I recently made a quick trip to the grocery store before I headed into work. I only needed one item, knew exactly where it was, and I knew I had a coupon for it. As I’m walking to the register with my single item, feeling victorious about the “quickest trip to Meijer” personal record I had just set, I start digging for my coupon. Months ago I made myself downsize to a smaller purse, because when you’re shoulder starts hurting it’s generally not a good sign. As someone who was never even a girl scout, I like to think I’m as prepared as one, so certain items have to be with me at all times. Sometimes digging through this downsized, pseudo emergency, survival kit of a purse can be a little challenging if I can’t find what I’m looking for because everything is so neatly packed together. I finally stopped before I reached the register, physically pulling my wallet out of my purse to look for this coupon. I’m unzipping compartments, shuffling receipts, moving cards until, aha! I find the stack of folded up coupons. I pay for my small purchase, and being one of those who does not like to take my time to put everyone back in my purse before exiting the register line, I stuff everything into my wallet and go.
When I later returned to my wallet to reorganize, I realized I had a lot of unnecessary stuff in it. Receipts that were so old the print was faded, used gift cards, membership cards, and shopping lists that I forgot I made. I realized that much like the table at home that accumulates mail containing a lot of personal information, my purse could be doing the same thing because it’s with me constantly! Sometimes it’s like carrying around that junk drawer at home that you just shove things in when you don’t know what else to do with them. This could be a potential danger if your purse or wallet is ever stolen. Here are three things you should take out of your purse or wallet immediately:
- Your Social Security card
There are only a few times when you absolutely need your Social Security card. If you’re starting a new job, opening a new account or applying for some kinds of government benefits, bring the original card. But once you’re finished, take it out and put it in a safe place!
This is the easiest way to accumulate paper in your wallet. You never know when you might need them, so you stick them in your wallet or purse and before you know it you’ve got a novel-sized stack of transactions. If anyone were to get ahold of your belongings, these could be enough for someone to start building a profile of your purchases, while using the last four numbers of your card and your ID to fish for more information.
- Tons of credit cards
Your favorite stores likely offer their own cards with incentives, points and rewards and if you’re a frequent shopper these cards are likely to add up. On top of those, you may have a couple cards for gas, emergencies or work related purchases. Before long, you have a wallet full of cards, which if stolen, have to be canceled individually. If you forget one, you could have hundreds or thousands of dollars in purchases tacked on to them. It’s best to whittle your collection down to just the cards you use regularly. Keep record of all of them, and put the ones you don’t use as often in a safe place.
I’m taking my own advice and going to do a detailed thinning of my wallet and purse. These days, I’m lucky to remember what day it is, let alone what cards to cancel should my purse ever be stolen. Best to do it while I’m thinking about it. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading!