Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dollars and no sense

I have to keep my wallet in the zippered side compartment of my pocketbook. It is so fat, I can no longer close it. It isn't stuffed with credit cards. We don't use those and thankfully, despite all of the debt we do have, the credit card kind is not one we owe.

It isn't full of cash either. That thought makes me chuckle. It would be nice if it were, but alas, my wallet is void of that. I do, however, have a ton of coins in the change compartment. I dump my pennies into the girls piggy banks, and keep the silver. It isn't unusual for me to pay for things with change. I used to feel silly doing it, as it is time consuming to count it all out, but money is money.

My wallet is chock full of receipts and about a bazillion gift cards. Gift cards given to me over the course of the last five or six years, that literally have just a few dollars left on each of them, but I cannot fathom throwing out. It would be the same thing as throwing out cash, in my mind.

The problem is, the carrying around of these cards. I have a JC Penny card with $1.01 left on it. A Banana Republic card with $10.77 on it, and that card was given to me when Olivia was a baby, as a Christmas present from my Mom and Dad. They wanted me to get something pretty for myself. And I did. 8 years ago!!! Presently, I cannot afford to shop at Banana Republic.

Still another card from TJ Maxx with a $3.62 balance. And a Home Depot card, given to us when we purchased our home, 9 years ago (!!!) from my in-laws that has four bucks on it. I had a Visa gift card given to me for Christmas, and I had a three dollar and change balance on it that I am proud to say I actually used some of, picking up a prescription at Rite Aid a few weeks back, but I didn't use all of it. It has less than a dollar on it, and I just can't chuck it in the garbage. I cannot throw a single red cent away, so filed in my six inch thick wallet it will sit. When am I going to whip that out, and say, " this first, there is a 16 cent balance on it"???

The receipts are another situation. I hold on to them, because let's say, I go to Target, and I buy a shirt for Molly for spring, some bananas, some printer ink, and a pair of sneakers for Olivia, because she is bursting out of her current ones. I need the receipt, because, I might need the money at a later date.

 Here is my thinking. The sneakers are a necessity. The bananas are too. We plow through them here. But the spring shirt, and the printer ink are like money in the bank to me. We need them, don't get me wrong. But I still have a little bit of black ink that will get us through until next pay day. And the spring shirt, though she will need it, doesn't have to worn right now.

In a pinch, if money gets real tight before payday...and it always does... I can take the ink back, and the shirt, leave with cash, to get what we really require, and make the same purchases a week later. Now, I have never actually done this. But it is like a little piece of security for me. Like, if things really get lean, we have an out.

The problem is, that I never part with the receipts, because I need to know that they are there, and then I forget what they are for, and the ink has been opened, and the shirt worn, and there they sit. In my wallet, tucked away with all of my loose change, and plastic cards totaling  a package of diapers, if I could divide the payment up for them between six different stores!

Really, some days, my peace of mind comes at a mind numbing cost.


  1. I just threw out my Christmas reciepts. Same idea you had, only mine were sitting on top of my cookbook cabinet. We made it through, barely.
    This is the month we get the check engine light checked. Woo-hoo!

  2. I wonder if you could arrange a barter system where people exchange their gift cards? There must be a lot of people with remaining balances.