I've run into a few things on the interwebs recently that got me to thinking about my purse... so I figured I'd show it to you:
Yup folks, this and a phone is all that I carry.
It wasn't always this way. Years ago I was one of those women who lugged around a huge bag with everything but the kitchen sink in it.
Then one day, the unthinkable happened. It got stolen. It was nothing terribly dramatic like getting mugged or something - it was taken from under my desk in my private office at work.
But let me tell you folks... it was a total nightmare!
Thankfully, at the time we had a number of rooms in the music school that were kept locked, so I had a habit of carrying my keys in my pocket - if not for that, it could have been much, much worse.
As it was, by the time I got home and called my credit card companies, several thousand dollars had been charged to my accounts. I immediately froze all of the accounts and thankfully didn't have to pay for the charges.
But that's just the beginning of the nightmare. I had been to the bank earlier that day, and had requested a printout of all of my account balances. So my purse had all of the account numbers with balance info in it, as well as my checkbook.
I called the bank and immediately froze all of my accounts - as well as calling the credit agencies and freezing everything from that end.
So now the real nightmare began.
Everything had been in my purse... EVERTYHING - and now it was gone. I had no ID, I had no cash, I had no access to my bank accounts or credit cards, and I found myself caught in an infinite loop of sorts, because without ID, there was no way to un-freeze any of my accounts or start the process of re-building. And there was also no way to replace my ID without other forms of ID - all of which had also been in my purse.
The only way forward was to get a certified copy of my birth certificate. Now, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I was born during a stint when my father was teaching at the University of Hawaii. We moved back to the mainland when I was an infant, but this fact significantly complicated the process of getting a certified copy of my birth certificate. I looked on the State of Hawaii webpage, and they said they could get me one in a few hours if I came into the office.... well... um... let's see, I'll just hop on a plane without any money... um nope!
I ended up requesting the birth certificate by mail, but I had to pay $14 or so... and my checking account had been frozen... I ended up borrowing some cash from CatMan and getting a cashier's check to pay for the birth certificates - which took several weeks to arrive. (And yes... in case you're curious, it looks just like Obama's - we were born in the same hospital.)
Oh, but the joy was just beginning. I had all of my paychecks automatically deposited into my checking account, and all of my bills automatically withdrawn. The account had to be closed permanently, and thus began the process of contacting every institution that I paid bills to out of that account and redoing the entire process... plus dealing with the bills that hadn't gotten paid in the weeks that it took to get the birth certificate so I could get a replacement driver's license, so I could open a new checking account to start over.
Anyhow, the whole experience was horrible enough, that I decided to make some changes.
The first thing I did was to get rid of the purse! I decided that anything as important as a credit card or my driver's license was going to stay on my person whenever I was out of the house. The little coin purse pictured above works perfectly. It's just big enough to carry a few cards and some cash, but small enough to fit nicely into a pocket.
This does mean that I need to pick my clothing carefully to ensure that I have adequate pockets (preferably pockets with zippers), but that's a small price to pay for never having to go through the whole stolen purse thing again.
The other change I made was to stop carrying everything important with me. I actually opened a second checking account that I call my spending account. I only keep a few hundred bucks in there at any given time, and I have a debit card for that account that I carry with me - no check book. My "main checking account" still has everything automatically deposited and deducted, but that checkbook lives in a locked box in a safe place in my house, and NOTHING with that info on it ever leaves the house.
I also keep some emergency cash in a safe place at home, and only carry one credit card with me - the others stay in the lock box at home.
When I first made these changes I thought it would be a huge inconvenience, but the truth is, it is just SO MUCH EASIER! You never have to worry about leaving it somewhere, or deal with the thing sliding off your shoulder, or lugging it around. I think it's safe to say that I will never go back!
So how about you? Do you carry a big purse with you? Have you ever had it stolen? What do you think about this whole topic?