Dear Wallet, We’re Both Too Fat to Continue this Relationship

by Darwin on February 21, 2010

You’ll find this to be one of the more insipid posts you’ll ever find here at Darwin’s Finance, but it deals with finance (at least tangentially) so I figured I’d share my experience in liberating myself from my wallet.  Due to one of the two phenomena: 1) my pants shrank or 2) I’m getting fatter, the pair of pants I was wearing the other day just weren’t going to work with my wallet.  You see, I have a Costanza wallet from the famed Seinfeld episode.


I feel compelled to carry:

  • every wallet-sized picture of my kids my wife has ever given me
  • every piece of identifying information
  • blood donor cards
  • dental/medical/prescription drug cards
  • credit cards
  • customer loyalty cards for restaurants
  • coupons
  • my buy 9 get one free coffee clipper card
  • business cards for that one time in a year I run into someone and need to exchange business cards

…and more stuff you won’t even remotely relate to

That’s all before the money part.

Regardless of whether I’m fat or have cheap crap pants, I decided it was time to start going to work with a money clip instead.  I simply extracted my license, a credit card and about 40 bucks.  It consumes about 1/10 the space my wallet used to and I feel liberated.  I’ve just recently started taking it not just to work, but also for routine errands and social outings.  The wallet used to look ridiculous.  I would be mocked relentlessly as I withdrew the bulging monstrosity after trying to manipulate and contort my nether region in all sorts of inhuman mannerisms.  It now sits on my workstation in the kitchen where it belongs.  If I need something out of it, i take it out and add it to my money clip.  At night, I store my small money clip system right on top of my wallet and put back anything I don’t actually need the next day.

Benefits of Ditching the Wallet

Well, this is one case where I can’t actually equate something to a financial benefit.  However, there are some other benefits to ditching the wallet.  Primarily, it’s a lot less I’m carrying around.  I like not having that giant bulge.  While it would be virtually impossible to “fall out of my pocket”, I may accidentally leave it on a counter somewhere or be robbed at some point.  If that occurred and I lost my license and 1 credit card – that would be pretty annoying.  If I lost the 40 items I listed above and had to cancel EVERY credit card, replace EVERY ID card, etc., lost pictures I’ll never get back, etc., well, that would be a much harsher experience.  Not only do I look and feel better without it, but I’m limiting my risk.

In this new age of “The New Normal” perhaps this is just another minimalist fad that will catch on.  Doubt it, but similarly vapid to ponder nonetheless.

Money Clip Put to the Test

The test will be if I remember to snag something I actually need from it on a day I have say, a doctor’s appointment, when they want to see my card.  If we’re going somewhere on the run where I need multiple things, I can always just take the clunker with me, but for the most part, I’m going to rely on my system and memory to make it work.

Anyone out there ready to ditch the wallet now?

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1 February 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

I used to carry a money clip. I really liked it. Now I carry a small wallet.

One funny story about my wallet, when I first got it, I put too many things in it. Now, I can’t take stuff out of it because the pocket is stretched out so much that if it has less in it they stuff all falls out.

2 David @ MBA briefs February 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

A friend of mine had to have several vertebrae fused when he was about the same age as I am now, and one of the things his doctor recommended was to not carry a large wallet in his hip pocket because it would cause his spine to be misaligned.

Ever since he told me about this I’ve been carrying a thin wallet with just a couple of cards, my driver’s license, and medical insurance card. Like you I just carry a little bit of walking around money folded inside, and the total thickness is about a quarter of an inch. Everything else I keep in my Franklin Planner.

3 Suzanne in Japan February 22, 2010 at 6:47 am

Back in grad school, I never carried a purse because of lugging all the books– I streamline to just a fold over wallet in my back jeans pocket (or jacket pocket if the weather required one). I’d put the bare minimum keys and a tiny lipstick in a front pocket. I didn’t have a cell phone and didn’t carry a comb but I would stash many of the extras of life in my car. For a woman, that was pretty minimalist and seemed to attract a lot of curiosity. Still, I felt totally free and often wish I could go back to that, but alas, I’m toting a big bad purse these days! I have a young friend now who carriers her dog on her motorcycle to work and doesn’t own a purse! Really reminds me of myself in those days–of course she’d never believe it now . . .

4 craig February 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I did the same and have a money clip thing now and it’s much better. I have less in my pockets and don’t have as many cards, which means no need for useless cards which would help me spend.

5 Budgeting in the Fun Stuff February 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I didn’t own a purse or wallet until about two years ago, but there were just too many times that I needed a specific gift card or insurance card that I had left behind.

I still only carry a purse during my weekly routines. For quick trips out, I just put my ID, a credit card, and some cash in one pocket, my cell phone in the other, and away I go. 🙂

It is freeing, isn’t it?

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