I have always had a bad relationship with wallets. It was just one more thing I had to carry because there was no way to keep IDs and money organized in my pocket on its own. After one of my wallets wore to the point of me actually throwing it away, I decided I’d try to make the most efficient wallet ever. Not with leather or Duct Tape, but with something that could do the job of holding my cards/cash together without getting in the way of me trying to get things in and out of it.
I started with a rubber band (in a cross shape) holding my cards together. Thus was born the band wallet v0.1, at least for me, I didn’t know about the money band until writing this article. This worked pretty well but every 3-4 weeks I’d have to replace the rubber band because it would wear out and break. No big deal because rubber bands cost almost nothing.
The breakage wasn’t a big deal but I decided there had to be something stronger, something that would last longer. I found hair ties (the cloth bands with a fixed metal clasp) to not break like rubber bands and could typically last 4-6 months. This was a huge step in the right direction and the cloth band was easier to move out of the way than rubber. (band wallet v0.3)
I used this wallet for 2+ years. It was great and I told everyone about it. I had convinced a couple friends to also use it as a wallet and after about 3 months of my friend using it he made an additional tweak to the design by putting the band over two corners which helped in getting cards in and out. He also used a thick rubber band instead of a hair tie or thin rubber band which let the wallet last for 6+ months. (band wallet v0.5)
The latest incarnation of the band wallet takes another step forward for efficiency and also another step for longevity. It was discovered, by another friend, that not all rubber bands are created equal. Produce rubber bands are made out of a more durable rubber and are the perfect size for holding cards. The band wallet has now reached version 1.0 thanks to some crowd sourcing and design tweaking. It also has gone from something that I’d have to replace 1-2 times a year (and possibly pay for) to something that, so far, hasn’t been replaced once and hasn’t cost me an extra penny. The single wrap around the cards also helps with getting cards/cash in and out.
So what do I put in my band wallet? Here’s the quick breakdown because I have found this combination to be very efficient for everything I need.
- Drivers license and work ID
- Payment cards (debit and credit)
- Insurance cards (health and auto)
- Proof of car insurance (good to have if you drive a friends car or a rental)
- Whitelines A5 Squared paper*
- Toool lockpick set
*I love Whitelines paper because it works well when photographing and emailing the pages. In my wallet I carry 5-10 sheets of squared paper cut to roughly card size. I use this for ideas and notes I want to write down when I’m out and also use it for business cards if someone needs my email/number. I also carry one full size A5 sheet of paper (folded) for notes that won’t fit. I highly recommend carrying paper around if you often get ideas that need pictures or diagrams instead of just text.