In the process of getting money out, I had somehow tipped up my purse and let all my bank cards scatter over the city-centre street.
When I bent to pick them up, more cards fell out. Then the umbrella handle I was precariously balancing under one arm came tumbling down, dumping some fresh rainwater over the problem.
Luckily, the two people next in line, an older lady and a younger woman in a headscarf, seemed amused by my potty-mouthed predicament and helped me scoop all my cards off the floor.
I thanked them and crept away in a state of vague embarrassment at not quite having this ‘being an adult’ thing down-pat yet at 34.
But I also had to wonder, why on earth did I have so many cards?
All in all, there were 20 bits of plastic in my wallet: four debit cards (including one for a recently-closed account), four credit cards, a few membership cards and a whole host of store loyalty cards.
Call myself a minimalist?
I can see how I got here. In my quest to battle my long-standing debts and get my money in order, I’ve tried just about every scheme going. I’ve opened balance-transfer credit card after balance-transfer credit card – moving my debts along like Sonic the Hedgehog jumping across collapsing platforms – all to avoid high interest payments.
I’ve opted into just about every store loyalty scheme going, even ones where I barely go into the shops concerned and will probably never amass enough points for a reward, in the hope it might just save me some cash, somehow.
And thanks to my habit of chasing new-customer bonuses, I’ve also found myself with far more bank accounts than is sensible or healthy. (I recently got a letter from a bank telling me they’re closing my account due to inactivity. I’d forgotten about the account completely).
But I’m thankfully moving into a different stage of my life. I’m finally going to be the person who has their shit together when it comes to money, and I’ve decided I need a wallet to match.
So I’ve embarked on the great financial declutter. When I got home, I tackled my cards straight away, cutting up some, closing down the accounts on others, relegating still more to a drawer so I don’t have to carry them every day.
I’m not there yet, but here are the six cards I would have in my fantasy, pared-down purse:
One credit card
Two debit cards – one personal and one joint account
Driver’s licence and breakdown card
Professional accreditation card
How many cards do you carry on a daily basis? Are there any unusual ones you couldn’t live without?
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