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Frugal Friday: Organize Your Wallet

It sounds funny to say so, but one great way to keep money in your wallet is to look in your wallet — often. If you don’t have a good idea of what’s in there, you may be liable to spend more than you have or to let great savings opportunities slip through your fingers. An organized wallet could save you from both!

Before you make your budget for the month, you might want to take stock of what’s in your pocketbook and see how you can make the most of what you have. This morning over coffee I switched into my new wallet and thus, cleaned out of my purse and old wallet a myriad of interesting things, including my Kansas State Driver’s License that I have not used in 15 months. Hello! How’s that for “out with the old and in with the new?”

Some things to consider as you clean and organize your wallet:

  • How much money is there? When was the last time you balanced your checkbook.This is always good to know. If you have an accurate sense of what you have, you’ll (hopefully) be a better spender.
  • Are there gift cards to be redeemed? Do they expire? Do they charge a fee for every month that goes by that you don’t use them. We’ve lost out on more than a few bucks due to unseen charges on gift cards. You need to use the funds or lose them. Call or go online to check the balances and write the amount on the card with a sharpie. Make a point to use them in the near future. I put mine in the envelopes that fit those categories. For instance, the Chick-Fil-A card goes in my Mom’s Night Off envelope, but the WalMart card went into my grocery envelope.
  • Consolidate receipts. Do you have anything to return? Make sure you do so within the time frame on the receipt. If not, pitch them or file them, whatever your prerogative. Are there any coupons or vouchers attached to your receipts? I found some for IKEA which I put in the household envelope. Hopefully, I’ll remember to use them next time we go. Are there any surveys to complete? Often these produce a free meal or a savings coupon. If you’ve got the time and the price is right, take the survey.
  • Consider going to envelopes. We’ve gotten out of the habit of putting cash in envelopes, but I’m hoping that going back to it will help us spend less. It’s a little more cumbersome than plain cash or a debit card, but hopefully it will help with the budget. (If you haven’t already, check out the pretty ones from KelleighRatz. Too cute!)
  • Are there any catalinas, Register Rewards, or ECBs that are going bad in your wallet? (I found an expired “dollar” from Walgreens this morning.) Put them in your grocery envelope or with your coupons and remember to treat them like cash.

How do you save money? Share your frugal tip with us.

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Comments

  1. I'm planning to go to the envelope system! Something has to give with my spending!

  2. Hoosier Homemade says:

    We started using the envelope system again for groceries. I love those pretty DIY envelopes.
    Thanks for hosting!
    ~Liz

  3. I saw Kelleigh's envelopes today…absolutely darling. I think I may need some too since I'm determined to have cash for groceries and gas this year.

  4. Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. How do you work the envelope system for your husband? Does he get an allowance? I'm linking up a frugal recipe for lentil soup.

    Thanks!

  5. MommaMindy says:

    Great ideas on organizing the wallet. But, I NEVER has money in mine, I have three teenagers. :)

  6. My husband and I each get an 'allowance' out of his paycheck to buy things for our hobbies or other things that don't fit into our regular budget. We've found this helps us control our miscellaneous spending because we have to save up for bigger personal purchases instead of just buying on impulse. I can also buy my morning coffee, etc without feeling guilty about it. It helps us both stick to our budget because we feel like we have some freedom.

  7. Mama Llama says:

    Does anyone have a tip for all those store "club" cards that are overwhelming my wallet? (Not charge cards – the cards you have to present to get sale prices.)

    I want the cards so that I can get the better deals, but it seems like EVERY store issues these cards and I must have 30! How do you organize them?

  8. Great topic! Things tend to get lost in my wallet as well. :-) I should probably get to looking through it.

    *stumbled!

  9. I want to print off Kelleigh's envelopes to use since we're going cash only for a couple things :) And I love this post on keeping an organized wallet! It's something I need to do.

  10. I love these ideas!! I have learned that awareness of what you have makes saving money even easier!!

  11. I love your tips! Just came across your website b/c I'm going to Blissdom and will be at the Savvy Blogging dinner! Look forward to meeting you!

  12. The Coupon Basics says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  13. Staci, looking forward to meeting you, too.

    Donielle, thanks for the stumble. ;)

    Carolyn, yes, we've had "mad money" envelopes in the past. But, we use the debit card for gas. It's too hard with kids in the car to go inside and leave them.

    Good luck moving to cash, y'all!

  14. Jessica Fisher says:

    testing

  15. Oh, no! I didn’t have a chance to look at the links last week, and now they’re gone! Any chance they’ll come back?

  16. Thank you so much for writing this post and including a link to cash envelopes. My mother uses this method and it’s the smartest way to keep track of your money. I do it during holiday shopping and write down all my purchases on the back of the envelope so I know exactly where the money went. I recently decided to try this in my day-to-day life but the idea of digging out those bank envelopes every morning when I buy my coffee was daunting. You made my day with this post!

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