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We all know the catch phrase from those credit card commercials but can you actually answer the question? Do you really know what is in your wallet, ladies what about your purse? A key piece of managing your personal finances is to identify what it is you need to manage. The easiest place to start identification is where you use money the most, your wallet. Right now I want each one of you take your wallet out, our empty your purse and list out everything you have in it right now. Here is my list:

  1. Drivers license
  2. Expired Insurance Card
  3. Sam’s Club Card
  4. Staples Rewards Card
  5. Marriott Rewards Card
  6. Thrifty Rewards Card
  7. Drug Card (No Good, I don’t even have that insurance anymore)
  8. Priority Club Rewards Card
  9. Professional Association Membership Cards X 4
  10. 1 X Business Card (
  11. 3X Debit Cards
  12. Personal Credit Card
  13. Work Travel Card
  14. Library Card
  15. Flex Spending Card
  16. Library Card
  17. Health Insurance Card
  18. Dental Insurance Card
  19. Coffee Rewards Card
  20. Lunch Eatery Rewards Card
  21. 2 X Business Cards (
  22. Infragard Membership Card
  23. McDonalds Gift Card
  24. $3 Cash
  25. Food City Value Card
  26. ~6 Receipts

HOLY CRAP! That was a lot of shtuff in there. No wonder I am always uncomfortable sitting down. Now look at your list and of everything on it, what do you really need to carry around with you? I don’t travel as much as I used to for work so I really don’t need any of those rewards cards or my travel card in my wallet. So what made it back into my wallet?

  1. License
  2. Sam’s Club Card
  3. Expired Insurance Card ( I can’t find my curent one )
  4. 2 X Debit Cards ( I just closed one account)
  5. Personal Credit Card
  6. Coffee Rewards Card
  7. Lunch Rewards Card
  8. 4 X Business Cards ( hey I made room
  9. Health Insurance Card
  10. Dental Insurance Card
  11. McDonalds Gift Card
  12. $3 Cash

I was able to eliminate over half of the crap in my wallet. That is how much extra stuff I was carrying around that I didn’t need. Sure some of the stuff I took out is useful but only in specific situations so there is no reason to keep it on me all the time.

This was just the first part of this exercise. From here we can start to expand our inventory and look at the things in our homes, our cars, and our portfolios that are excess baggage we don’t need to carry around. Once you list everything out you can easily identify what is providing value to you and what is weighing you down. I had no idea I had all of that stuff in my wallet until last night when I wrote this post, I am scared and excited to start taking inventory of the rest of my life and eliminating the excess baggage.

So readers what’s in your wallet/purse? Leave a comment and let us know what you have going on.

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You have home insurance to cover the costs you may incur in the event something happens to your home. Fire could ravage your home and render it and all the things inside it worthless and in most cases gone completely.

If something like this were to happen to you would your insurance company give you the accurate value for the contents of your home or just what they think you deserve. If someone broke into your house and ran off with your TV would you be able to claim it if the police recovered it? An even better question should be whether or not the insurance coverage you have will even pay enough to replace everything if you knew what you had.

For these reasons it is imperative that you create a home inventory. The home inventory is essentially a listing of everything you own and where possible how much you paid for it. The more detailed information you can provide the better off you are going to be. For the items you can’t find the exact purchase price it helps to have model and serial numbers on record. These details will not only help to determine replacement cost they will also aid you identifying any stolen items from your home.

You can choose to create your inventory based on the category your items are in or the room where the item resides. Either way you want to make a complete listing of the items for future reference. Include the DVD’s the furniture, HDMI cables, etc. Every item of value. Accurately listing out your items ensures you will get appropriate compensation in the unfortunate event it needs to replaced. I would suggest starting by room and listing each and every item you own. If possible take photos of each of the items and include the date of purchase and where it came from. Some typical items, by room, might include:

Living Room

Coffee Table
End Table
Panasonic 52″ TV Serial XFDET3 HDTV

Dining Room

Grandma’s Fine China (Photo’s)
Dining Table
Eight Chairs
China Cabinet
Buffet Table

Anyway you get the idea. The key here is to make your inventory complete and include as much information about each of the items as you can. If your desk is made of exotic zebra wood make sure you include that tidbit of information. I can assure you that desk would cost a lot more than the one I am using right now.

There are plenty of options for entering and maintaining your home inventory. One of the simplest, and most affordable, options is to utilize a simple spreadsheet and digital photgraphs. There is also an abundance of home inventory software on the market. Quicken offers a Home Inventory Manager which will set you back around $30.  Whether you choose to purchase home inventory software, or utilize some of the free home inventory software options like Know Your Stuff from the Insurance Information Institute the most important thing is to store your inventory off site. If you happen to be an iPhone owner there is an iPhone App I reviewed called Home Inventory you could utilize as well.

Maintaining a perfect inventory of your belongings won’t do you any good if it is in the filing cabinet or on the hard drive of a computer that were in the home that was just destroyed.

Get out there and get inventorying.

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