What to Keep in Your Wallet, Plus 3 Things You Should Never Carry

We’re not saying you have a George Constanza problem, but over time, you’ve loaded it up with so many odds and ends—and credit cards and receipts—it’s hard to locate what you actually need when you need it. Here, how to streamline and lighten your purse-load.

9 Things Every Totally Prepared Woman Keeps in Her Bag

credit cards in wallet

1. Only Carry Two Credit Cards At Once

It’s a theft prevention thing: The more credit cards you carry, the easier it is for someone to rack up a bunch of debt should you accidentally misplace your purse. In addition, if your wallet goes missing, it’s a colossal pain to get a temporary card to shop with while you wait out the arrival of new replacement cards. Instead, stock your wallet with just one major credit card, plus a backup—then leave the rest at home.

woman shopping

2. Ditch Your Gift Cards

We understand the logic: It’s always the time that you’re without your gift card that you find yourself passing by the exact store where you have prepaid cash to spend. Still, carrying gift cards in your wallet is not only a space-waster, there’s no way to recover the balance if your wallet gets lost. So, unless you know you’re going to the store where you have gift cards to blow, leave them behind. Another option: Pre-load the balance to your account. (Stores like Target and Amazon allow you to do this for free via their websites.)

cash in wallet

3. Always Carry A $20, Plus A Few Singles

We live in a debit card world, but cash is still king. Make it a rule to always tuck a $20 in a safe place where you know you won’t spend it unless you’re in a jam. Add to that a few singles, which are good to have on hand for smaller expenses or when there’s a minimum spend to pay with a card. As for any quarters and dimes you get back? Off-load them in a jar on your nightstand that you’ll eventually cash in so they don’t weigh you down.


4. Never Ever Carry Your Social Security Card Or Passport

It may seem like a no-brainer, but lose these, and it’s like you’re on the fast track to identity theft. Not to mention, it’s quite a hassle to replace them. (Good God, the sheer volume of paperwork.) Unless you’re traveling—or updating some important life documents where one of these items is required—best to leave both in a locked safe or filing cabinet at home.

receipts in wallet

5. Throw Away All Your Receipts (just Scan Them First)

Hello, paper clutter. The worst part about holding onto a zillion out-of-date receipts is that you can never find what you need for, say, a return, when you need it. Instead, use an app like Evernote to digitally scan and organize all your receipts on the go. (It takes literally two seconds to snap a pic, then file it away.)

baby photo

6. Carry A Baby Photo

According to a study out of the University of Hertfordshire in England, a pic of a cute baby is the one item that could compel a person to make every effort to return your wallet to you should you lose it. (In the study, 88 percent of wallets with a baby photo were returned.)

Rachel Bowie Headshot

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...