A wallet is likely the most important piece of every day carry you have. It contains some of your most essential items. However, most of us carry way to many unnecessary things in our wallets. Here is a list of the 6 most essential things to keep in your wallet, the 6 most important things to NOT carry in your wallet, and 5 things you might never have thought of carrying until now...
Wallet Carry Essentials
Drivers License- Keeping some form of state issued ID on you is very important, not to mention required if you plan to operate a motor vehicle. A state issued ID can get you onto an airplane, through a checkout line, and allow you to buy a little liquid happiness. If your work or school requires you to carry a security card or student ID, then that is ok as well.
Credit Card- Notice this is singular. One credit card. Most of us have a few different credit cards (some have a few hundred...). However, you should only be carrying one of them every day. Leave the rest at home, you don't need $100k of credit line on you at all times.
Debit Card- This is handy as well, and can double as a second credit card if you've got cash in your bank account. Also, it's important to always have a way to get some cash quickly.
Emergency Cash- Sometimes there won't be an ATM around and you need cash. Always keep $20-$50 in your wallet at all times stashed away for those emergency occasions when cash is the only option. An emergency stash of cash will get you out of some tight spots.
2-3 Business Cards- You never know when you might need to exchange contact details quickly. A business card is still an essential tool, even in this modern day and age. Additionally, it has your contact details on it so that if you loose your wallet a good samaritan can contact you to return it. However, you really only need a few cards at any given time. You can always refill them later from that stash of 2000 you've got tucked away in your drawer at home.
Medical Insurance Card- Having your insurance card on you in times of emergency can save you a lot of headaches later. It is typically thin and doesn't take up much space. Stash it in a dark corner of your wallet along with your emergency cash and forget about it until you need it. Let's face it, we pay through the nose for the privilege of medical treatment, so we might as well keep the proper document on us at all times too!
Wallet Carry No-Nos
These six things should never ever be found in your wallet. Ever. Seriously.
Social Security Card- Never EVER carry your SS card on you. If you lose your wallet or it gets stolen, you've just given any nefarious individual the keys to your life. You should have this number memorized anyway and a state issued ID card is all the identification you will need in 99.99% of situations.
Old Receipts- Like rabbits, these little pieces of white paper multiply faster than you can say "hip hop anonymous." There's nothing less classy than rooting through your bulging collection of aged receipts to find your cash. You weren't raised by wolves so clean out your wallet each day and either trash or stash those receipts somewhere else.
Pin Numbers and Passwords- Seriously, this too should go without saying for reasons that go without saying. Instead, use a password management app on your phone and keep them all safe and secure where they belong.
Blank Checks- Apparently some people do this??!! Again, if you lose your wallet anybody could forge your signature and cash your checks, emptying out your bank account and leaving you with no avenues to get it back. Don't do it.
Extra Key- Not only is it bulky, it's dangerous to carry a key. Your address and personal details are in your wallet, the last thing you want is to give a would-be thief the keys to your house too. Instead, give a close friend or family member a spare key for times of emergency. The slight inconvenience of calling a friend to help out far outweighs the danger of losing everything you own because you were a bone-head.
Extra Credit Cards, Reward Cards, Gift Cards- The goal is to keep your wallet as slim as possible with just the essentials. Unless you are Warren Buffet, you don't need $100k of credit on you at any given moment. And even he probably pays somebody to carry his wallet for him. Leave those spare cards at home and use them only on an as-needed basis.
Wallet Carry Maybes...
Small Coil of Wire- A small coil of wire (around 12-gauge and 2-3 feet long) can come in very handy in a ton of situations. From tying something together, reattaching objects, propping open a door, closing split seams, hooking keys that have fallen in hard to reach places, poking friends from really far away, and more. Plus it's so small that when you coil it up you will never even know it's there until you need it.
Safety Pin- Super handy for fixing wardrobe malfunctions. Your wife/girlfriend/significant other will thank you, trust me. Be a gentleman and always carry a handkerchief in your pocket and a safety pin in your wallet. You don't want to miss out on a chance to be her hero for the day.
2-3 Strike Anywhere Matches- MacGyver always carried a few matches on him, and it saved his tail on more than one occasion. We tend to agree, always keep a few matches stashed on you if possible.
Wilderness Survival and/or Hostage Escape Card- Ok... probably not necessary for any but the most prepared of preppers. But it sure is cool and takes up the space of one credit card. These handy little titanium punch out cards have a ton of tools for saving you if you are lost in the wilderness or as a last ditch effort to escape when you have been restrained. Hopefully, neither of those situations every happen to you. Also, they make super awesome conversation starters.
Card Sized Smartphone Charger- This one is a bit thicker than any of the other items on this list at about 5mm, but a holdout battery pack that will fill your phone up to 50% can be a life saver as well in many different circumstances. Just make sure it's charged... and while you are at it check the spare tire air pressure in your car. You can thank us later.
Less Is More
Wallets are awesome. I've had my wallet longer than I've had most of my friends... which isn't necessarily a good thing. :) A high quality leather wallet can last you a decade or more, mold to you, and take on its own personality. That's why here at Pad & Quill we make all our full grain leather wallets to last a decade or more! Just remember that when it comes to what you put in your wallet- Less Is More.