A while ago I dumped the contents of my purse for all to see. I unwrapped my wallet and unclutched my handbag to reveal all the crap I carry with me daily. The tote tally was humbly humiliating, and I’m certain I will forever get email giggling over my lip gloss and snickering about my tampons. Blush.
My intention for doing this deed was to warn about the things we should never carry in our purse or wallet. Many agreed there are certain security, financial, and personal risks with a lost or stolen wallet and purse. So now I wonder, are there items we absolutely must carry with us at all times? Are there things that should be kept on our person when driving, biking, walking, and traveling? Could not carrying the right cards and identification cost us big bucks?
Here are ten things you should always carry in your purse or wallet:
1. Personal Identification:
Who are you? It’s kinda a famous song popularized by that crime scene show. But the question of “Who are you?” may just come up if you’re in an accident and cannot speak for yourself. So be sure to carry a driver’s license, or some other ID with you when outside of the house.
2. Emergency Contacts:
Carry a list of neatly printed emergency contacts. I hate to sound like a downer but if you are found or rescued from a terrible accident or crash, this list helps authorities contact those important to you. Be sure to list only local contacts, as friends and relatives miles away can do little to help you in the short term. List home, work, and cell phone numbers of your parents, partner, children, friends, and relatives.
3. Health Care Card:
In many countries one’s health card provides quick entrance into hospital care. If you’re terribly injured and need medical attention, having your health card available helps authorities. Some cards also contain important medical information about you, which may also aid medical staff in an emergency. If there’s one card you should never leave home without, it’s your health card.
4. Important Medical Information:
Do you have a medical condition rescue staff and medical doctors should know about? Are you allergic to penicillin, have diabetes, or depend on a pacemaker? Be sure to list all medical conditions so emergency staff can better access your medical needs right away. My mom has a pacemaker, and she carries this documentation with her at all times, just in case.
5. Essential Medications:
Be sure to carry life-saving medications with you. I’ll never forget the day I went for a group bike ride and one of my friends got stung by a bee. For most people a bee sting is a painful annoyance, but due to her deathly allergy she could have died. Because she carried her life-saving medication in an Epi-pen, I was able to administer her injection. Our group ride was over that day, but she’s with us to enjoy tomorrow. If you have essential medications, tell the people with you about them, and bring them along for the ride.
6. Notepad and Pen:
Make note of this, bring a notepad and pen with you. You never know when you’ll need to document pertinent information from an accident or crime scene. I’ve witnessed several accidents only to see the driver zoom away. Since I had my notepad, I was able to write down the license plate digits quickly. I also use my notepad to list grocery items, addresses, and blog post ideas. Using lists can help minimize store trips and decrease time spent in stores. Since I’m pretty forgetful, I love how my notepad remembers for me. Oh, and unlike a PDA, a notepad does not require batteries or charging, so it’s always available and ready.
7. One Credit Card:
You only need one credit card to cover your butt in case of emergency. My credit card came in very handy the day I needed a tow truck to take my auto away. I stalled on a busy roadway near Toronto, and had to get the car to the shop fast. So bring just one card with you, and not every store card you have. Getting a new pair Manolo Blahnik’s doesn’t count as an emergency situation, even if they are on sale.
8. Emergency Cash:
Carry a little stash of emergency cash with you always. You never know when plastic cannot help you. Credit card companies can occasionally give you the cold shoulder by putting a freeze on your account if they suspect fraud. So be sure to carry some cash if you need to fill up on gas or need a meal.
9. Cell Phone:
The Extra-Terrestrial being in the movie E.T. knew a thing or two about phoning home. If you’re ever in an alien situation, be sure to have your cell phone handy to phone home. Darn, that movie always makes me cry.
10. Road Side Assistance Card:
Do you drive a car? If so, best to keep your road side assistance card in your wallet or purse, not in your car. Why? ‘Cause if you’re locked out of your auto, how are you going to call for help? Unless you memorize your identification number, stay safe by stashing this card on your person and not in your glove compartment.
Not carrying the right things in your purse or wallet can really cost you. Am I just being paranoid? Does your bag boast emergency items? What are the essential items you carry?
Keeping your wallet or purse safe (series):