Money clips are a simple, minimalistic, and convenient way to carry your cash bills. They have been around for decades, but have never become extremely popular. Competing with the traditional folding wallet, clips were never the preferred way of storing bills in your pockets.
Throughout history, money clips were mostly seen as a minimalist accessory to formal attire. They were almost exclusively worn by men in suits who wanted to keep their profile slim and only fill their pockets with a couple of essential items. But nowadays, things are starting to change.
With the emergence of minimalist fashion in the 21st century, everyone started swapping their old bulky wallets for new, slimmer models. These new trendy wallets are characterized by their light and slim designs which often have no more than a few small slots for cards. And for people who still need to use cash besides their credit cards, money clips became the go-to method for carrying bills in these slim wallets.
If you’ve decided to make the same switch and buy a minimalist wallet, you might’ve encountered the same problem: your life requires the use of cash bills, but there is absolutely no space for them on any wallet you seem to like. So you started searching for an alternative, ended up with multiple suggestions to get a money clip, and started wondering – Are they any good? What type of money clip should you buy? And how do you actually use one?
How to use a money clip?
A money clip can be used as a standalone bill carrier in your pocket, or you can attach it to your phone case or your wallet. To properly use a money clip, you have to fold the bills at least once, tuck them in with the folded edge backward, and place them in your pocket with the unfolded end upwards so you can pick the bills up without removing the clip from your pocket.
How to properly use a money clip?
In some ways, money clips are very simple items and don’t need any special introduction. However, many people struggle to figure them out at first and ditch them after a couple of days because they may seem useless. In order to best utilize your money clip, you have to learn the following important tips.
Fold your bills neatly
This one seems too obvious to be put as a first rule. However, many people can’t realize that in order to secure your bills on a bent clip, you have to first fold them at least once.
Unfolded bills are very loose, and the clip won’t be able to hold them for too long. They would also stick out from the base of the clip a lot, making them even less secure.
You might be able to keep the bills unfolded on some clips, like those placed inside a wallet, but if you are using an outer or a standalone clip, I would suggest always keeping them folded.
Tuck the bills in – folded edges inwards
This is an important one – when placing the stack of cash on the clip, it’s best to tuck them with the folded edge backward, towards the base of the clip. This provides two big benefits:
- It keeps the clip stiffer, and thus more secure
- It allows you to remove a bill or two without removing the whole stack
Put it in your front pocket
Where you keep your money clip is completely up to you. You can put it in any pocket you like, but the front one is by far the best option.
First of all, the front pocket is much safer than the rear one as it’s less vulnerable to pickpocketers. It also provides greater comfort, as money clips are almost exclusively made of steel and are very uncomfortable to sit on.
And finally, keeping the bills in your front pocket is more convenient for usage, as putting them in the back would warrant removing the whole stack when you need to pay.
Practice picking individual bills
You can go on with your day without actually learning this trick, but if you do, it would make your life much easier.
Learning to pick individual bills from a money clip without removing the whole stack provides two main advantages:
- You won’t have to flash your money in front of people every time you are by the register
- You won’t have to go through the trouble of removing the clip out of your pocket, removing the stack of cash from the clip, and then tucking them back in and inside your pocket
What to expect from a money clip?
As convenient as they are, the opinions about money clips are harshly divided. Some people love them and have used them their whole life, while others have tried them once, ditched them after a day or two, and never went back.
The reason for this division is quite simple – there are a lot of upsides and drawbacks to using a money clip over a traditional wallet. Below are outlined some of the things you can expect when using a clip for your cash bills.
Advantages of money clips
The most important advantage of a money clip is that it’s very slim. On average, a money clip is three to five times slimmer than a traditional folding wallet. They don’t create a bulge in your pocket, weigh next to nothing, and don’t take up the whole space of your pockets as wallets do.
On a similar note, money clips (and minimalist wallets in general) help you cut down the unnecessary contents you carry in your wallet. Removing clutter is hard, but a crucial step in reshaping the way you carry yourself and reimagine your style. In reality, you probably don’t need half of the miscellaneous cards and receipts that make your wallet bulky, and once you remove them you will notice that a small cardholder and a slim money clip are all you need.
A big side benefit of a money clip is that it separates your cash from your cards, granted you use a standalone clip and not one attached to your wallet. This way, if you lose one of them, you don’t lose all of your money.
But to me, the biggest selling point of money clips that not many people notice is how hard they make things for thieves and pickpocketers. Removing a bent steel clip from a tight pocket, especially a front pocket, is nearly impossible without you noticing it.
Disadvantages of money clips
Despite all of the advantages of money clips, there are several reasons why clips never became as popular as the good old wallets.
Firstly, clips leave your cash very much exposed to everyone around you. Whenever you need to pay for something, you basically flash all of the money you have, making yourself an easy target for robberies. Many people have opted out of using clips simply for this reason alone, and, honestly, who can blame them?
Another major downside of a clip is that it has to have a specific amount of bills on it, usually no less than five. You can’t just carry one or two bills on it, as it’s going to be too loose.
At the end of the day, having two separate carriers, one for your cards and one for your cash, is not that great. The biggest reason why bulky wallets have stayed so popular for centuries is simple – they can hold everything you need in one place, at hand’s reach, and without using complicated techniques.
Types of money clips
If you are sold on the idea of a money clip, love how they are used, and believe they have more advantages than downsides for you, then the only thing left is to choose the right one.
Now, choosing a money clip is much easier than choosing a wallet because they are, well, simpler. They are, however, divided into four main categories, based on the way they are used. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need a special type of clip for each use. You can buy one and use it in one of the four ways:
- as a standalone clip
- attached to your wallet
- placed inside your wallet
- attached to your phone case
Standalone money clip
There are two main types of clips you can get right now, a firm or a fully bendable one. The main difference is in the materials they are made of. The firm, sturdy ones are usually made of hard metal, such as steel, while the ones that can bend completely backward are made of thinner steel or aluminum.
If you use the clip separate from your wallet, both of these types would offer some great advantages. The firm clip would keep your bills safer, while the bendable one would allow you to go through the bills without having to remove them.
Money clip attached to a wallet
If you want your clip to be attached to your wallet, there are two options: to get a separate one and attach it yourself, or to get a wallet that comes with such a feature. Many tactical wallets come with this feature or something similar.
These models usually have the clip attached to the front side of the wallet, reserving all of the space inside for your cards.
The convent thing here is that you both have the money tightly wrapped in your wallet, always knowing where they are, and you can pick a bill out without opening the wallet itself. The downside is that you will be showing all of your bills every time you get your wallet out of your pocket.
Money clip inside a wallet
Another option is to have the money clip put inside the wallet, instead of on the front (as long as you’re not keeping a crayon in your wallet). For this purpose, you’ll probably have to buy a wallet that comes with a built-in money clip, since it is hard to find a separate clip that would fit any kind of wallet.
With this option, you’ll have your cash secured inside the wallet, but they will likely take significant space and fit fewer cards inside.
Phonecase money clip
Attaching a money clip to your phone case is a fairly new thing. Smartphones, along with their silicone cases, contributed to a lot of new trends that combine two often separate gadgets into one.
If you like this idea, you would also probably have to order a new case that comes with a built-in clip, as it would be pretty hard to DIY this one. The idea might seem unconventional at first, but it would be great for those who don’t like to bring a wallet every time they go out.
Can you use a money clip for credit cards?
Even though this is not its main purpose, you can absolutely carry credit cards along with the bills on your money clip.
You can put your cards in between the bills, practically folding the bills around them. Or you can place them on top of the stack, face up, granted they don’t have an embossed surface. If you do place the cards on top, you must be careful not to scratch the chip which might damage it and render it useless.
One interesting advantage that money clips have over smart wallets is that the risk of demagnetizing your cards is eliminated. To be fair, the chances of that happening are slim even with wallets that have magnets as part of some of their features, but with money clips, that chance is reduced to zero.
How many bills can you fit on a money clip?
Ideally, you can fit anywhere between 5 and 15 bills on one money clip, depending on its width.
The minimum recommended amount of bills is usually around 5, since putting anything less than that would leave them too loose and make them fall out. Putting more than 15 bills, on the other hand, would bend the clip more than it is supposed to bend and possibly damage its shape or make it looser and less usable.
It can also be said that one of the purposes of money clips is to reduce to encourage you to reduce the amount of cash you carry on your person. See my guide on how much cash you should carry if you’re curious.
Best money clips
If you liked what you found out about money clips, or you’re simply curious to explore some models and see how they work in practice, check out my guide on the best money clips.