When I was growing up, my parents kept a tall mug on top of my Dad’s dresser. Whenever he deposited their checks (this was way before direct deposit!), he would take out however much cash they thought they would need until the next pay cycle, and stash it in the mug.
Whenever their wallets were running low, they would grab a few bills from the mug. Since there weren’t ATMs either, this was the easiest way to get money!
Nowadays, I carry very little cash. I use credit cards for everything, but it’s not a bad thing. I’m a responsible credit card user. I don’t spend more than I can afford, and I pay off my balance in full each statement.
Since I’ve been constantly training lately — meeting friends for a run, heading to the pool, going for a ride — I got into the habit of putting my most-used items in a small change purse that attached to my keys. No need to bring my wallet and/or purse, I had everything I needed. License, credit card, pool pass and maybe even a little cash sometimes.
When I went on vacation a few weeks ago, I didn’t even bring my wallet, I just stuffed a few more things into my change purse. I continued using this as a downsized wallet for a week after vacation, too.
Then last Friday as I was heading out the door for work, I pulled my keys out of my purse and it was gone. My little change purse wasn’t in my bag or attached to the keys. But there was an empty ring still attached where it used to be.
I tried not to panic as I dug through my purse and searched my car, carefully scanning the pathway between my porch and driveway.
I was pretty sure I knew what happened. The night before, I had to pick up a few things at the supermarket. As I was leaving, I dropped my keys in the parking lot. And after I picked them up, I held them in the same hand as my grocery bag, heavy with jars of pasta sauce.
If the drop didn’t break it off, it could have given way as I crossed the parking lot, keys in hand.
Rather than heading off to work that morning, I went back to the store. I retraced my footsteps in the parking lot and searched the lost-and-found, but it was gone.
At this point, I had been using my mini-wallet for a while and it was pretty stuffed. I knew exactly what was in there …
I immediately called my credit card companies (I was carrying both Visa and Discover cards) to issue new numbers. (Totally quick and easy, by the way. Unfortunately this must happen a lot!)
Also lost: my FSA debit card (Can you believe charge $5 for a new card?), pool pass with four more swims left, a $5 bill, my ATM card, and a Visa gift card that still had about $85 on it. Yikes!
Once all the cards were taken care of, I headed over to the MVA (Maryland’s version of the DMV) to replace my license. Twenty dollars and 30 minutes later, I had a new license and headed off to work very late.
I had no money with me. I did have a Panera gift card in my actual wallet (still safe and sound!) just in case, but one of my co-workers covered me for pizza. My boss lent me $20 for gas to make sure I could make it home … it was going to be close! Of course I could have also gone to the bank and filled out a withdrawal form, but the branch of my bank nearest my office isn’t all that convenient. And the area is a little questionable. And there are usually long lines with people cashing their checks on Fridays …
At least my husband’s ATM still worked so we could get some cash for the weekend, but we had no credit cards since we use joint accounts. D’oh!
And then on Sunday, the supermarket called. Somebody had turned in my change purse.
Everything was still inside. Sure all the credit cards were canceled. But the $5 was still there. And even better, the Visa Gift Card! Untouched, still wrapped in a receipt as I left it. I’m thankful that it was turned in! Too bad it was found after I canceled all my cards, but I had to do it. Better to be safe!
We have survived all week without our credit cards. I can’t believed how unsettling it’s been. Not that I usually buy a lot during the week, but I like to know I can!
Thankfully, the new Visa and ATM cards arrived today. The others will be here soon.
Ahh. I feel better now.