How to Reduce the Contents of Your Wallet


Overstuffed Wallet

If you want to start carrying a minimalist wallet, such as a money clip cardholder wallet, you might need to work on reducing the contents of your wallet first. We’re going to give you five tips on how to reduce the contents of your wallet: Remove, Memorize, Digitize, Swap, and Rotate.

You’ll find that you probably don’t need to carry as many bills or physical cards as you do now. You can even remove insurance cards and IDs from your wallet without inconveniencing anyone. It might take a couple of hours to reduce your wallet’s contents permanently, but there are free tools available to help you, and once you’re done, you’ll only need to update when you receive a new card.


Removing unneeded content is the easiest one. Empty your wallet. Count your bills. Browse through all of your cards, notes, and receipts. If you have pictures, take them out as well.

Bills. If you’re a bill carrier, stop! Pay by credit card. Pay electronically! You only need to carry a few bills at a time to give tips or visit the vending machine. Keep a stack of small bills at home and replenish your wallet as you need to. Pay everything else with your credit card and earn cash back or points for gift cards. Bills are the least rewarding, most inconvenient payment system to carry.

Bank and Credit Cards. How many bank cards do you carry? You probably only need two at the most. Carry your primary card (maybe your debit card or a card that rewards you with points for using it) and a secondary card in case there’s a problem with the primary. If you’re rotating cards to balance accounts, you need to combine everything onto one low-interest card and cancel the rest.

Store and Membership Cards. Every store, gym, and library system rewards or requires a card system. But when was the last time you visited those stores? Do you actually use the library on a regular basis? Would you remember how to use the gym’s equipment if you went back? If your habits have changed and you don’t visit a store or location, you don’t need to carry their card. Even if you do go to a store on occasion, are the savings from the card worth carrying it around all the time? We’re guessing not.

Business cards. Do you need to have that phone number in your wallet? Leave the card in your desk drawer and call them when you get home. Enter their contact information in your phone. A business card is not a keepsake for Pete’s sake!

Receipts. Do you really need a receipt for everything you buy? Skip the receipt or ask the store to email it to you. If they don’t have an email option, take a picture of it with your phone and then throw it away. You’ll still have the proof of purchase if you need to return something, and if you need it for your financial records, all of your receipts will be together in one place without any physical papers.

Pictures. You know you can transfer pictures to your phone, right? Take a picture of the photo and get it out of your wallet. You’ll still have them on you anytime you want to look at them.


Phone number. Most store and membership cards merely store your phone number. When you scan the card, it reads your phone number and pulls up any other pertinent account information. Ask the businesses to update your information with your current phone number, or update the information yourself on the companies’ websites. Then tell the cashier or membership clerk your phone number to gain access or take advantage of savings. All of those cards that ID you with your phone number are now obsolete!

Account number. You can do the same thing by memorizing your account numbers. Memorize your library card number, your driver’s license number, and car insurance policy numbers. Be ready to give the information when asked, and the interested parties can verify your information without a physical card.


If you have too many cards that you use too often to shed or memorize them, convert them into digital records. You can also change the way you pay with electronic payment methods.

Photo Scans. Does your membership card have a barcode on the back? All the cashier or clerk needs is that barcode to access or verify your account. Use your phone to take a picture of the barcode. Save the picture in a folder with all of your other membership card pictures. When the clerk asks for your loyalty or membership card, pull up the picture and have them scan it from your phone. You’ll still have the “card” at your fingertips but with zero bulk.

You could even combine all of your store and membership barcodes onto one card. Just take a picture of all your barcodes, arrange the photos in a column in Word, label the images by store name, and then print the new barcode paper on cardstock. Laminate it for better durability.

Tip: If you’re looking for an app to organize your digital barcodes better, try Evernote. It’s free and easy to use. You can access and edit Evernote from your computer, phone, or tablet.

Picture Verification. If you have a card that does not have a barcode but a simple table of information, such as a car or health insurance card, take a picture of the front of the card and reduce your wallet’s contents. The doctor’s office or police officer can use the image to look up and verify your account status. If the policy number hasn’t changed, don’t even worry about updating the image. None of the necessary information has changed. Evernote is an easy tool for organizing your pictures and notes.

Digital Payment. In some cases, you don’t need to use bills or physical cards to pay someone. Pay them electronically! Mobile payment methods are a growing trend with more and more stores adopting compatible kiosks. As we would expect, Google is leading the way with Google Pay. If you see a store card reader that features a mobile payment option, you can hold your phone over the reader and automatically transfer funds for the entirety of the balance. Most restaurant and store chains already accept mobile payment. Carry a physical credit card for those that don’t yet.

If you’re paying a person directly, you can either use Google Pay or PayPal on your phone. With PayPal’s Bump feature, you can enter the amount that you want to pay them, touch their phone to yours, and the balance will transfer to their account.

We like mobile payment methods because they are a more secure method of payment than physical cards or cash. Cash and cards can be stolen, and cards can be illegally scanned with RFID readers. Whereas someone might take your phone, they can’t access your mobile funds unless they also know your password.


Here’s a low-tech solution for minimizing your wallet. All you need to do is keep two wallets. One wallet is your slim version; the other your bulkier counterpart perhaps a credit card wallet?. When you’re going to work or when you know you won’t need many cards, take your slim version. Slide it in your front pocket, and you’re ready to go. If you’re going to be running a lot of errands, take the essentials out of your slim wallet and transfer them to the larger version.

This still requires having a large wallet for shopping excursions, but if you’re not comfortable using some of the more technological solutions, this is a way to reduce the bulk of your wallet for everyday use.


Similar to swapping, this method of reducing your wallet’s contents doesn’t require you to have two different wallets but does require careful planning. You’ll keep all of your cards at home so that you carry a slim wallet. Then, when you’re planning to go somewhere specific, such as for your once a year eye exam or to the department store you rarely visit, remember to add that card to your wallet before you go.

We wouldn’t want to rely on this method too much as it would be easy to forget the card you need. If you can train yourself to be intentional about the contents of your wallet, you’ll have the luxury of only carrying what you need without having to worry about the different apps that are available.


Remove, Memorize, Digitize, Swap, Rotate. Some of these methods for reducing your wallet’s contents are more technological than others. If you’re a traditionalist who doesn’t get into smartphone apps, concentrate on removing what you don’t need and consider adopting a two-wallet method or being intentional about what goes into your wallet for the day’s activities. You can always memorize your phone number instead of carrying the physical cards with you.

If you’re more tech-savvy, you should have no problem minimizing the contents of your wallet via the use of apps like Evernote, Google Pay, and PayPal. You can always take photos of receipts, policy cards, and membership barcodes.

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