Challenge: Reduce your Wallet

At this point everyone has heard of minimalism. The movement swept through society in 2015 when Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus released their famous documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things. This kicked off an entire era of people reducing, streamlining and otherwise decluttering their lives in an effort to reconnect with things in life that truly brought them joy, whatever they may be. 

Nowadays, it could be said that the minimalism movement is played out. And we might not disagree. In today's world, people want instant gratification and when they found out getting rid of a bunch of old stuff did not instantly make them happier, well, there went that idea. 

Many failed to realize that the minimalist movement was more about shifting your principles and sense of value than it was just about decluttering. After getting rid of a bunch of stuff, there was a big void there and it was difficult to make the transition as to how to fill that void. 

Now, while we aren't gung ho minimalists at Thomas MacKay, we do overlap with many of the defining principles of the minimalist movement. A few of those being,

You don't realize how much you can do without.

Paring down your life can streamline many of the decisions you waste energy on. 

The less you have, the easier it is to organize. 

If there was one big reason people gave up on minimalism it was that they failed to its benefits in action. Its difficult to quantify things like “reducing decision fatigue” or “less is more”.

However, one area that is particularly good at this is finance. And your wallet is a direct extension of your financial life. 

When we dabbled into minimalism ourselves, which is part of how we got the idea for the Pacific Card Case, we started by challenging ourselves to reduce down our wallet. Just to see. 

I carried a traditional bifold. Nothing crazy. It wasnt packed to the brim with business cards or receipts like you see in advertisements, but it had its fair share of clutter. 3 credit cards, a debit card, drivers license, ID card, insurance cards, every membership card for every store I went to. 

My wallet had a little removable 2 pocket sleeve, and thats what I would use for my trial run of recuing my wallet. 

I stuck my license, debit card and credit card in, plus my insurance cards. That was it. Everything esle I left in my bifold. 

It wasnt long before I noticed 2 things. I never missed anything from my old wallet and it was much easier to budget. 

All my spending information was going to places, checking accounts or my debit card. I didn't have to track 4 different accounts to monitor my spending and at the end of each month I was only paying one bill. 

Over time this led to the cancellation of the 3 credit cards not in use. All my auto-pays were consolidated onto one card. My finances were becoming very streamlined. Budgeting was easier, I was spending less and I knew where my money was going. It was an immediate, quantifiable way to measure the benefits of my journey into minimalism. 

With that, I’d like to pose the same challenge to you. Take only what you think you’ll need. In fact, take less than you think you’ll need and try it for a month. See if you begin to see some of the same benefits. You don't even have to buy a new wallet, just use a binder clip to carry the essentials. 

I would bet you don't realize how much you can get away without and how beneficial it can be towards maintaining an organized lifestyle. 

You see, we value these principles. We think if everyone thought a little bit more about how little they need, everyone could be just a bit happier. And that, in itself, would be rewarding enough.