Minimalist Wallets

mgarbowski

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I've been using standard bifolds my whole life. I'm intrigued by the new minimalist wallets designed mostly to handle cards, but wonder how to address other things that still need to be carried. If you use one of these wallets, I'd be curious how you solve for:
  • Cash. I almost never pay cash any more and can go months without visiting an ATM, but still carry a decent amount for the times it is unavoidable, including both full purchases and occasional small tips for which it is always handy to have some 1s and 5s ready. Most of these wallets seem to use a band or clip, with the cash often outside the actual wallet. I don't love the idea of flashing cash every time I take out the wallet, and it seems harder to access specific bills compared to the ability to select them from a bifold.
  • Drivers license and other non-financial cards - health insurance, work ID, paper affinity cards from the local place that still uses a hole punch to track purchases for free coffee, etc. Not everything can go in a smartphone wallet and frankly if I'm unconscious I want emergency or hospital personnel to be able to determine who I am and my insurance etc., without dealing with phone security. Generally, though most of these are the same size as credit cards they seem ill-suited for the wallet slots in the newer model wallets. Or maybe I'm wrong.
  • Business cards, I still need them, though mostly just for occasional situations. I think I have a solution of just keeping a stash in my primary and backup shoulder bags and then I'm unlikely to be anywhere I need them without some on hand. This is pretty much what I do already though I still keep a couple in my wallet.
  • RFID blocker - good idea. But my work ID uses -something something magic short distance tech - to open locked doors and allow access to the elevator bank. I'm not going to wear a lanyard and if my wallet blocks the "waves hands whatever" it's more trouble than it is worth to dig that card out several times every day instead of just removing the entire wallet and tapping the security reader touchpoint.
It might be I'm just not a good use case for these wallets, but I don't want to reject them out of hand. I also realize there are dozens of companies making these with all sorts of variations, some of which might address some of these issues better or worse than others, but I'm interested in both specific and general solutions.

As an aside, it also occurs to me that this is a variation on the 80-20 rule in that these wallets seem perfectly designed to handle the handful of cards that represent 80-90% of the instances I need to retrieve something from a wallet while the larger number of items I rarely need but have to have handy for rare situations cause all the complications.

Thanks!
 

Shwafta

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Personally I don't use a wallet of any sort, I just have one of those wallet-phone cases. Has a zipper area for coins, has a pocket for bills, and then has two rows for cards. (6 or so plus ID slot), I don't. find myself ever needing more than that.
I also keep other things of importance in the pouch with the coins. Seems to work well for me and doesn't require a second wallet at all
 
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engine46

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I like the Nomatic front pocket wallet

It basically creates four separate “sections” so you can separate cards by categories and instead of a band or clip, there’s a small pouch for cash. Storing cash does require it to be folded pretty tight but since you’re not using it often it’s not a big deal.
 
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joe

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  • Cash. It sounds like I carry less cash than you, but whatever ones (and often fives) I happen to have I carry in a front pocket, with the bigger bills folded into the wallet. I rarely have more than 3-4 bills though.
  • Drivers license and other non-financial cards. I think NYC (probably any big city) makes minimal wallets that much tougher due to transit cards, building IDs, etc. I ditched most affinity cards, but things still get "un-minimal" pretty quickly. Best advice is to be honest about what you really need vs what you carry because you have a place to put it.
  • Business cards. I no longer need them, but I used to have a stash in my desk and a case in my shoulder bag, and would have them any time I needed them. The shoulder bag stash might also work for some of your non-financial cards depending on where you carry it.
  • RFID blocker. No POV here, since I don't have it, but I think it's a "new wallet" issue more than a "minimalist wallet" issue. ID in a front pocket?
 
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mgarbowski

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Helpful answers all. Thank you. I would love to get more if anyone is inclined.

Shwafta Shwafta - I loved getting your answer but the idea of combining everything into one stealable or losable package gives me the willies. One great secondary benefit of smartphones is I can lose my wallet or my phone and still get by in almost all situations, maybe with a bit of a kludge in some instances. But with either one I can present both ID and payment one way or another. Fifteen years ago if you lost your wallet you were completely resourceless. Would hate to go back to that again.
Also, I use my phone and it's in my hand so much I'd hate to weigh it down with any added material. But it's fascinating to see how people handle EDC differently.

joe joe I'm sure I could get by with the same amount of cash you carry in 99% of my days. I carry more because it's easy with my current wallet and makes the rare occasion easier. It's the tradeoff I need to decide on. Interesting point about NYC as a special case. But FYI I have found using my phone as a MetroCard replacement has worked very well once they completed the OMNY rollout to all stations and buses.

engine46 engine46 - I will look at that product closely - thanks.
 
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LionNYC

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Been using this for years. Love it.
This one has RFID protection.
 

Brooklyn Blue

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Been using this for years. Love it.
This one has RFID protection.

I have a similar wallet. Anything to reduce bulk. Cash and license on one side, ATM/credit card on the other. I also have phone photos stored for items like an insurance card where the data is what is important. The key - for me - is to have a second "normal" wallet where I can keep cards and items that I have no need for on a daily basis. If I am heading somewhere where a secondary item may be needed, I can pull it out for a specific trip and put it back when done.
 

LionNYC

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I have a similar wallet. Anything to reduce bulk. Cash and license on one side, ATM/credit card on the other. I also have phone photos stored for items like an insurance card where the data is what is important. The key - for me - is to have a second "normal" wallet where I can keep cards and items that I have no need for on a daily basis. If I am heading somewhere where a secondary item may be needed, I can pull it out for a specific trip and put it back when done.
Oh yes, I have about 10+ cards in a wallet in a drawer that only come out on occasion.
 

Seth

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For maximum thinness I used to have Allets, the nylon ones, which are super thin. Nowadays I have a leather Waterfield wallet. Not quite as thin but pretty close.


ETA: I'll have it with me Wednesday at Belson and Saturday at the stadium if you want to take a look at it.
 
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mgarbowski

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For maximum thinness I used to have Allets, the nylon ones, which are super thin. Nowadays I have a leather Waterfield wallet. Not quite as thin but pretty close.


ETA: I'll have it with me Wednesday at Belson and Saturday at the stadium if you want to take a look at it.
Wednesday. It should be easy to find each other. Thx.
 

FootyLovin

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Wait. None of you are sporting this wallet?

IMG_4262.HEIC.jpg


IMG_4263.HEIC.jpg


Once Apple Pay got traction I started only carrying one credit card and my ATM card. Probably time to ditch my ATM card too as I think they now accept Apple Pay.

I keep either a $50 or a $100 bill neatly folded inside for the very rare occasions cash is needed. Vast majority of tips these days are also cashless.

My driver's license and health insurance card round out the back of this wallet.

Everything else I thought I needed I found I could do without once I no longer had the stuff with me.

My suggestion: Try going minimalist for a week just to see what happens. Get rid of absolutely everything that doesn't fit the 80 of the 80/20 rule. Nothing tragic will happen in 7 days of a minimalist wallet. Then you can reassess after that exactly what you think you want to hold onto as you consider your minimalist wallet purchase.
 

Schwallacus

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Helpful answers all. Thank you. I would love to get more if anyone is inclined.

Shwafta Shwafta - I loved getting your answer but the idea of combining everything into one stealable or losable package gives me the willies. One great secondary benefit of smartphones is I can lose my wallet or my phone and still get by in almost all situations, maybe with a bit of a kludge in some instances. But with either one I can present both ID and payment one way or another. Fifteen years ago if you lost your wallet you were completely resourceless. Would hate to go back to that again.
Also, I use my phone and it's in my hand so much I'd hate to weigh it down with any added material. But it's fascinating to see how people handle EDC differently.

joe joe I'm sure I could get by with the same amount of cash you carry in 99% of my days. I carry more because it's easy with my current wallet and makes the rare occasion easier. It's the tradeoff I need to decide on. Interesting point about NYC as a special case. But FYI I have found using my phone as a MetroCard replacement has worked very well once they completed the OMNY rollout to all stations and buses.

engine46 engine46 - I will look at that product closely - thanks.
Would help if I actually wrote something before "posting"

I use Herschel's Charlie Wallet (LINK)

Have been using it for 4-5 years now and love it. Has four total pockets for cards/ID and one larger pocket in the "top" where I store a few bills and other random non card-sized items. RFID protection is awesome as well, with numerous color/fabrics for whatever you want to house your pocket valuables. For its size it can hold a lot of cards, of which I have the following stored;

  • Pocket 1 (left) - Debit Card (1x total)
  • Pocket 2 (Left) - License, Health Ins., OSHA 10, 2x Track Safety Cards (4-5x total)
  • Pocket 1 (Right) - Credit Cards (2x)
  • Pocket 2 (Right) - Metrocards (2x)
  • Large top pocket - cash, business cards, etc. (4-5x)
1652187857113.png
 
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mgarbowski

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So far, without acquiring a new wallet, I've removed about 60% of what used to be in my existing wallet. It's no surprise it hasn't caused any problems because all of it was comprised of items I carry just in case for edge cases that happen rarely. I can also go lower pretty easily.

I think what I'm going to do is take @FootyLovins's advice of paring down further to a really minimalist set. Probably more than his, but really low. Live with that for a while, and maybe making adjustments in both directions, and then decide what new wallet to use.

All of this has been very helpful, whether you listed what cards and such you carry, mentioned a product, or whatever. Never heard of an OSHA 10 before. Also trying to guess what Schwallacus Schwallacus does - railroad safety inspector? Who else would need not one but 2 track safety cards? Or maybe NASCAR or F1 pit crew (or a steward at Aqueduct or Belmont)? Some weirdly dangerous DJ gig?
 
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moogoo

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Wait. None of you are sporting this wallet?

View attachment 12046

View attachment 12047

Once Apple Pay got traction I started only carrying one credit card and my ATM card. Probably time to ditch my ATM card too as I think they now accept Apple Pay.

I keep either a $50 or a $100 bill neatly folded inside for the very rare occasions cash is needed. Vast majority of tips these days are also cashless.

My driver's license and health insurance card round out the back of this wallet.

Everything else I thought I needed I found I could do without once I no longer had the stuff with me.

My suggestion: Try going minimalist for a week just to see what happens. Get rid of absolutely everything that doesn't fit the 80 of the 80/20 rule. Nothing tragic will happen in 7 days of a minimalist wallet. Then you can reassess after that exactly what you think you want to hold onto as you consider your minimalist wallet purchase.

i used mine for about 4 months before it fell apart.
 

Schwallacus

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So far, without acquiring a new wallet, I've removed about 60% of what used to be in my existing wallet. It's no surprise it hasn't caused any problems because all of it was comprised of items I carry just in case for edge cases that happen rarely. I can also go lower pretty easily.

I think what I'm going to do is take @FootyLovins's advice of paring down further to a really minimalist set. Probably more than his, but really low. Live with that for a while, and maybe making adjustments in both directions, and then decide what new wallet to use.

All of this has been very helpful, whether you listed what cards and such you carry, mentioned a product, or whatever. Never heard of an OSHA 10 before. Also trying to guess what Schwallacus Schwallacus does - railroad safety inspector? Who else would need not one but 2 track safety cards? Or maybe NASCAR or F1 pit crew (or a steward at Aqueduct or Belmont)? Some weirdly dangerous DJ gig?
*Laughs maniacally*

I'm a project manager for an engineering company, specifically communications engineering. Company works on both NYCT and LIRR projects (as a subcontractor), so I need to have both LIRR and NYCT Track Safety certifications in case I'm needed in the field.
 

mgarbowski

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Not one of the many companies who make and sell these products have a properly functional website to choose and select what you want. They all make 5-10 models with inscrutable names, and you have to click on each one to see its basic specs and features while taking notes just to compare within each brand. What they all need is a page with all their wallets that lists for each model
  • card capacity
    • whether any are in outside pockets
    • whether any are in visible pockets
  • bill capacity
    • clip, band, or pocket
    • folded yes/no
    • foreign/oversize yes/no
  • RFID yes/no
  • material
  • any wow-factor features
This is not hard. They make it hard.
 
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FootyLovin

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Not one of the many companies who make and sell these products have a properly functional website to choose and select what you want. They all make 5-10 models with inscrutable names, and you have to click on each one to see its basic specs and features while taking notes just to compare within each brand. What they all need is a page with all their wallets that lists for each model
  • card capacity
    • whether any are in outside pockets
    • whether any are in visible pockets
  • bill capacity
    • clip, band, or pocket
    • folded yes/no
    • foreign/oversize yes/no
  • RFID yes/no
  • material
  • any wow-factor features
This is not hard. They make it hard.
Your NYCFC wallet is calling you.