December 5, 2012

My Minimalist Wallet

The minimalist wallet - less space, less stuff
Do men still carry leather wallets? The advent of virtual money, and now, the virtual wallet got me to thinking. Has the analog over-stuffed man wallet been, like so  many things, demoted to museum exhibit status?

Alas, the leather billfold seems safe for now as the digital variety has been slow to take over, despite the virtual wallet's ability to hold all the things men put in their pocket purses, except coins, mints, and pictures of the kids.

More than likely a wallet remains on the typical gift list, even for today's digital dads.

The George Castanza Wallet - not minimalist
If there is one on your list, save your money. I have a more practical, less expensive idea I came up with after several unhappy relationships with traditional wallets. If dad is a minimalist like I am, he will appreciate your spartan-minded thoughtfulness.

He will also avoid the "Costanza Wallet". Men's wallets, like George Costanza's on Seinfeld, quickly descend into out of control blobs of leather bound dude detritus. Buying a large-capacity wallet is simply asking for trouble.

I know this because when I was a kid my dad's wallet was the original pocket-busting wasteland. Many things went in, but little ever came out. The constantly growing collection, the size and shape of a squished double-decker burger with all the trimmings, would prematurely wear out any pocket into which it was thrust.

Apparently Pop did not pass on the gene for large wallet carrying. I have always seen wallets bulging at the seams as a case of hoarding on a small scale, and have avoided them. But I have had my own versions of wallet black holes.

My solution for this masculine mayhem was to dispose of the idea of a traditional wallet altogether. I emptied my last old wallet of the things that I actually 'needed', and realized it all amounted to very little. A wallet is a function of commerce after all, and I figured the size of your wallet should fluctuate with the amount of buying that one does.

Rubber bands, or wallets?
A guy not buying anything doesn't need a big wallet, or a regular wallet, or any wallet at all.

In keeping with my mission to reduce my possessions to the most minimal and practical as possible, I concluded that all I needed was a rubber band! There it was - my new 'just enough' wallet.

And even if you do some day get the main dude in your life a digital wallet, what comes along with the device? That's right, a plastic card. I guess you use it to buy things when you can't figure out how to use yet another newfangled gadget.

But where do you put the card when you no longer have a billfold? Or what if you have some cash on hand? Whatever will the man on the move do in this increasingly digital world?

Another minimalist solution, a money clip might work, but that could cost as much as a more traditional wallet. I suggest banishing the massive man wallet to the local museum collection, saving some money, and trying one of my essentially free minimalist wallets.

Note: I am currently using a rubber band from our junk drawer, or 'miscellaneous resource depository' as it is known around here. So far it has lasted many months of service.


  1. I'm very fond of the minimalist wallet, though I like the versions where the cell phone case has a few card slots. Only one thing to carry!

    1. That would work nicely. What is a cell phone? :)

  2. Anonymous12/05/2012

    My wallet is similar - the only difference is that the rubber band in question is a slightly thicker one from the grocery store, where it previously held the stems of the broccoli I purchased together.

    I have to admit, I love it. I keep my bills separate, so when I pull out my "wallet" for my bus pass, no one sees how much cash I'm carrying. My previous wallet was a folded piece of 8.5x11 paper that I found instructions for on Instructables.

    The biggest challenge for me, though, is that I'm female, and most women's clothing does not have functional pockets. Skirts and dresses are extremely problematic since they often have lines that are marred by even the most minimal of minimal wallets. For now, I'm requiring "functional pockets" in any new clothing I buy, and am enjoying my freedom from the giant "mom wallet"!

    1. Nice! A broccoli rubber band makes a heavy-duty wallet!

      I checked Instructables for paper wallets. Totally fun - I may try one.

      You are right - women's wallets are usually even larger than men's models. Congratulations on thinking differently, and freeing yourself from the chunky mom wallet.

      Linda has always loved lots of pockets in all her clothing. No wallet, no purse, but lots of pockets.

  3. I just happen to stumble across your website while browsing on pinterest. No such thing as coincidence I say! I love your content and look forward to reading your blog.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Jen,

      It was meant to be.

      Happy New Year to you, and welcome to our growing online community of frugally fantastic folks.

  4. Ah! A rubber band! I have been using a small binder clip, but I noticed it was scratching up my drivers license and debit card. I'm switching to the band! Thanks for the idea. I got rid of my large, trendy wallet and have downsized my purse drastically. Went from a large, designer bag to a slim, leather one from Goodwill. I feel so much lighter!!

    1. Katy,

      Nice solutions. Lighter is better. Enjoy!


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