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A minimalist guide for your wallet – Lachlan Nicolson – Medium

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For most of the year, my wallet has been weighing me down both literally and financially. It’s been one of those small, yet important things to the family finances that I have neglected for a while.

So I decided to tackle it and make some changes. My approach was focused on the concept of minimalism — only carrying the essentials and focusing on what matters. Beyond the physical aspect, I also wanted to remove behavioral and psychological triggers that were negatively affecting my spending.

Why declutter?

For me, a minimalist revision of my wallet was about three things:

  1. Spending more time creating and less time consuming
  2. Eliminate distractions (out of my sight = out of my mind)
  3. Continue building healthy financial habits and mindsets

The wallet is something we carry with us every day. Beyond the basic function of carrying ID, it serves as a gateway to how and when we spend our money.

If your wallet isn’t set up to work with your money plan, it will wreak havoc in your finances. You may not even realise it at first.

The benefits of a decluttered wallet:

  • It eliminates distractions, by removing triggers that cause you to spend more.
  • It helps you think clearer. (Systemise for fewer decisions)
  • It literally makes your wallet lighter. Who wants to carry around a bulky wallet in your back pocket anyway?
This is about half the weight and thickness compared to my previous wallet.

Three (simple) steps to win the wallet

1 — Buy a new (slimmer) wallet.

Whenever you change a system, it’s best to do a clean reset. That means completely removing your current way of doing things and starting afresh.

Kenji Slim Tan $20 (I bought this one)
Bellroy Hide n Seek $114

2 — Remove the junk.

Be ruthless and remove every and everything that’s holding you down. Here’s a quick formula:

RULE #1: If you haven’t used it in the last 30 days — Remove
RULE #2: If it causes you to spend more than you should — Remove 
RULE #3: If it uses up excess space in your wallet — Remove

3 — Structure for success.

More often than not we’ve all fallen into the trap of throwing purchases (outside the budget) onto a credit card.

Rearranging or removing your credit card leads to better spending decisions. For me, I put my Amex in the reverse pocket. Because it’s out of sight and hard to pull out, I now only use it when it’s really needed (business/travel/online)

4 — Declutter your digital wallet

Your physical wallet is just one half of the problem. The other half is your digital wallet. When you take out a store card, loyalty card or credit card, you’re also signing up to get email offers and notifications from these businesses. The same goes for e-commerce apps on your phone.

All of these savvy marketing triggers are designed to alert you to spend more money. Here are three things to help solve the clutter:

#1 Delete all shopping apps on your phone 
#2 Disable 1-Click Buy on your Amazon account
#3 Unsubscribe from every e-commerce newsletter

Farewell my spam

So what happened?…

30 Days Later — The Result

My minimalist approach to the wallet paid off, literally.

Whilst I’m not a big spender to begin with, my larger struggle was being bogged down by so many marketing messages. This caused friction in my finances, and around deciding what to buy and what not to.

Consumerism really is an uphill battle. You have to fight it.

The biggest win overall was simply removing triggers to excess spending. For example: receiving a flybuys email to spend more in order to earn bonus points, or using my Apple Pay with Amex to shop online quickly. These types of triggers always resulted in buying more things I didn’t need.

During this exercise, I also stumbled across new ways to save money on memberships and subscriptions. I discovered most of what I was paying for, I wasn’t really using. Every small decision adds up to bigger wins over time.

A minimalist approach to my wallet, in the bigger picture, is just one refinement for our family finances. If you don’t have a plan for your money in general, this whole exercise is putting the cart before the horse.

Thanks for reading,

– Lachy.

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