Cleaning Out: What to Keep and What to Toss
I tend not to make New Year's resolutions, but after trying to find some things relatively quickly recently, I decided I needed to keep a cleaner purse. So, here's New Year's resolution number one and some tips and tricks for you to keep your wallet or your purse a little bit cleaner in 2013 and beyond.
Keep vital numbers like Mom and Dad's phone numbers, Grandma and Grandpa's phone number, the doctor, etc. But don't forget about emergency and vital numbers for yourself. Your own information. Your drivers license does have your name and address, but keep a card with your name, your phone numbers, an emergency contact, your doctor's office, medical conditions, allergies, and blood type. It's also a good idea to have information for your children as well. In case of an emergency, you may forget some important details, so keep it handy.
If you've been carrying your social security card with you, take it out and put it in a safe location. It's the one thing that identity thieves need to get credit in your name and really trash your credit rating. Often times, all you need are the last four or the last six digits of your number when verifying your identity with the bank or cell provider, so commit it to memory and take the card out of your wallet.
Credit cards can be a wonderful thing, but if you have a lot of them, it's way too easy to lose track of your spending. I know. Just ask Mastercard. If you do have credit cards in your wallet or purse, take all of them out except one. It is a good idea, however to keep your debit card for every day purchases like groceries and gas. Things are expensive enough already, so don't charge those to a credit card. With interest it just makes those items more expensive, so keep one credit card and your debit card.
Get rid of those store credit cards. I got into a bit of a run in with one of these back in the day. The first year was fine. It was low interest and no fee. Then after the first year, the interest rate went up and a fee kicked in after the person who signed me up for the card told me that there was no fee and the interest rate wouldn't go up. Your credit rating can also take a hit if you lose track of your spending, or, like me, was told there wasn't going to be a fee so I wasn't aware of it and was socked with not only the annual fee, but also a late fee for not paying the annual fee I didn't know about.
It's a good idea to carry around a small amount of cash. If you're going to be eating at a restaurant, getting a haircut or a mani/pedi, it's a good idea to have some small bills on you. You can pay your bill with plastic, but tip with cash. A lot of places may not run the credit cards until the end of the week, so the generous tip you left, your service person won't see until a few days later. As a former waitress, I can tell you that having cash in hand at the end of the night is a huge help.
Get rid of everything else. Receipts, straw wrappers, half eaten crackers, black books, phone numbers, etc. Get rid of it all. Once you have your purse and your wallet cleaned out, the most important thing is to keep it that way.