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Home » Credit Cards, Personal Asides

What’s in My Wallet

Last updated by on 28 Comments

I thought it might be kind of cool, as a personal finance blogger, to answer the annoyingly effective (or effectively annoying?) ad slogan question, “what’s in your wallet?”. And no, you won’t find a Capital One card.

To be fully transparent, I did do a bit of tidying up to get it in this state – removing an old frequent flyer card, some receipts, and a few bank statements in the process. It wasn’t quite George Costanza-bursting-at-the-seams level, but still, nothing to write home about.

As you will see, there is a lot of plastic, which makes this thing unbearably thick – to the point where I usually only put it in my pocket if I’m going into a store to make a purchase or a restaurant.

So lets take a walk through.

my walletWallet: I’ll start with the wallet itself. Genuine leather tri-fold. I could not tell you what off-name brand it is, and honestly, I kind of like that I don’t know. I’ve had this wallet for at least 13 years now, I would imagine. It’s still going strong, but if it ever falls apart on me, I’d probably move to something much smaller. A bi-fold at max.

Cash: I was randomly carrying $14 American cash on me at the time of the photo, along with $10 Canadian (I take frequent business trips to Canada). With my reliance on cards for payments, I usually don’t carry much more than $30 cash at any time. I feel safer this way too. If I’m pick-pocketed, I may have a bit of a headache calling to cancel credit cards, but at least I’m not out the cash.

Debit Cards: I have two debit cards from TCF Bank. I have checking accounts with them as they have free checking and are literally in my employer’s building – making it easy to cash checks or withdraw from their ATM, if I need cash.

Why two debit cards from the same bank? My wife and I each have separate bank accounts and shared a joint account. I have one card for each.

Credit Cards: I have four in my wallet at the moment, you can find out more about these on my list of money saving products (and if you’re looking for credit cards that suit your needs, check out my credit card comparison tool):

  • Blue Cash Preferred® American Express: This is my go-to grocery rewards card, which I use at Trader Joe’s, Meijer, and Whole Foods. It offers 6% cash back at US supermarkets (as well as 3% at US gas stations & select department stores, and 1% on other purchases).
  • TrueEarnings® Costco American Express: this card has become my restaurant and travel card (it offers 2% cash back for eligible travel & restaurant purchases, and 1% on other purchases). It also dubs as my Costco membership card. It is the only card you can use at Costco.
  • Upromise World MasterCard® is the best rewards hacking card at the moment. You can earn 10% or more cash back on eligible online purchases through Upromise, 4% cash back at thousands of participating Upromise dining restaurants, 3% cash back on eligible gas purchases at Exxon or Mobil locations, 2% cash back on eligible movie theater locations, 1% cash back on all other purchases. Check out my review on this card for more info.
  • Visa Cash+ Card: This is a card that is no longer open to new accounts, but gets me 5% cash back on restaurants and fast food (which I do not eat that often).
  • GM Card: I use this card for business related expenses only and could probably leave it at home, as all of the expenses associated with running this blog are transacted online.

Health-Related: at the bottom, you’ll see three health related cards:

  • Delta Dental: this card is for my dental insurance through my employer.
  • Anthem Blue Cross: this is my HDHP health insurance card.
  • My Equity HSA debit card: this debits directly from my HSA when I charge health related expenses like a doctor’s visit or a prescription.

Other Random: on the left side, you’ll find:

  • A rewards punch card for homebrew kits. Buy 10, get one free. ;-)
  • An AMC Theater gift card. I received this over a year ago and haven’t been to the theater since as there is no AMC within 25 miles of my house. Should probably leave this one at home.
  • A Mug Club membership at a favorite local brewery. I get a discount on all beer! (has paid itself off already)

State of Michigan Driver’s License: last, but not least, for the 1 to 2 times per month I actually drive or get carded when buying alcohol.

That covers it

Your turn! What’s in your wallet?


About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


28 Comments »
  • Trevor says:

    I’ve never liked a trifold wallet. In my leather bifold that I received for free I have an HDHP insurance card, 2 debit cards (fifth third and a local credit union), a business CC from chase, a AAA membership card (when my wife locked our 18 mo old son in the car while it was running, this card more than paid for itself), a CC from my local CU, $13, a license, and a piece of paper with a saying that I occasionally look at for inspiration.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    What is on the “inspiration” paper? You’ve teased, now don’t hold out on us!

  • kris says:

    Driver’s License, College ID, Car and Health Insurance Cards, Some Cash, 1 Credit Card, AMEX (when I’m traveling for business), and 2-3 business cards.

  • derrick says:

    I use to have the Costanza wallet, till I started getting back problems. Now its 6 cards, no cash (rare exceptions), all in a ‘no-fold’ wallet:

    Driver’s License, HSA Bank Card, Skymiles AMEX, Cashback Rewards Mastercard, Prescription Drug ID card, Health Insurance card.

    Room for corporate card when needed, and/or transportation card when I travel to ‘the big city’.

  • IdaBaker says:

    Too many things in my wallet to list here, but why no photos? I would think most people would carry at least one.

    Am I wrong?

  • I keep as little in my wallet as possible. Costco takes other American Express cards too.
    Chase

  • Josh says:

    I also used to have the Costanza wallet and had back problems. After much research I found my solution.

    I currently utilize two items to keep my wallet razor thing. First, http://www.money-band.com is my wallet. At first glance many people think it is a “broccoli rubber band”, however it is just the perfect size to keep your wallet thin .

    Secondly, in my area of the country nearly all the grocery stores require a separate rewards card to shop . Rather than carry all of this bulk I utilize an application on my smart phone called “key ring” to store all the cards. This currently has nine cards stored that I would have previously had to lug around.

    When I leave the house , it is my smartphone, wallet and a car key. My house has keyless entry locks installed. My wallet currently contains my drivers license, Chase freedom , corporate AMEX , library card and insurance cards. I rarely ever carry actual cash.

    Until the time that our smartphone can be used as ID , car key and payment, this has been as “thin” as I can get.

  • Christina says:

    You can actually use any American Express card at Costco.

    • Vanessa F. says:

      This is definitely a belated comment, but no 6% back – I have the Blue Cash everyday amex card and Costco comes up as a wholesaler rather than a grocery store – so, alas, only 1% back rather than my 3% on groceries

  • Harry @ PF Pro says:

    I really want to switch to a money clip, but I have too many damn cards, not to mention I’m always trying to hit different sign up bonuses. Ideally, I’d like to carry my credit card, atm card, driver’s license and cash. One day..

  • Marcus says:

    I just need to share and the ‘wallet’ section seems appropriate:

    I AM (Consumer) DEBT FREE AS OF TODAY! No more consumer debt, no more credit card payments, only my mortgage to tackle!

    This has taken me only 2.5 years of dedication and focus and reading bloggs like this to keep me going!

    Thanks to all of you!!!

    Marcus

  • Greg says:

    I would love to slim my wallet down, and am going to try and do so once http://www.walla.by/ opens up. I managed to get in on the “first 5000 get a free year’s subscription” deal, and am interested in trying it out.

    Other than that, I carry around my a college ID, driver’s license, insurance card, three credit cards, a debit card, AAA card, a few business cards, and never more than $40 in cash.

  • Truitt says:

    My wife and do the same thing with bank accounts. All the money gets deposited into joint, then we each get a weekly allowance in our personal accounts. There is never more than a few hundred dollars in the personal accounts, and autodraft is turned off, so when we’re out of allowance money for the week, the debit card just gets declined.

    I don’t use a wallet. I have several plastic cards and an extra large paper clip to hold them all together.

  • mdenis39 says:

    Moneyclip, no wallet – $50 cash & 7 cards: Discover, Visa, ATM/Debit, Costco, Health Insurance, License, Gift Card

  • Adam says:

    It’s amazing how many people have virtually the same things. Basically it’s what we need daily.

    In my wallet, 2 credit cards, personal and business, debit card, costco card, amc movie card, small amount of cash, insurance card and a couple of punch cards for blimpie subs.

    Pretty basic stuff.

  • John says:

    My wallet isn’t really that exciting . . . just a couple of debit cards, an insurance card, fun money (when I have it), and an ID.

    Boring, right?

  • Steven says:

    It is hard to feel being separated from those reliable cards. While they do lessen risks, I limit carrying them in an effort to reduce my utilization of them. I am proud that my wallet finally slimmed down though.

  • Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    What an interesting post, I’ve never seen someone reveal the contents of their wallet so easily. As for myself, I carry 1 debit card and 0 credit cards, and typically about $60 U.S. I guess if there is ever a time where my debit card failed I wouldn’t be able to make any purchases! lol. Yikes.

  • Kyle says:

    How do you limit driving to once or twice a month in Lansing? I used to live in Michigan but it seemed like any social life required frequent driving. Very cool article.

  • Andrew E says:

    I went wallet-less a year ago and love it! I ONLY carry my driver’s license, Chase credit card, and a Wells Fargo debit card. Sometimes I grab a $20 if I’m going somewhere I know I’ll need cash. I really like not carrying so much junk around with me that I never use.

  • Christopher D says:

    This is a loaded question…

    My daily wallet is a Coach bi-fold that was a Christmas gift from my girlfriend. It generally contains: Driver’s License, TD Bank Debit Card (gas), Credit Union Debit Card (Bills, Groceries, Household), American Express Prepaid (spending money), AAA card, and anywhere from $0 – $100 USD. Usually have a few business cards in there too.

    In the summer, while traveling, or if I’m wearing a suit, I have a thin Coach card case that I’ve had for about 10 years that carries my License, AMEX, 2 Debit Cards, and AAA Card.

    I keep my insurance cards and social security card in a small metal card holder in my safe and only take it if necessary. In my car I have a small card case in the glove compartment that contains oil change coupons and car wash coupons.

    On my iPhone, I use the Key Ring app to store my loyalty cards.

    Less is more!

  • Drake says:

    I have a bi-fold RFID blocking wallet from Identity Stronghold. Since my passport card (which I like to use for ID since it doesn’t have my address on it) has an RFID chip and more and more credit cards are coming out with RFID chips I opted to pick up this wallet to protect from hackers with packet sniffing equipment. In theory someone could use a device within close proximity to snatch information coming off those RFID chips.

    This wallet works. With my previous wallet I could leave my metro card inside the wallet and just swipe my whole wallet at the turnstile and the card would read, now with the RFID wallet, it won’t.

    So besides my PP card, I have my driver license, 1 of type of work ID, debit card (which I only use to withdraw cash or make ATM deposits), health insurance card, 2 credit cards, a few discount coupons for some stores (in case I find myself having to make a purchase and won’t have to worry about if I took the coupons I have at home), triple A card, and a few ticket stub momentos.

    I keep my 3rd credit card at home so in the event I lose my wallet I won’t have to wait to have access to a credit card. this is also the card I use for automatic billing (cell phone bill, netflix etc). so it’s still being used and links directly to my bank account.

    • Drake says:

      since I like to travel light, I also opt not to carry discount cards such as my grocery store card and will just key in my phone number whenever the situation arises. for those with privacy issues they say more often than not you can key in your local area code plus 867-5309 (or whatever the song is) and that will usually work, i haven’t tried that one yet.

  • Dj says:

    I noticed on your website you have a rewards card for home brewing? I myself homebrew and was wondering which website/store gives you a punch card like this? Thanks!

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