Card Case Wallet

Card Case or Wallet…

Laurie Dubchansky Personal Finance

Every Saturday, I enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal.  A few months ago, I found a fun article in their Style & Fashion section entitled “Am I Dating Myself by Carrying a Wallet Instead of a Card Case?” Written by Kevin Haynes, I loved the format of the article, a good Yes argument and an equally good No argument!

The argument for the Card Case is one of simplicity.  The card case is slim and reminds us all we really need to carry around is our phone, our ID, debit and credit card.  The writer even notes “business cards are unnecessary when you can share contact details via text.”  I still hand out business cards, but at a recent event, I exchanged contact information with the speaker by text message!  Once her contact got into my phone, then I had to remember her name or some other identifier to find her contact!  Carrying a card case is simple, it takes up far less space and costs less than half the price of a wallet.  The card case has no room for cash.  Are you ready for our cashless society? Using cards for everyday expenses has its benefits, no need for cash, better tracking of expenses, but does it really feel like spending when we use a debit or credit card?

The anti-Card Case argument was intriguing. Wallets are an accessory we may value.  If we use cash for expenses, we might be more aware of what we are spending.  It isn’t the most modern approach, but if we need to control spending, seeing money leave our wallet can help.  The article mentions “having a wallet is like having a gas gauge.” If you withdraw $200 from an ATM and expect it to last a week, and it doesn’t, you might have overspent. I occasionally consult clients who value segmenting their cash for a problem area, perhaps groceries and dining out.  They feel greater control having the right amount of cash for that category.

Whatever you choose to use, the card case or a wallet, try to become more aware of what you spend.  I especially promote this if you are in debt, not saving for your goals, or not aware of how your hard-earned funds are spent.  The easiest path to awareness is to track your spending with an app.  With expense tracker apps, they read the transactions in your checking and credit card accounts so that you are made aware of your spending during the month.  Once you set up a budget for each category, as you near that category, you will receive a text message.  If you prefer the cash approach, you can calculate how much cash should cover certain expenses for a week or two. Either way, spending awareness is the first step!