Are You Getting the Most from Your Wallet?

Think about how much stuff you have in your wallet at the moment: maybe a little cash, and probably a few debit cards or credit cards.

Now, are you satisfied with how much your wallet is earning for you?

The new year is a great time to look inside that billfold to see if you can do better.

If you have cash in your wallet, remember that it’s just sitting there, not earning you a dime of interest. When you pay with cash, you aren’t getting any rewards. It’s important to keep a bit of cash on hand in case of emergencies (i.e. for the town fair to buy cotton candy, or at that annoying coffee shop that still doesn’t take cards), but the truth is you should really pay with a card for everything because you can maximize your rewards.

Debit Card

How is your debit card treating you these days? Are you using it for purchases, or just for withdrawing cash from the ATM? If it’s the latter, then you’re earning zero rewards. If it’s the former, I’ll caution you on two points: First, unlike a credit card, you typically get little or no liability coverage with a debit card, so there is a bit more risk. Second, you usually don’t enjoy rewards when you use a debit card.

Credit Card

Finally, about those credit cards …   Are you getting awesome rewards, at no cost and a good interest rate?   If you’re not, you should do a credit card comparison and see if you can get a better deal. There are a lot of cards that offer great cash-back rewards, or even travel rewards, and have no annual fees.   If your current card isn’t giving you anything more than points, or you’re paying an arm and a leg in fees each year, you should consider switching to a card that will work harder for you.

Your wallet will thank you for it.

Photo Credit: Casey Fleser


  1. 2

    DC says

    Given how low interest rates are these days, I’m not going to worry over the opportunity cost of keeping a bit of cash in the wallet, even if, as noted by Griper, it’s falling apart. :)

  2. 3

    Logic Rules says

    I’ve got to agree with DC on this one. Even so-called High Interest Savings accounts are earning less than 1% these days, and while rewards are tempting, they can lead you to spend unnecessarily because of that carrot (rewards) dangling out in front of you. The act of physically spending cash instead of swiping a card really drives home the reality of what you are spending on, and when you are trying to stick to a budget, it makes you think if you really even want or need whatever it is you are buying.

  3. 4

    threadbndr says

    I don’t love using credit cards, even the rewards one.

    Instead, I have a credit union interest bearing checking account that current earns 4% up to $25000, but I have to use my debit as credit 10 times = $100 in total (and ebills and direct deposit). Even my best rewards card can’t beat that and I don’t have to worry about making a payment.

    I’m trying to pad this account as much as possible these days. None of my other accounts come close.

  4. 6


    The Griper : from the looks of that wallet i’d say that the owner of it should take that cash and invest in a new wallet.
    haha, the Griper i agree ith you LOL

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