It took me three years to find a tiny wallet to replace a cute little red-and-white-checkered pouch I found in Japan for 100 yen (which was a steal at about $1USD). It wasn’t for lack of trying, though.
Initially I looked for wallets in stores everywhere I went (which, granted, wasn’t very many places as shopping isn’t something I really do anymore). The primary problem was apparently women like to carry a bunch of crap around. So all the wallets I could find were far too bulky for me.
Pray tell, What do women need such big wallets for? What do they put in them, anyway? Wads of dollar bills for strip clubs? Credit cards from their favorite stores? I have no idea.
(And actually, here’s another thing I don’t understand: huge handbags. Because assuming the average woman isn’t secretly stashing a goldfish in her bag, what could she possibly need so much room for besides, perhaps, her big wallet?)
Anyway, why anyone would voluntarily carry around so much crap is a mystery to me. Give me an itty-bitty wallet I can slip into my jeans and I’m good to go.
After many unsuccessful shopping attempts I was feeling desperate and briefly considered getting all domestic and just making my own damn wallet. This way, I thought, I’d get exactly what I wanted. But crafty as I can sometimes be, I quickly abandoned this idea as I’ve never sewn anything as fancy as a wallet before and it just seemed far too advanced for my limited home-ec skills.
Since sewing was out of the question, my next brilliant idea was to try to fix up the pouch I already had. After all, I loved that thing so why not at least try to restore it to its former beauty?
My first task was to give the fabric a good scrubbing. I did end up making the whites look a little less brown and a little more, well, not exactly white, but at least a little closer to something that resembled white (but really more of a jaundice-y yellow – I know, gross). But while I may have succeeded in making my dirty and tattered wallet somewhat cleaner, it was in fact still tattered.
At some point I began to realize that during the past few months my continued use of a wallet in such a state was the result of my slipping from the more acceptable “frugal zone” into the unacceptable “cheaper-than-a-mother-fucker zone.” Looking back, I knew I’d crossed the line when I started hiding my beat-down wallet from the judging eyes of others.
It was now (beyond) evident my poor shabby wallet couldn’t get any shabbier without literally falling apart on me and I had to finally relent and commit to finding a suitable replacement.
Let the Research Resume
Since finding a wallet in the stores was basically impossible, I spent an embarrassing amount of time shopping for a wallet online. And given that my last wallet put me out a whole dollar, I wasn’t willing to spend more than $25 on a new one. (Oh, who am I kidding – $10 was my cap. I mean c’mon, when a $1 wallet in Japan can last three years (though yeah, that was pushing it a bit) I just couldn’t justify spending more than ten times that. If only I could go back to Japan and buy another $1 wallet… of course the trip alone would cost me more than $25.)
I’m happy to report my research finally paid off and I found a wallet that was slim, cost less than $10 and had purrtee designs. (And men, they do have some more manly designs, too.) As a bonus, it was even made in the US.
Though I was initially looking for a smaller zippered pouch similar to the one I was replacing, I came across a minimalistic stretchy wallet and figured it might be just as small and pocketable. The one I ended up getting was “Day Dreaming Navy” by YAY Wallet:
My main concern with this style of wallet was that the elastic would eventually get too stretchy and my stuff would fall out. But I’ve had my wallet for about 6 months now and the elastic feels just like it did when I got it – nice and tight. (If anything it’s almost too tight and a bit hard to get the stuff out. But maybe that’s because I stuffed my driver’s license, some cash, my health insurance card, an ATM card and 2 credit cards into it – you can see my stuff in the wallet in the photo below).
The photos you see are of my own wallet about 6 months after getting it. The design still looks like new (and if you don’t like the one I chose, they actually have quite a few different designs to choose from) and the elastic is pretty thick so it seems like it’ll continue to hold up nicely.
I can’t say how long the wallet will continue to hold up and still look good, but for now I’m happy with my wee wallet.