Hi everyone, this is a guest post from CreditcardGenius, the mastermind behind this useful website is Stephen, who is a long time blogging buddy of mine, we go back almost 10 years when he started HowtoSaveMoney.ca! He’s here to talk about what a minimalist wallet means and how it can fit into your lifestyle.
To some, minimalism may seem like a fad. But, in reality, learning to live with less is key to living a wholesome, meaningful life.
Minimalism is about making the most of each item, being mindful, and appreciating the intangible things in life, like experiences over material items.
And, perhaps ironically, the same principles can apply to your wallet –especially your credit cards.
Related: Transunion vs Equifax, why the difference between scores?
Personal finance and minimalism
How do credit cards tie into minimalism? We take a look at 3 different profiles.
For the credit card hoarder
If you have multiple credit cards, some of which barely ever see the light of day, perhaps it’s time to KonMari your wallet.
Many credit cards have annual fees, which can be worth it if you’re spending enough on the card. Otherwise? You’re just paying for a piece of plastic to collect dust in your wallet.
For the seasoned minimalist
Minimalism may encourage buying less items, but try as we may, there are some things we can’t live without. For example, groceries and gas (if you commute regularly and don’t have an electric car) are basic necessities that we’ll always need.
Why not get rewarded for the purchases you’re already making anyway?
For the overspender
It may seem backwards to suggest having a credit card on your minimalist journey, especially if you’ve struggled with debt at some point in your life. Getting rid of all your credit cards may feel like the right thing to do.
But, with responsible use, credit cards can be extremely beneficial, and can actually help you along your way to making the most out of everything you have.
Benefits of having a credit card
Here are our top reasons why keeping a credit card can be beneficial, even for the minimalist.
The most obvious benefit that comes from having a credit card is the rewards you can earn on your purchases. This can tie in well in your minimalism journey by indirectly helping you save on those necessary purchases.
For the travel lover, a travel rewards credit card can help pay for flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and more. So you can spend less and still enjoy unforgettable experiences.
For the bargain hunter, a cash back credit card can put some of that money right back into your wallet without even lifting a finger.
And for anything in between, flexible rewards credit cards can meet you halfway and give you the best of both worlds.
Great-to-have extras and perks
Along the same lines as rewards, credit card perks are there to make your life easier. Things like complimentary roadside assistance, companion flight vouchers (so you can bring a special someone on your travels with you), concierge service, and many more bonus benefits
Insurance, just in case
When reducing the amount of purchases you make throughout your minimalist journey, it’s inevitable that you’ll start thinking about each item more. You’ll want to make sure what you are purchasing is in line with your values, has the best quality-price ratio, and will last you a long time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some sort of insurance coverage on those items in case they break, go on sale, or get damaged?
This is where credit cards come in. Nearly all credit cards with have some basic form of insurance for your purchases and travels. And some even include mobile device protection if your cell phone breaks.
Things to look out for
That being said, the biggest takeaway is this: credit cards are only beneficial to you when used responsibly.
Once more for the people in the back:
Credit cards are only beneficial to you when used responsibly.
They should never be treated as extra income, and should be paid off in full each month. Otherwise, all the rewards you’ll be earning will be lost in interest payments.
Finding the perfect credit card fit for you
As with most things, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all credit card made for everyone’s minimalist wallet.
The right credit card for you will be tailor-made based on your preferences, goals, and aspirations, and will help you get to where you want to be financially.
creditcardGenius.ca is a purely math-based credit card comparison engine, comparing over 50 features of over 180 Canadian credit cards, so you can maximize your rewards.Rate Your Wallet is their 3-minute quiz that tells you if your card is worth the keep.
I think I am a credit card hoarder and do not have a minimalist wallet. I found the Scotiabank Amex card in my wallet just yesterday and I had cancelled this card months ago! I meant to cut it up but I guess it is still in there. I also have a tendency to apply to a lot of temporary cards for the purpose of travel hacking or credit card hacking. I wanted to cancel some of them but am waiting to use the lounge access but that means we have to book a flight first, lol. So they continue to sit in my wallet. 🙂
Which minimalist style do you have when it comes to your wallet and credit cards?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.
6 thoughts on “The Minimalist Wallet – How Credit Cards Fit in the Picture”
All of my credit cards are cash back rewards and I try to limit the number of cards I own. So I probably fall into the seasoned minimalist and in the bargin hunter category for taking advantage of credit card rewards since I’m all about cash back. Like you said as long as your responsible on spending and paying off your credit cards every month, you will enjoy your credit card rewards without the worry of being in debt.
@Kris- I am surprised you haven’t taken advantage of the Chase Sapphire yet? I mean, a ticket to Hawaii for $11.20, you can’t beat that! The credit card deals in the US are amazing. I just cancelled a card yesterday, my wallet is getting so big I can’t close it now haha. Too many cards!
I have heard people say if you cancel one of your credit cards, it can affect your credit score. Is that true ?
@Athi- Yes, it can. Especially a credit card with a long history (eg. one you’ve had for 10 years that you’ve been good at paying off). There are lots of factors that affect the credit score and this is just one of them.
Might as well be getting points for every purchase. Having more credit cards actually helps your credit score as long as you aren’t spending more just because you have them…
@Ryan- Credit utilization FTW!