Lighten up on that fat wallet

Lighten your load with a streamlined wallet that's tough to overstuff

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Unstuff your wallet

Unstuff your wallet (Bill Hogan/Tribune photo illustration / September 10, 2012)

For most of us, our money doesn't take up much space. And yet our wallets are heavy, bulging monsters that consume huge chunks of our pocket and purse real estate.

I once set up a scale on a busy shopping street and weighed women's purses. Want to guess the chief contributor to those heavy loads we carry around? Yup, wallets — big as bricks and stuffed to overflowing with lots more than mere money.

Money, in fact, was the least of it. When women opened their wallets to my snoopy scrutiny I found dozens of things that could have, should have, been left at home.

There were receipts, phone bills, photos, coupons, old dry-cleaning tickets, checkbooks, to-do lists, clippings, recipes, pages torn from magazines, letters, printouts and, in many cases, a stack of credit cards as thick as a deck of cards.

The fact is that we'll jam our wallets with everything that fits and more. That's the problem, and it suggests a solution: a smaller wallet, one that will hold the necessities but simply isn't big enough to become a burden.

I know it isn't easy to ruthlessly pare down the contents of your wallet, but if I can do it, anyone can. I went from a wallet the size of a small paperback book to a two-pocket business card holder that I use for credit cards and currency. For change I've got a skinny coin purse with a small capacity so I don't get weighed down with pennies.

My system might not work for you, but to help you trim down I went shopping and rounded up a half-dozen options that can lighten your load. Check them out here.

shopellen@tribune.com

 

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