How to Pare Down Your Wallet (and Keep It That Way)

The contents of a daily carry wallet should include the following: At least $40 in cash, identification, one debit card, one credit card, health insurance info and two miscellaneous items like library and business cards. That’s all, folks. Too many men (and women) have overstuffed wallets bulging with expired coupons and loyalty cards from video stores that closed in the 2000s.

Giant wallets are not only unsightly, they can also be unhealthy. The venerable New England Journal of Medicine reported that a weighty wallet can be a literal pain in the ass. (A back pocket wallet can press on the piriformis muscle, triggering problems with the sciatic nerve, the journal wrote.) Luckily, one of the advantages of the digital age is that we no longer need to carry everything with us all the time. Follow our steps for shedding wallet weight.

Get a Wallet You’re Excited About
We at Pulse aren’t the only members of wallet watchers. A whole host of manufacturers are producing slim holders, folders and even over-the shoulders. (Although you have to have a rare breed of confidence to rock the latter.) Finding a wallet that’s exciting to you is the first step to streamlining. The desire to carry a small, appealing wallet is an incentive not to overfill. is a Brooklyn-based design company that produces trim wallets for between $15 and $45.

The second step is digitizing. We suggest readers go through the current contents of their wallets and then use an app like Keeper (available at iTunes) to replace bulky cards and other items. As a bonus, many of these apps will store all those convoluted user names and passwords too.

Cut Your Losses
An inherent part of the slim wallet lifestyle is occasionally not having something we need. Wallet watchers must accept this in advance. We must recognize that someday we will spontaneously buy a canoe at Dick’s Sporting Goods and be unable redeem 90 precious Dick’s Points. The world is like that. However, we must remind ourselves that while 90 Dick’s Points are great, their utility is dwarfed by the joys of having light pockets 24/7.

The Auxiliary Wallet
Living the slim wallet lifestyle doesn’t automatically mean paying $13 for a pear at the supermarket because the loyalty cards are gone. First of all, most places will swipe a card upon request, but we also keep an auxiliary wallet in the car to hold things we need regularly, but sporadically. This strategy keeps us equipped, but also light on our feet during day-to-day maneuvers.