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Battle of the Wallet Bulge

You may not need to look much further than your back pocket to find what needs a financial makeover: Your wallet. Does it contain every wallet-size card you've ever received and a wad of receipts? If so, here are some tips to cut the fat.

Get Organized

Figure out a filing system that works for you (maybe an accordion-style file folder or a fire-safe lockbox). This is a good place for your receipts, gift cards, and Red Cross and Social Security cards, a record of your credit card numbers, and business cards. Store the folder in a safe place, like in your foot or wall locker. (Typical cost of a fire-safe lockbox: $35)

Cut It Out

Carry only one credit or debit card. Just in case your wallet goes missing, make a record of your credit card and contact numbers. Consider making a photocopy of everything in your wallet and keeping it in a safe place (see tip No. 1).

Leave Home Without It

Don't carry your Social Security card with you. If you have your Social Security number on your bank checks or anywhere else, remove it. Otherwise, that's a perfect way for a thief to steal your identity.

Wallet Keepers

Driver's license; one phone card (the one with minutes left on it); military IDs; library and health insurance cards. 

Shred It

Keep your receipts somewhere other than your wallet until you've reviewed your account online for accuracy. Then tear them to shreds before throwing them away. (Typical cost of a small shredder: $35)

Keep it Real

Keep the most current USAA phone number card handy.

Tip: Here's one thing you might add to your wallet: Your proof of auto liability

June Walbert is a salaried CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER--practitioner with USAA Financial Planning ServicesSM , one of the USAA family of companies.

This article originally appeared in U.25, a USAA publication.

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