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A Little Wallet Hygiene Goes a Long Way 

by: Brandie Younce

 We all love finding cash hiding in our jeans pocket and getting more bang for our buck.  These days, more than ever we need to save, cut back and save some more. Easier said than done? Not so fast- I have come up with a fun and funny little way to keep that up!

 Like many people, I budget cash out of every paycheck to use for odds and ends like groceries, dining out, entertainment…whatever.  But out of my neurotic-obsessive need for cleanliness, comfort and control came a system for cleaning out my wallet and making that budget work for me.

 What I do is empty out my wallet at the end of every day or shopping excursion.  I play with the coins first.  All quarters go into a change purse that I use for laundry.  I also keep a few quarters at a time in my yoga and workout bags for the parking meters.   All dimes, nickels and pennies go into a jar that I take to the bank when it’s full.  I put that money into savings.  And pretty much any change I get from a drive-thru stays in my car for those pesky parking meters, but when that change purse gets full I sort that baby out, too.

Next I take care of the bills.  To begin with, I keep only the cash I’ll need for a day or two at a time in my wallet.  The rest of it stays in a secure staging area until show time.  So during the wallet cleansing, I organize the bills from large to small and, depending on what’s there, I take half of the singles or a five and put them in an envelope.  I keep this envelope in a cabinet that locks up, but to each their own.  Since I check on this envelope often, I keep constant stock of what’s in there and as it grows I use the cash from the staging area to swap out singles for fives, then tens, then twenties.  Soon enough, I have an envelope full of Andrew Jacksons.  And there have been times when that envelope has held hundreds worth of that man.  He comes in handy.

I use this money for spa and salon tips.  I use it for runs to the pet store or when I feel like hitting up that little boutique I haven’t been to in a while.  And I use it for sporadic dinner outings and coffee shop visits.  If the money I’ve taken out of my account that month just wasn’t enough for all the things that came up, I visit this envelope to tide me over until pay day.  So it’s a rainy day envelope that backs me up and also affords me pick-me-ups like a visit to my psychic or to the cat groomer when I just can’t handle the shedding anymore.

 It feels good to not to burden my credit cards with these odds and ends.  I take comfort in being prepared enough to avoid moving money around in a bind.  I love that my wallet is so organized.  And it’s just good sense to know what I’m doing with my money and what I value spending it on.

 You may find this ritual crazy but try it anyway and watch it work for you.  Feel free to tweak it to suite your own neurotic compulsions.  But only resort to using this money for your own set guidelines and don’t make a habit of digging into it impulsively.  Any money you take out but end up not using, put it back.  Take pride in your envelope!

  It may be a little sad to see the envelope empty along the way.  But that’s cool because it means you’re enjoying saving your money and spending it on things you truly need and value.  And all it takes a little more wallet hygiene to fill it back up again.