How Much Cash Should You Carry in Your Wallet and Why

From the time we found our first lucky penny to the day when we received our first credit card in the mail, storing currency and cards is an ongoing concern for many of us.

It should be easy, right? We need a certain amount of cash and a few cards to get us through the day and facilitate purchases of various types.

Still, things get over complicated quickly, and before we know it, our wallets are loaded with useless junk, and our cash is never where it should be.

Why is it so tricky to maintain order in our wallets when we live in a world of endless modern convenience? Let’s get back to basics and determine exactly how much cash we should keep on hand at all times, and explore some tips and techniques to make it all a bit easier.

The Perfect Amount Of Cash

When it comes to carrying cash, the more bills, the better, right? Wrong! There is an ideal amount of cash you want to keep with you wherever you go—not too much and not too little.

After searching every corner of the internet, taking polls, and gathering opinions, researchers found that $200 is the right amount of cash to take with you for the average excursion.

What’s so magical about the number 200? This amount of cash can cover you for most daily situations, whether it’s picking up groceries, filling the tank up with gas, grabbing some snacks from the convenience store, or tipping a server at a restaurant.

Even in this digital world, cash is still very powerful and dynamic. You simply never know what situations you may find yourself in, especially if you live in a heavily populated city. Maybe there’s an intriguing new food truck or a flea market that catches your eye as you mosey down the sidewalk. You better have some cash on hand if you want to partake.

So, does the average person carry $200 with them wherever they go? As it turns out, most folks are lacking in the cash department and are unprepared for what life has in store.

Nearly 50% of people have less than $50 cash in their pockets most of the time, while 30% have less than $100. Only around 10% of cash carriers have $200 or more in their wallets, which shows you that preparedness is truly rare!

The bottom line is that money talks in this world, and cash definitely speaks the loudest. There is no harm in carrying a bit more cash than you think is necessary, provided you take the right safety precautions and act smart with your money.

So, the next time you gather your gear and head for the door, make sure you are at least somewhat close to that magic $200 in your pocket. It’s unlikely you’ll use it all in one go, but that extra assurance and peace of mind are worth a lot in this wild world.



Bill Breakdown For Beginners


You’ve committed to following the $200 rule from this day forth, but what types of bills should you carry and why? It doesn’t seem smart to have a pair of $100 bills sitting in your pocket, and 200 one-dollar bills is even more ridiculous. It’s time to find a smart middle ground.


For starters, stick with twenties as your main form of cash. These bills will help you get out of most situations, purchase most meals, and even present some persuasion to influential folks who can get you into a bar or club.


Also, don’t underestimate fives and tens. These are the bills that you’ll throw down on the counter if you run into a shop for a bottle of water or a protein bar, and they can even cover you for a light beer or two at the end of the day.


Should you carry Benjamin Franklins with you wherever you go? That’s not the brightest idea since one lost bill can reduce your pocket money by more than half. If you’re going for the high-roller table at a casino or staying somewhat close to home, it’s okay to stack some 100s in your pocket, but for the daily carry, we don’t advise it.


Finally, let’s talk dollar bills. These are the most common form of paper money on the planet, but they’re also the least useful when it comes to everyday needs. How many purchases will truly only require one or two dollars at a time? Unless you’re at the county fair, it’s unlikely you need to walk around with more than a few dollar bills in your pocket.


If you notice your wallet filling up with singles, make a point to use them up in one go or file them away in an envelope when you get home to reduce bulk. Not only do they take up way too much space in your pocket for what they’re worth, but they also carry unspeakable amounts of germs from widespread circulation. Not interested!


What About Your Cards?


Now that you’re covered on the cash front, it’s time to talk cards. As the world moves away from paper currency, you’ve got to have at least a few cards on you at all times. There’s simply no getting around it.


With that in mind, you also don’t need a wallet stuffed with a crazy amount of plastic at all times. On an average day, you can get away with carrying your go-to debit card, one primary credit card, your main form of identification, and maybe a medical insurance card as well.


That’s a maximum of four or five cards to keep in your pocket when you leave the house, and many times you can do with even fewer.


Don’t rely too heavily on your cards, but be okay with swiping them here and there if you want to build up your credit and keep the points flowing. Just keep in mind that we tend to spend a bit less when we lay cash down on the table, so if you’re tightening the belt, it may be smarter to leave the plastic at home when you go out.



Carry Cash And Cards The Right Way


Times are changing fast with digital payments and cryptocurrency gaining traction, but you still need to carry your cash and cards securely and reliably.


If you’re more of an old soul, a leather bifold wallet will be your go-to device. These are known for carrying lots of goodies, so it’s the best pick for a big night out. Just don’t sit for too long with your bifold in your back pocket, or you risk throwing your back and hips out of alignment.


Love to be on the cutting edge of tech? A sleek, minimal smart wallet will be your best choice. Store plenty of cards in the secure compartment and simply click the button for quick-release and access. Plus, a fold-out folio makes it easy to carry cash.


Perhaps you’re all-in on cash, and a metal money clip is all you need in this world. Keep it in your front pocket, so nobody swipes it, and you’ll be in the clear.




There’s an art and science to carrying cash, and only you can determine through trial and error what the best amount is. Once you master the proper balance of cash, cards, and the right accessories, you’ll be unstoppable in the modern world.



About Ekster

Here at Ekster, we're in the business of making your life easier.

We started with upgrading the traditional leather wallet, making it easier to use and harder to lose. Now, we're taking on the rest of your essentials to make each day easier for you.

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