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Why iPhone Owners Don’t Need Wallets

photo by shareski

Of all of the the things you’d typically find in a man’s pocket (or a woman’s purse, I suppose), the wallet is probably the most pervasively adopted piece of hardware in Western civilization. Every Tom, Dick and Harry walking around almost certainly has a wallet in his back pocket. And the wallets that men carry are just as various as the men who carry them. There are big wallets, little wallets, wallets with chains, wallets as thick as a $5 paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice with zippers on them to make sure nothing falls out – the list goes on.

If you’re a guy reading this, I’d like for you to pull out your wallet and look inside. Better yet, dump it out onto the table or desk where you sit. Look over each item in the pile and ask yourself “Do I really need this with me *all* of the time?”. Chances are, no, you don’t. This is one of the reasons I no longer carry a wallet.

What then, you may ask, do I use to carry my driver license (and other plastic)? What about pictures of your children? Business cards for associates you might need to get in touch with? Lottery tickets from 6 months ago? That coupon for a free 16 oz. beverage at the local burger palace?

Well, instead of answering each of those individually, let me break down for you what I carry in my pockets every single day (as well as the specific pocket where I keep it, which isn’t by accident):

  • Left Hip (Front) Pocket: In this pocket, I keep my keys and (my favorite space saver) a small binder clip in which I keep 5 things: driver license, ATM card, health insurance card, dental insurance card and Costco card. Yep, that’s all the plastic I carry. A visual:
  • Right Hip (Front) Pocket: This pocket is reserved exclusively for my iPhone, mostly because I’m trying to keep it from getting dinged up and scratched.
  • Left Back Pocket: My trusty Pilot G2 Mini retractable ballpoint pen. That’s it. Check it:
  • Right Back Pocket: My Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase, which holds my index cards (which could just as easily be a Hipster PDA, by the way). Another visual:

Believe it or not, this is all I carry in my pockets. Now, let me give you a quick rundown of where most of my “wallet”-ish pocket crap now lives:

My iPhone.

That’s right – the vast majority of stuff that lived in my wallet now sits comfortably in my pocket, accessible from just about anywhere:

  • Pictures – Why would I carry a half-dozen pictures of my family in a wallet where they would invariably become crumpled and ultimately wrecked when I can (and do) keep several hundred pictures of my family, friends and what I had for lunch last week right on my phone?
  • Contact Information – If I get a business card from somebody, it’s a camera-snap away from being locked away in Evernote, or I could just create a new contact within the built-in address book. Once that’s done, it goes into the trash.
  • Miscellaneous Bits – Random phone numbers, addresses, receipts and whatnot all get dumped into Evernote (I’ll also keep the original at home for some of these things, should I ever need to produce it for things like refunds). I’ve written about Evernote before and believe me when I say that it’s the best “wallet killer” app for iPhone I’ve come across.
  • Cash – Well, I’m married with two kids, so having cash is enough of a novelty that I usually wave it around for the few minutes that I have it before handing it over to the cashier at the Piggly Wiggly in exchange for a quart of milk.

    Joking, of course – cash goes in the middle pocket of my Levenger (but, in all seriousness, I rarely carry cash these days).

So, if you have an iPhone, you’re 98% of the way toward a wallet-free existence. You need only jet down to your local office supply joint and grab yourself a binder clip (or a box of several hundred, more likely), and get yourself a free account on Evernote. I think you’ll be surprised at how easily you adapt to not having a massive brick in your back pocket.

Oh, and if you’re the type that would rather not clog up your iPhone’s disk space with a ton of pictures – you can get yourself an account on Flickr, then download the Exposure application for iPhone, which offers a fantastic way to browse your images directly from the phone.

Oh, and I’m not affiliated in any way with Evernote or ConnectedFlow (makers of Exposure). Frankly, I wish I were.

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