Kill your wallet

Great tips for keeping your wallet clean of junk. For example, take cellphone photos of those special "reward cards" you use to get discounts at the store, so you don't need to take them with you. [mnml]


  1. Just give them your phone number when you check out. I have yet to find a rewards club that won’t work with a phone number.

  2. A good way to go for slim is to cut down on the wallet itself. I have a roll of Tyvek, and every six months to a year I make a new wallet following this plan:

    I also put in a small window out of a sheet of plastic so that I can see my driver’s license. I love slim wallets and don’t ever want to go back to a fat one.

  3. Being poor and uninsured and having no credit works, too. And you don’t have to carry that bulky cell phone!

    1. Generally the store scans the barcode on those. I don’t know if a cell phone picture is accurate enough to get a scan, but maybe (I haven’t tried)

  4. Nobody carries wallets anymore. I mean, they went out with powdered wigs. Yeah, see here’s what you need. Just a couple of cards and your bankroll. See, keep the big bills on the outside.

  5. It takes more effort to do the photo than to carry the cards. Wallets actually work pretty well.

  6. Interesting idea, except many of my reward cards use magnetic strips, and I suppose my coffee card could be updated with a stamp to the cellphone screen?

  7. I’ve been using this wallet for five years which is slimmer than everything described so far:

    I was not induced to write this by the company; I’m just a satisfied customer. Only problem is the card slots are a bit too roomy so cards can slide out if you’re not careful. Small price to pay for not feeling lopsided when sitting down.

  8. I use a butterfly clip. Buss pass, debit, credit, idea, health care and usually a bill, wedged inside a butterfly clip with the arms turned down.

  9. When I designed the POS system for my store I also made it so that a customer doesn’t need to carry anything. Their purchases are automatically added and when they meet the reward level, the clerk is instructed to ask the customer if they want to use their discount.

    The biggest problem is that customers may have a home phone, work phone or cell phone and don’t remember which they used to sign up. My customer search algorithm is kind of complex, but usually can locate the proper customer record with just a last name and phone.

    I think stores really don’t want you to use their rewards/discount cards, just like companies don’t want you to use rebates. If they make it harder for a customer to use, the merchant/company makes a bigger profit and are held blameless by the consumer.

    1. When I designed the POS system for my store

      I found this confession puzzling until I remembered that POS is also an acronym for point of sale.

      1. Heck i work in the food industry and I still keep having to remind myself it means Point of Sale and not how the damn thing works ;)

    2. Perhaps not in your store, but most chain retailers *do* want their customers to use their membership cards: customer loyalty via discounts aside, they’re a marketing goldmine, not to mention that for the store’s inventory analysis and forecasting it’s a boon. Consumer brands pay big money to know geography, purchase frequencies, and related product category purchases of households.

  10. I’ve got a near thirty year old wallet that’s so big you can stuff an airplane ticket into it without folding it, I carry it upright in my breast pocket.

    Sir, my wallet is my office.

  11. If you have a smartphone, there’s a number of apps that let you input your reward card numbers and display a barcode on the screen. Belt scanners (like at the supermarket) don’t read them, but hand scanners normally do.

    1. This, and Church’s comment are the way to go. I’ve been using “Key Ring” (free Android app) for awhile now, and couldn’t be happier.

      A tip for getting more scanners to work with the on-screen barcode: the lower your screen brightness is, the better it tends to work. Seems sort of counter-intuitive, but it works.

      I just wish there was some way to do the same thing with mag-stripe cards. I’m still carrying around a couple of those that I’d rather not.

  12. Please don’t use photos of your rewards cards. It’s a douchey move. You are costing the cashier and people behind you valuable time just for that 1/8″ space in your pocket. I just don’t see trading time for pocket space as a good deal.

    Just One Club Card works well.

  13. Yeah, not sure a photo would cut it (it might, though.)

    I use CardStar which is a free app for most of the smartphone platforms. You input the card number once and it generates a properly formatted, high contrast barcode. (Obviously, it doesn’t work with magnetic cards.) The app acts a virtual “keychain bundle” for all your optical cards.

    I have to admit, I was a little surprised the first time I used it and it actually worked. (The cashier wasn’t, though, so mine wasn’t the first one she’s seen.)

    1. +1 on cardstar. in fact, just released for blackberry and android, but not as pretty as their sweet iphone version

  14. Women’s clothing doesn’t have many(usually any) pockets, so a place for coins is necessary in women’s wallets. Otherwise, you have to pull out a coin purse as well when you engage in a financial transaction. And that coin section? Significantly increases the size of the wallet.

    1. ? I just pull it out while I’m waiting in line, if I need to.

      Otherwise, I stuff coins in my pockets and empty them out at the end of the day; I’m big on debit and credit, so I only do one or two cash transactions a day anyway.

      I have a men’s wallet; there isn’t any place for bills, just a bill clip on the exterior. I usually just keep a twenty or the equivalent tucked in one of the card pockets and that gets me through a week. Has served me well.

      1. re coins: seriously, they’re such a pain. if there’s a jar at the store, (safeways esp. has a regular charity collection), they go in that. else there’s always ppl collecting money or homeless ppl.

        1. Oh yeah. I keep quarters and loonies because they’re handy for small purchases and tips, but I tend to dump dimes, pennies, etc. in the store tip jar or charity box because they just accumulate at home anyway.

          Otherwise, it’s still my money. Just in coin form.

  15. I don’t have a wallet any more. I took the important cards I need (license, Debt, insurance, work acces) drilled a hole through the corner and put a threaded grommet through it. The cards swivel for making payments or show id.

  16. I think the photo thing is just so you have your actual ID number or whatever, and don’t have to go through the rigmarole of figuring out which phone number your name is under and whatnot.

  17. Uh, the advice given doesn’t cover those of us who need to carry a squirrel permit. Not to mention health cards for our kids, or our company credit card, or our USB flash drive (Micro Vault Tiny), or our lunch money card, or…

  18. A better option than taking a picture of your membership club cards is to use an app like KeyRing for Android. It scans the barcode of your card for you and has a database of popular discount cards (like CVS, Walgreens, popular gyms, etc) along with logos and barcode formatting. You scan the barcode and select the card type and add it to your database.

  19. I use a binderclip to contain my cash, 2-3 cards, and occasional post it notes. The cash is on the outside as ablative armor.

    For rewards cards I type in my phone number… or rather a phone number that was my wife’s ten years ago, then apparently was Noreen Kogan’s (who reregistered it at Safeway perhaps causing some Safeway staff to wonder why they could never remember my name), and perhaps yet another person today.

    I have often mused if choicepoint, or whoever, is at all confused by this arrangement or if their system sees right through it (the credit/debit purchases in theory allow them to figure it all out).

  20. I have used Card Star but it does not work as intended at many of the stores I frequent (ie Staples). I am sure the technology on both ends will catch up, and JustOneClubCard is a good substitute for the time being.

    Slimmy is a premium slim wallet for people who love leather and keeping it simple.

  21. I’ve tried scanning images of cards with barcodes (either scans of the cards or photos of them), and they don’t work on a large number of barcode scanners — it depends on whether the scanner uses IR or laser.

    Personally, I did away with a wallet last year and switched to a money clip. Best thing I ever did.

  22. I keep my wallet clean when it become heavy with useless or less important bills, receipts and visiting cards. But, for sometimes, these papers help me to note down some words on them. :)

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