Monday, January 25, 2016

Wallet Woes

Given the title of this blog, you’d think I’d write more often about my actual wallet. I’ve been using the same one for most if not all of the time I’ve been writing this blog. In this post from almost 10 years ago, I talked about my wallet and what was in it. The contents today would be almost identical, except for the Blockbuster video card!

For those who don’t click through the link, my daily carry wallet is a small nylon zippered card size pouch that I bought at Muji many years ago. It has a flap pocket on the outside secured with a Velcro tab— I keep my Metrocard in there as it’s easy to slide it out when I ride the subway. The zippered part has a little mesh divider to keep my coins separate from my cards and cash. I always have 2-3 credit cards, drivers license, gym card and a few other cards in there, as well as cash. The cash has to be folded in half, which isn’t ideal but I usually don't mind. I also stuff receipts in there, so the wallet can get a bit crowded sometimes and I regularly clean it out and reorganize it.

This wallet system has really worked for me— it’s lightweight, very pocketable, and unobtrusive. I’ve gotten so used to it, I rarely have trouble digging around to find anything even though it is small and a bit cramped. And the wallet has been surprisingly durable given that I am using it so much.
But nothing lasts forever— the velcro tab on the outside hasn’t really worked for a while, but now, more importantly, the zipper is tearing. In anticipation of this day, I”ve been checking Muji on a regular basis to see if they sell anything like this anymore but they don’t. And now that I’ve been more desperately looking for a replacement, I’m discovering that one one else really has anything like it either! Everything I've seen is too big, too small, lacks pockets, has too many pockets, etc. So I’ve been trying to open up my mind to the idea of using a different kind of wallet.

I’m trying to remember the other wallets I used earlier in my life. The earliest one I remember is one of those Velcro-closure wallets with contrasting trim, made out of the same sort of woven synthetic fabric as many backpacks. That would have been what I used in junior high, and maybe into high school. Sometime in high school I was given a full size women’s wallet, in a faux leather grey and black pattern, made by Liz Claiborne. I think I used that into my college years.
After college, I had a period where I used a pocket size Filofax to carry my cards and bills, and just put coins in my pocket, which was one of the reasons I always hated shopping for clothes, as many women’s pants don’t have pockets!
At some point, I started preferring a small pouch style wallet, starting with a little card size one made of some kind of Guatemalan or Mexican textile, which I probably received as a gift. It was cute and colorful, and I still have it somewhere. Because that wallet was so small, I supplemented it with a leather card holder from Coach to store things like insurance cards, business cards, and backup credit cards that I don’t use as often. The Mexican textile pouch was replaced with the Muji pouch.

I’ve experimented a little with other wallets. When one of my grandfathers died, I was given a wallet he’d owned— a pretty typical fold-over men’s wallet. I tried using that briefly but never really liked it that much. I also tried to used a different style of Filofax that had a full zipper around it and more pockets, as the idea of combining a notebook and wallet into one always seemed appealing, but in practice I found it too bulky.
The other wallet I currently own and use on occasion is a Bellroy passport wallet. Bellroy advertises a lot online, and I was sucked in enough by it to purchase their Travel Wallet. It’s actually a brilliant wallet— I love how it can hold boarding passes, all sorts of currencies, a passport, an extra SIM card (even though I haven’t had a use for that in years), and even comes with a mini pen. But I only use this wallet for international travel— if I'm not bringing my passport with me, the wallet just seems too big to carry all the time. Despite the size, I did try to carry it as an everyday wallet for a few days, mainly because I just loved it so much I wanted to touch it more often! The leather is really nice, and I wanted to break it in more. But the problem was that it had no space for coins. Most of my pants do have pockets at the moment, but I really don’t want to walk around with change jingling in them. And I don’t want to have to use a separate change purse. I use my coins as much as possible each day and don’t accumulate them but I still need someplace to put them.

In searching around online for a new wallet, of course those Bellroy ads starting popping up again so I took a peek at their website… and lo and behold they have a new wallet that is designed to hold coins: the appropriately named Coin Fold. After much deliberation, I ended up ordering one. It holds flat bills, cards, a SIM card should I ever have a spare again, and there’s a clever little coin pocket. I’ve been mentally enacting how I would use this wallet in my day to day habits. I think it will hold what I need it to hold, but will it be awkward to use? Will there be enough space for the coins? Will I be able to pluck them out efficiently when I’m trying to pay with exact change and there are 10 grumpy people in line behind me at the deli where I get lunch? As of this writing, that remains to be seen…  and I know I’ll have to adjust to one feature this wallet is missing, which is that there is no separate external pocket where I can stash my Metrocard. Will I be able to whip out my Metrocard fast enough without fumbling in front of the turnstile?

It’s funny how nothing is ever perfect in life. If you say you want A, B, C, and D, you’ll only find things that have A, B, and C, or A, B, and D, or B, C, and D… plus E, which you never cared about before, but now you are swimming in doubt because maybe E is better than A anyway, or is it??? I have probably looked at a hundred wallets, and all I really want is the one I have, even though I’m lusting over this new thing because it’s made of pretty leather.

Don't think it hasn’t occurred to me that I could repair the zipper on the Muji wallet… but it pains me to think how much a tailor would probably charge me to replace that 3 inch zipper— less than a new wallet for $100, probably, but I’m sure the price vs. value would still annoy me, and I’d be hearing my mother’s voice in my ear, saying “see, I told you you should have learned more about sewing!” Though if I presented her with my Muji wallet and a 3-inch replacement zipper and asked her to fix it, she’d probably be totally annoyed, as she often was when I was a kid and would ask her to sew together fantasy wallets and notebook covers of my own design. Some things just aren’t fun to sew, even if you love sewing.

So we’ll see if this creature of habit can form a new habit with a new wallet… which will still be an open wallet, of course!


canadian sadie said...

Have you considered Etsy? Here's a lady whose work I love:

Carla is fantastic, and could probably make you one exactly like the one you have now--assuming that you don't fall in love with the new wallet. :) She has an Etsy shop too, but I don't know exactly what the address is for that one. :)

Andrea said...

I miss you Madame X! I've been reading your blog for 10 years. Eagerly awaiting updates.

Betsy Teutsch said...

Look on Ebay. Maybe someone is selling just what you are seeking.

Sandy Smith said...

I personally think that people who don't save money are dumb and probably making excuses and you know what?
I would spend my days preaching the importance of saving money and teaching people how to start saving then I would come home to a pile of credit card bills and continue spending - even though I couldn't afford it

Millennial Moola said...

I've had my wallet for 10 years too. Almost lost it when I got robbed on the mexican subway system in Mex City. Luckily I had a chain connecting it to my belt loop