guest post: how paying attention to your wallet can improve your financial outlook

The following guest post is from a commentator here at brip blap, Sheila.  She doesn’t have her own blog, so I can’t refer you to her site, but she’s got a nice bit of advice here!

Have you ever noticed that often the same topic will come up in casual conversations and on different websites? I have noticed this happening quite a bit lately in my life: coworkers, friends, and a few writers on the web have been touching on the same topics, within the span of a few days. When this sort of synchronicity happens, I take it as a big hint that I should be paying attention to those very things in my own life.

The most recent synchronicity involves an object that each of us carries: a wallet. I was looking my wallet, which was frayed and overstuffed and was ready to be replaced. I mentioned to my fiancé that I would need to go shopping for a new wallet, and I asked him if he needed a new one as well. As it turns out, he is quite pleased with the wallet I gave to him, and it is working well for him.

wallet As I was talking to my fiance about my wallet in particular and about how I was doing with my budget, it occurred to me that I had been feeling frayed and overwhelmed by my finances and all the things I was doing to get my financial house in order. In a strange way, my wallet seemed to be a reflection of what I was experiencing.

To be sure, I have been taking steps in the right direction: 0% balance transfer for my credit card debt, opening a high-interest savings account, increasing contributions to my retirement plan, creating a plan to get out of debt, and reading books and blogs about financial planning. I had accomplished quite a bit within a short period of time, but I was still feeling a bit overwhelmed because I had been doing so much and yet I knew I still had a long way to go. I longed for the day when life would be simpler, when I would have less to do and would be better organized.

Within the next few days, two blog postings appeared in my inbox that spoke to my situation. The first, in a posting at unclutterer called “Trim Your Wallet," addressed the problem of carrying too much stuff in a wallet and the benefits of changing to a slimmer wallet.

After reading that post, I pulled everything out of my wallet and was amazed to see how much stuff was in it that I did not use on a daily basis or even on a weekly basis. I put back into my wallet only those things that were necessary for me to carry (driver’s license, car insurance card, and health insurance card) or that I would use on a daily basis (cash, one credit card, and two small “keyring cards” for discounts at the grocery and the pharmacy). Everything else I set aside.

The next day, a posting appeared at the healthy living lounge by Carole Fogarty, who points out, “Most of us have a strong energetic connection to our wallets whether we realize it or not. It’s either healthy or it’s toxic.”  Entitled “The tao of a happy full wallet," the post explains how to do a bit of feng shui with the wallet: eliminating clutter and simplifying, paying attention to the senses through the use of essential oils and through the choice of a particular color for your wallet, and by avoiding negative thinking when using your wallet.

I thought about the kind of wallet that would be just enough to hold the things I used daily (or at least a couple of times each week), and I ended up buying a slim wallet made of recycled plastic from koyono called a “Jimi.”

I used all the suggestions mentioned in both the blog postings, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the results. My wallet and my mood are lighter, and I no longer have to waste time digging through my wallet to find what I need. My wallet now has only the essentials and it is easy to use. And I find that becoming more organized now, with something as small as a wallet, is helping me to experience the simplicity I have been seeking.

I highly recommend a thorough cleanout of your wallet over the holidays and ask that you consider giving yourself the gift of a new wallet. It will give you a fresh start for the new year and will bring a bit of simplicity to your financial life.

(photo of the Jimi from koyono – link above)