallet might not be serving you as well as you think. Get rid of the needless credit cards, the excessive cash, and the disloyal loyalty cards. By doing so, you will not only make your wallet slimmer, but smarter in the process.