Most of us are already tired of our bulky wallet and how uncomfortable it is. It’s never fun to have to take out ten receipts just to find the card you need beneath them. Besides that, bulky wallets aren’t just annoying, they can also cause problems with your health. The best way to make your wallet experience better is to try and slim it down.
How to slim down your wallet?
- switch to a minimalist wallet
- only carry the essentials
- cut down the number of cards to only the truly necessary ones
- carry fewer cash bills of larger denomination
- avoid putting receipts and unnecessary papers in your wallet
- use apps that help you digitalize business cards and payment cards
Is it necessary to slim down your wallet?
At first, you might think there is no reason to change anything about your bulky wallet that is filled with everything you could fit in it, but you couldn’t be more wrong about this.
Your wallet isn’t a purse. You should slim it down because wallets are designed to carry cards and cash bills. This might seem like basic knowledge, but I bet there isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t have at least two or three things in their wallet that don’t really belong there, and removing them can sometimes make a world of difference.
Most modern and minimalist wallets today are designed to allow only several critical items and practically force you to limit the amount of fluff you drag around. It is how wallets are meant to be used anyway, and the more you adhere to those recommendations, the better your overall experience will be.
Why you should carry fewer things in your wallet
There are many reasons that come to mind that would be beneficial if you slim down your wallet. Here are some of them.
A bulky wallet can cause short-term and long-term pain
This part is especially important for those of you who carry your wallet in your back pocket. If you are one of these people, you should know that carrying a wallet like this is one of the main reasons for back pain.
When you sit on a big wallet your spine and pelvis rotate to the side. This positioning isn’t healthy for your back and it will cause pain at first, but could result in more serious conditions such as piriformis syndrome and “fat wallet syndrome”.
There are a couple of things you could do to prevent this from happening:
- switching to a slim wallet
- using a money clip or cash band
- taking your wallet out when you sit
- switch to a front pocket wallet
- switch to a magnetic wallet
If you would like to read more details on this subject I suggest checking out the guide on why wearing the wallet in the back pocket causes back pain.
Slim wallets are more comfortable
Slimming down might seem hard at first, but trust me, it is well worth it. Your pockets will be lighter and it will be much more comfortable to sit with your wallet, or even move around.
You can easily access a slim wallet
Having a bulky wallet also means carrying a bunch of unnecessary things inside it. This means that every time you need to pay something or even just show your ID, you will need to scramble through receipts, papers, and the occasional business cards. In this situation, it will take a lot more time to get to the card you need than it would if you had a better-organized wallet.
Now, I just know that all of us value our time, so anything that can help us not waste it is a big plus. Slimming down your wallet is one of the main ways you can save time on a daily basis.
Tourists are always the main target for pickpockets, and having a bulky traditional wallet will only make it more noticeable for those who would like to take it.
Thin minimalist wallets are hardly visible in your pockets, so they are a good alternative for tourists in this situation.
Another suggestion here would be to carry fewer cash bills if possible so that your wallet doesn’t stick out too much when you pay for something.
Slim wallets fit everywhere
Finally, you won’t have to worry about where you will place your wallet and if it would fit there. A slim wallet that is only filled with the necessities would have no trouble fitting into any space you choose for it.
Slim wallets last longer
If your wallet is full of clutter, chances are, it will get damaged sooner, and you will have to replace it sooner. The extra unnecessary items you carry in your wallet stretch its insides and can cause tears.
What you should and shouldn’t carry in your wallet
Most of us carry a lot of things in our wallets that shouldn’t be there, so I feel like we need to redefine what actually should go inside a typical wallet.
One thing to consider here is that different wallets have different designs. This means that one could be capable of separately holding an ID card while another could not. The best way to properly use your wallet is by organizing the things you carry in it, respectively to its design.
Necessary things to keep in your wallet
These are the things that should always have a place in your wallet.
This is one of the main items that wallets are built for. Even so, you shouldn’t go around carrying all the cards you can inside your wallet. For starters, you should carry debit/credit cards for payments (usually three at the most), a driver’s license, and an ID card. These are the most important cards to have inside your wallet.
Apart from these cards, you should really rethink the rest, and only keep some that you know you will need to use regularly.
I for one had an expired gym membership card that should have probably stayed at home, but I carried it in my wallet for months. When I finally got rid of it, it felt almost like I’ve lost weight.
Cash is the main reason that wallets get bulky, but you can’t deny the fact that it is very useful. In my opinion, having the appropriate amount of cash bills in your wallet can be a lifesaver. Still, there’s rarely a need for tons of cash, and several bills of larger denominations would suffice for most cays, like maybe a single $100 bill and a couple of $20 bills.
If your wallet is designed to hold something extra, apart from cash and cards, then go for it and place it inside. There are certain minimalist wallets that have a coin compartment or a special SIM compartment. There are some that come with a multitool and similar items. So depending on the design, you could fit a couple of more things in a basic minimalist wallet without making it bulky.
Things to avoid putting in your wallet
There are some things that only take up space in your wallet and have no use being there.
I used to be one of those people that have a whole pack of receipts in their wallets. Receipts are just like cash bills – if you place enough of them inside your wallet, it will get unmanageable big. As a solution to this problem, I suggest taking a picture of your receipt and then throwing it away.
Never keep your keys inside your wallet. It might be tempting, but placing them here will only cause damage to it. Not only that, but if you don’t want a potential thief to have your wallet, spare house key, and ID that has your home address, I would suggest placing your keys elsewhere.
Your wallet is no place for a passport unless it has a specifically designed section to hold it. If you are really keen on keeping your passport here, you should order a special wallet just for traveling.
On that note, I don’t know how safe it is to keep your passport in your wallet, since your wallet is the main target for theft as a tourist. If the only thing that is stolen is money, you can earn it back, but you don’t want to lose the only item that can get you back home.
I know you can’t avoid spare change if you use cash, but I don’t think it is wise to keep it in your wallet unless it has a separate change pocket. Coins can cause damage to your wallet, especially if you own a leather one.
I would suggest either buying a separate money pouch for coins or just making a habit of only keeping some change that you got that day in your wallet and then transferring it to another place as soon as you can.
If you find yourself constantly having to deal with coins and small change, see my guide on the best wallets for coins.
Different ways to slim down your wallet
There are a couple of ways you can go about slimming down your wallet.
Declutter your wallet regularly
Decluttering your wallet is a big step at first, but ideally, it should become a routine that you perform occasionally. Clutter has a way of finding its way in through the back door after several weeks, which is why I recommend adding a quick decluttering step as part of your wallet cleaning routine.
Convert to a minimalist wallet
As time goes by, more and more people seem to choose minimalist wallets over traditional ones. A minimalist wallet is easy to use, it feels light in your pocket, can carry the essentials, and truly shows you a more simplistic way of living.
If you want to slim down and truly declutter your wallet, then my first suggestion would be to get a minimalist one. They practically leave you no other choice.
There are so many different options on the market that there is no way you won’t find one that you like. You have the freedom to choose the type of material, color, design, and even tactical features that your new minimalist wallet will have, which makes this a great new experience and a way to slim down your wallet.
Can a minimalist wallet carry everything you need?
Minimalist wallets are made to carry the essentials, meaning there is enough room for your cards and cash bills. Some designs feature different pockets and can carry more than this, yet still remain minimalistic.
At first, you might think that there is no way you can go about your day with a tiny wallet that can only hold this much. This is far from the truth – most minimalist wallet owners claim that making this switch was the best decision they ever made. Not only did they end up with lighter pockets, but using this type of wallet was also much easier and more practical than their old bulky one.
Will a minimalist wallet help you carry fewer things?
A minimalist wallet’s primary purpose is to encourage you to carry fewer things. It will practically force you to carry only the essential things you need daily, without taking up too much of your space.
Minimalist wallets vs traditional wallets
These are some of the things you need to know to fully understand the difference between minimalist wallets and traditional wallets.
Minimalist wallets are smaller than traditional wallets. While most leather minimalist wallets are just a smaller version with fewer pockets, compared to their traditional leather predecessor, you can find some metal wallets that are as thin as 0.2 in / 0.5 cm.
Pockets are another thing that minimalist wallets have less of. They are built to hold the essentials and help you move towards a minimalistic lifestyle, so it makes sense that they won’t have a dozen pockets that would contradict this purpose.
Even so, you could find some that have a lot of pockets but are still smaller than a traditional wallet, and you can find some minimalist wallets that can handle a lot of cards and cash bills, but still have a smart design that allows them to stay thin.
This is one of the coolest things that a minimalist wallet brings to the table. Most traditional wallets don’t have any extra tactical features, apart from maybe a separate ID card window. Compared to them, minimalist wallets offer a wide range of different tactical features that could prove to be useful on a daily basis. One of the best examples here are the Dango multitools which come with a handful of functions.
Carry less cash
Another good way to slim down your wallet would be to cut down on the number of cash bills you carry. Basically, you don’t need a whole stack of cash bills in your wallet, since most of them won’t even be useful. Try to carry the appropriate amount of cash bills for your wallet and just enough as you need. Even if you end up needing more money than you have on you, you always have your cards with you to pay.
See my guide on how much cash you should carry in your wallet for the exact details and reasoning.
Carry fewer cards
As mentioned above, it would be best to keep your payment cards, your ID card, and your driver’s license in your wallet. There is really no need to keep coupons and some unnecessary business cards in there, it just takes up space.
Avoid receipts and other unnecessary paper
Now, this might take a little bit of getting used to, but try not to store random papers in your wallet. I do this unconsciously and always end up with a dozen receipts I have to scramble through, in order to find the card I need.
Digitalize some of your cards
You can minimize the number of cards you carry by digitalizing some of them. You can even make payment via phone if you really don’t want to bring your card when you go out. Business cards are another thing that can be digitalized, which is amazing news for businesspeople and entrepreneurs that would otherwise need to carry a handful of them.
Apps that can help you slim down your wallet
There are some apps that can help you slim down your wallet.
Expensify for receipts
You can get rid of the inconvenience of carrying receipts by downloading this app. It is very easy to use, you just take a picture of the receipt and keep it on the app instead of keeping it in your wallet. Now you won’t have to keep a receipt in your pocket for a week, just to write it off as a business expense.
LastPass for saving passwords
This is a sort of password manager which I know will come in handy for people who keep a paper filled with a bunch of passwords that they don’t want to forget.
You can use apps like Paypal, Venmo, Cash App, etc to solve one of the main problems that make it necessary to carry cash – splitting the bill. Next time you go out with your friends, if you don’t want to carry that many cash bills with you, you should have one of these apps to easily split the check.
Remember that I said that you need to cut down on the number of business cards you carry in your wallet? Well, BizzConnect is a great way to do it. This app will help you scan and keep all the business cards you need, so you won’t have to keep them in your pockets. The app is available for iPhone and Android.
If you are collecting coupons and find that they are cluttering your wallet, I would suggest using Honey. They have apps and browser extensions that make earning discounts easy and they automatically apply your discount codes when you are shopping.