Your wallet shouldn’t weigh down your purse or pocket, but you should also make sure to carry what you need everywhere you go. There are a few items that must go in your wallet, not only to allow you access to the money you need, but to keep you safe in an emergency.

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Here are a few things you won’t want to leave home without — and a few other things you should leave at home.

What to Keep in Your Wallet

1. Cash

You likely use your credit or debit cards for most purchases, but it’s important to carry a bit of cash, too. You’ll likely have to make the occasional cash purchase, and it’s good to be prepared so you don’t get stuck trying to find an ATM.

2. Two Credit Cards

It’s wise to not only have your main credit card in your wallet, but also a spare one. You don’t want to get caught by surprise if there’s a technical issue with your main card, you reach your spending limit or a retailer doesn’t accept that type of card. If you have more than two cards, you could leave the extras at home unless you plan to use one of them. If your wallet gets stolen, only having to report the theft of two cards can save you some time compared to reporting many credit cards stolen.

3. Debit Card

Not only can you use your debit card to make purchases, but you can also use it to get cash at an ATM. If you need cash quickly, a debit card is the way to go — cash advances on your credit card will hit you with higher interest charges that begin to rack up immediately.

4. A Form of Identification With Your Current Address

There are so many instances where you need official identification that it just makes sense to keep it in your wallet at all times. From driving to checking into medical appointments and beyond, you’ll need you I.D. with you.

5. Emergency Contact Information

Keep a card in your wallet with your phone number (so is someone finds your lost wallet, they can call you). Also include contact information for friends or relatives who can help in an emergency. If you have severe allergies or medical conditions that medical personnel should know about, include that on the card as well. Carrying this information could save your life.

6. Insurance Cards

Don’t leave home without your medical and auto insurance cards. You will absolutely need access to this information in the event of an emergency.

Try Not to Carry These Items

1. Social Security Card, Birth Certificate or Passport

Sometimes it’s necessary to have these items with you — when you travel or have to show multiple forms of I.D. — but once you no longer need them, store them at home in a secure place. If someone steals these items, they may try to steal your identity.

2. A Spare Key to Your Home

Don’t keep an I.D. with your address on it plus a spare key in your wallet together, because they make it easier to locate and break into your home. If you worry about losing your keys, it’s much safer to leave a copy with a trusted friend or neighbor.

3. A List of Your Passwords

Don’t make it easy for thieves to spend your money on retail sites, or worse, have access to your online banking accounts. If you must keep a written record of your passwords, keep it in a secure place and don’t ever carry it with you.

4. Blank Checks

These also make it far too easy for someone to steal money from you. Fill out a check in advance, but don’t carry blank ones in your wallet.


5 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Wallet,

8 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Wallet, Kiplinger

Wallet 101: What to Keep and What to Take Out, U.S. News & World Report

Things You Should Never Keep in Your Wallet, Forbes

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