Spring Cleaning Your Wallet
Apr 04, 2014 05:45PM
By Jo Anne Shumard, J.D.
Before taking on the task of cleaning out the closets or digging through your dingy garage, spring cleaning your wallet is a fast way to help protect your identity, save you money and prevent aggravation down the road.
It is a good idea to have a designated space for your wallet either in your home or in your purse. Ladies, take all the things in your purse that belong in a wallet and put them in a pile. The items left over need to be sorted, trashed or organized. For under $10, there are organizers that surround the inside of your purse with compartments for everything and a light. These are worth considering if you carry much more than a wallet in your purse.
Review how many credit cards are you carrying. For purposes of buying gas, it may make sense to carry one credit card. However, if you are subject to temptation and can get away without carrying one that is even better. If you’re traveling across the country, this may be cause to carry two. The point is to avoid carrying around temptation that could facilitate impulse purchases. If you must carry a credit card, choose the one with the lowest interest rate and carry that for gas purchases only. Take the others out, make a list of them, their account numbers and contact information. Keep the list separate from the cards, and put it and the cards in a safe place. It will prevent you from making impulse purchases when you don’t have enough cash. If there’s no cash, there’s no purchase.
Debit cards can be risky. If someone gains access to your card, and/or password, they can drain your account. The person most likely to drain your account is you! Don’t tempt yourself. For example, when you overdraw on a debit card, a $5 fast food sub can turn into a $40 charge with overdraft fees.
Do not carry more cash than your budget allows you to spend on a daily basis. If you spend less than your daily allowance, put the balance in a jar at home and periodically add it to your savings account. Every day, replenish the daily cash you are budgeted in your wallet. It only takes a minute. If you don’t, a single purchase can eat up your budget before you’ve purchased groceries for the week.
Do you have contact information in case of emergency? Accidents happen. Wallets also get lost, and sometimes returned. Make it easy to be contacted personally or a loved one to be called in case of emergency.
Once your wallet is organized, make a copy of everything in it and keep it in an envelope labeled “wallet contents.” Keep it in a safe place. If you lose your wallet, you will be glad you did. Everything from your voter’s registration, library card, and the other little items you would never remember were in there, will be easier to replace.
If the process of spring cleaning your wallet makes your realize your finances are in disarray, you are not alone. Millions of Americans have their credit cards maxed out with creditors calling them daily. The good news is it's springtime—a time of hope and a fresh start. Believe it or not, tax time may help folks with a fresh start by wisely using a tax refund. Use it to find an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise the options in and outside of bankruptcy. Take action early to get answers and provide your wallet the financial CPR it needs.
Jo Anne Shumard is an author, consumer advocate and experienced bankruptcy attorney who served with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida as both Legal Advisor and Judicial Law Clerk. In her book, Is Your ‘Wallet Killing You? Financial CPR, she provides a guide through financial CPR to a fresh start. Shumard is currently available by appointment in Satellite Beach. For more information call 407-927-0767 or RSVP the free April 26 Financial CPR Seminar by emailing [email protected]