How we pay, store, and manage money has changed dramatically. Many of us no longer carry cash daily and instead use cards, mobile apps, or other digital tools to track expenses. Unfortunately, it can make it easy to lose sight of what we have available at any given moment and make it more challenging to stay on top of our financial obligations.
A fully stocked wallet in your pocket might seem passé. Can you not just use your phone for everything? However, while many young people and newer businesses are acclimated to the digital world, older ones are not. Many establishments still operate on paper records and physical ID and don’t take smartphone currencies. But knowing where to start when outfitting a wallet can be challenging. Here are some things you can start with.
A Photo ID
Keeping a current photo ID in your wallet is a critical first step toward staying organized financially. If you lose your wallet, having a current ID can quickly help you get a replacement card. That is especially important if you use a debit or credit card regularly since you’ll need to report any missing or stolen cards immediately to avoid financial fraud. You may also need your ID to board flights or access other services if you regularly travel.
A photo ID can even be helpful in social situations, where it’s common to identify new people with a handshake and a single question, “What do you do?” InstantCard employee IDs make it easier to explain your career path. A photo ID may not seem like a critical tool, but it can help you avoid headaches when dealing with most professional situations.
In the digital payment age, cash is still king regarding flexibility and ease of use. For example, cash is often the best way to pay for things like taxis and street food if you’re travelling internationally. You might also find yourself in situations where only cash is accepted, like with some vending machines or at a small mom-and-pop store that doesn’t accept credit cards. Cash can also be helpful in social situations, where it’s common to offer a small gift when you’re invited to someone’s house, attend a charity event, or otherwise accept hospitality as a gift. If you use a credit card for these occasions, you’ll have to wait until your following statement to record your donation—making it less likely that you’ll remember to do so.
If you regularly shop with a cash-back credit card, it’s easy to forget that you have ever spent any money at all. But if you don’t track every expense, you could pay more than you need. So you should get the receipt for every purchase, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Receipts are valuable tools for tracking expenses and ensuring you get the best price on everything from gas to groceries.
If you use a budgeting app to keep track of your expenses, receipts are critical for entering the data. It’s easy to forget to add an item to your budget once you’ve already paid for it. Having the receipt in your wallet makes it easy to enter the data as soon as you make the purchase, so you don’t forget. If you ever need to dispute an expense—due to fraud or an error—having the receipt makes it easier to get your money back.
A Credit Card You Don’t Use Often
Many wallets have a credit card, but not all have an extra credit card you don’t use often. If you have only one credit card and use it regularly, you may be tempted to use it as a source of cash when you run short. In addition, credit cards often come with higher interest rates than savings accounts, making cash advance loans a costly way to bridge a gap in your finances.
If you have a credit card with a low limit and don’t use it regularly, it’s easy to forget about it. It can make it easier to avoid using and paying the associated fees. Using a credit card infrequently can help you avoid paying interest on a cash advance from your credit card, but it’s essential to transfer the money to your primary card as soon as you’re able to pay it off.
Having multiple different sources of money you can spend is a significant benefit of a physical wallet.
Other Things to Consider
Any specific membership cards or gift cards should have a special place in your wallet. In addition, organizing your wallet pockets to accommodate miscellaneous cards is vital because it differentiates it from a phone sleeve or an app.
In addition, you can keep memorable photographs in your wallet for safekeeping. While you can instantly get pictures on your phone, having a unique, physical place for a person or moment can elevate it. Other personal effects that can fit on or in a wallet include specialized chains or pins. Keep little notes to yourself in there. Ultimately, the wallet is your oyster.
Becoming an adult means not relying on your phone for everything all the time. It means adapting to a world that’s primarily still analog and where most people aren’t used to smartphone currency. Carrying around a fully stocked wallet will help ground you in the physical reality of ID and money. It can also help you cut some corners when you lose your phone charger!