Put Your Wallet On A Diet: Tips For Avoiding The Dreaded "Costanzawallet"

Dumb Little Man has some tips for you super Costanzawallet dudes. Deep in your heart you know you don’t want to carry around a wallet this big. Aside from causing you to list to port whenever you sit down, carrying around a complete record of your financial transactions since the mid-80′s is not wise.

We like the tips, but one caveat: Don’t carry condoms in your wallet for long periods of time. Friction will rub tiny holes in the condom and then you’ll end up like Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, except you’ll be way less funny and charming and your life won’t be written by Judd Apatow.

Slim Down The Wallet! [Dumb Little Man]
(Photo:kylemac)

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  1. Thrust says:

    Roots makes this real great wallet (available thru Hudsons Bay Co.) designed for carrying only plastic. It’s slim, made of real good durable leather. Holds 5 cards on the left pockets, one piece of ID behind a clear window on the right, and has pockets behind the left 5-pack and rightside ID where you can keep folded bills (doesn’t actually have the bill part in the middle). Very compact and doesn’t have space to keep more than a half-week’s worth of reciepts.

  2. bilge says:
  3. ancientsociety says:

    Costanzawallet. LOL

  4. Thrust says:

    @bilge: Sweet zombie Jesus! Lookit the size of the “Regular Wallet” Put one of those in a child’s seat pocket on either side and you’ll never need booster seats for them.

    Though the bifold one that site is tryin to sell is a con job. It’s thinner because it’s twice as tall, but the pics try to hide that. So instead of a wallet in the back pocket, you’ll have this half-sticking-out folded thing that just screams “Steal me”. And whoever has 30 cards in their wallet needs to see a financial planner and a shrink.

    I’ve got hmmm. 7, and one of them is paper.

  5. Observer2121 says:

    Why not just use the Seinfeld man purse?

    No matter how thin a wallet I have there is always more stuff I need to carry, school ID, work ID, drivers license, health insurance cards, old pictures, business cards etc etc. We definately need a new system for men to carry their crap, the fanny pack was a step in the right direction but c’mon a ‘fanny’ pack? What were they thinking? Maybe something that looks like a holster would work.

  6. Thrust says:

    @Observer2121: Saw a Cthulhu fanny pack. Just don’t stand behind people or you might get accused of tentacle rape.

  7. ARP says:

    I follow these rules and carry a front pocket wallet. Dopp makes a few of them. Mine has a front clear ID window, slots for a few credit cards and one larger slot for the rest of it (I carry my insurance cards and CTA pass) Works great for me.

  8. bohemian says:

    Sitting on a wallet can cause some really serious back problems. The medical bills to undo it are not cheap.

    My husband started getting really bad lower back and hip problems from sitting on a wallet all day. He quit keeping it in his back pocket and most of his back problems are gone.

    Cargo pants and those vests full of pockets seem to come in handy. But you run the risk of looking like an embedded reporter in Iraq.

  9. unarmedn00b says:

    I have a Jimi. 4 cards plus a couple of bills pretty much forces me to carry just the basics.

    [www.thejimi.com]

  10. Daemon_of_Waffle says:

    You’ve got more cow here, than here…

  11. bilge says:

    @Thrust:
    The original is taller, but it still fits comfortably in a back pocket without sticking out.

    I used to have one of the originals, now use a “European.” With eight cards and a few bills, it’s still thinner than my empty old leather wallet.

  12. quagmire0 says:

    @ARP: I’ve got the same thing. I rarely carry cash these days – I’d much rather use my card and get rewards! Also, having such a huge wallet in your back pocket is a literal pain in the arse.

  13. ToonArmyPA says:

    Man, and I thought *I* invented the 1-2-2! I’ve been using a Dopp front-pocket wallet since December, after developing serious pains in my lower back. Although my “brick” wasn’t quite of Costanzish proportions, I still needed to make some decisions. The ensuing wallet evisceration left only the following:

    *License
    *Debit card
    *Credit card
    *AAA card
    *Health insurance card
    *3-4 business cards (for scrap notepaper)
    *Some cash

    The remaining offal (grad student ID, “emergency” credit card, video rental cards, grocery discount cards, etc.) was either thrown away or left in my old wallet and stashed in the glove compartment of my car. I had to really think about what I use on a daily basis (or for that matter, even weekly or monthly – as I was doing this, it struck me that I hadn’t rented a DVD in months, yet I was carrying around cards from 2 different stores every day).

    Now I just carry the Dopp, keys, my cell phone, and one of these pens – anything else goes in my briefcase bag (work keys/ID, etc.). I haven’t even used my back pants pockets in months, and my lower back pain was gone in under 2 weeks.

  14. MeOhMy says:

    @Thrust: The All-Ett really does work. They are designed to be in a front pocket, not sticking out of your back pocket. The wallet appears thinner not just because it’s bigger (it is) but because the material is so thin.

    I use the All-Ett traveler when I’m traveling and it’s amazing how even stuffed with 2 passports, cards and cash it’s not even noticeable.

    For everyday I use the All-Ett mini which is closer in size to a “normal” wallet. Fully loaded, this wallet is still thinner than an empty leather wallet.

    There’s no scam…it really does work. I looked at other “minimalist” wallets like the Jimi. But like Observer2121, I need to carry more than just 2 credit cards and a $20. The All-Ett holds everything I need in much less space.

  15. MeOhMy says:

    @bilge: LOL…when did they rename the Mini to the European? This is a particularly stupid change – try putting Euro banknotes in your All-Ett “European” and you’ll see what I mean.

  16. BeastMasterJ says:

    ARP and QUAGMERI0 have it right. Carring a wallet in the front pocket as opposed to the back one is For The Win. I like to carry around a lot of things, like 2 credit cards, health ins. and blood donor cards, driver’s license, punch cards from various venders, spare car key, etc. and packing it in the front lets me carry even more, while avoiding all back problems, plus, makeing it more difficult for pickpockts to get to.

    Seriously guys, give the front pocket a chance. You’ll like it. Small scraps of paper are the only good use for the back pocket.

  17. bilge says:

    @Troy F.: But it sounds soooo sophisticated!

  18. kelmeister says:

    I know this Fossil wallet is for women, but as a woman who hates purses, it’s great for the essentials. I’ve been using one for years. There’s a plastic window on the back, and I’ve had as many as ten cards in the snap pocket. The caveat is that you have to fold your bills in the zip pocket, but it holds change, too. It can get bulky if you don’t empty it every once in a while, but it’s great in the front pocket.

  19. dieman says:

    Koyono Slimmy is the only wallet you need.

    [www.koyono.com]

  20. Gloria says:

    The wallet I’ve owned for years doesn’t even have a place for bills. I carry a couple of twenties for whenever I need cash and fold them up to slip in with the cards.

    I definitely need to cut down on payment cards (2 debit, 2 credit), but don’t forget some of us need things like a student ID, a library card, and a transit pass, along with staples like a driver’s license. It can add up.

  21. Vicky says:

    I just use a leather business card holder, and even filled up (5 cards and $21 right now) it’s thinner than my Razr. On a normal day I only carry 2 cards to simplify my life.

    To my way of thinking, if the trouble of replacing the card outweighs the trouble of not having it when you need it, it doesn’t travel with me. I mean, seriously, when am I going to need my Paypal debit card in a pinch?

  22. Vicky says:

    @Gloria: When I was in college we could encode our building access, credit card, debit card, meal plan, library card, and bus pass right onto our student IDs at no charge. I miss those days – that was such a good idea.

  23. losifer says:

    Right back pocket: A wallet from TinyMeat. It’s a very thin, laminated plastic wallet, and holds:
    -Cash
    -DL
    -Check card
    -Health and Vehicle insurance

    Left back pocket: A card holder, again from TinyMeat. Half the profile of the wallet, and holds:
    -One credit card
    -Transit card
    -Elevator card for work
    -Gym card
    -Library card

    Result: two very thin wallets, symmetrical seating. I never even know they’re there.

    One complaint: the wallet is too tall, and could stand to lose 3/4″ off the top. It only needs to be as tall as a dollar bill. Maybe I’ll cut and re-sew.

    My other two credit cards live at home and don’t get used, except for emergencies.

  24. BarelyFitz says:

    @bilge: I switched to the All-ETT too, it’s sweet.

  25. etinterrapax says:

    Man, am I glad I can carry a purse. When on campus, I’m strictly a tote bag kind of girl, but motherhood has caved me on the purse issue. My actual wallet, though, is nothing more than a leather card case I once got as a gift-with from Levenger. It has a window for the license, and three pockets altogether. Assuming you don’t stretch it out, it’s just the right size for a front pocket.

    I’m so glad you guys brought up the Costanzawallet. That’s one of my favorite gags from that series.

  26. elduque says:

    That episode is on TBS right. Now.

  27. balthisar says:

    I’ve been a front-pocket wallet carrier for years — probably since I first started using wallets. I get the Costanzawallet mostly from stuffing receipts into it. Aside from that, I’ve got a small sample of business cards, my car insurance paper, couple of credit cards (work’s and mine) plus ATM card, my drivers license, my wife’s ID, both our health insurance cards, both our dental insurance cards, one grocery points card, AAA card, AAA arrest bond certificate, my SCUBA card (if I remember, I’m gonna take it out), some token cash, and probably some other stuff I can’t remember off hand (yeah, that’s just the stuff from memory).

  28. lihtox says:

    I’ve always carried a (quite normal) wallet in my front pocket; I don’t understand why one would need a special wallet to do this.

  29. AcidReign says:

        I was given a nice Christian Dior leather billfold, oh, back during Ronald Reagan’s second term. I’m still using it. It’s somewhat worn-looking, but not terribly so. It’s been through about five plastic picture-dealies, though. Those things do not last…

        The trick is NOT to sweat on your wallet. Playing tennis? Find somewhere to stow that sucker. I have a locker at work. Wallet goes there. I’ve got a shoulder-holster-like thing that the wallet goes in when I’m at the mall or downtown, under my shirt, to confound pickpockets.

        When a wallet hurts to sit on, it’s time to prune.

  30. Jesse in Japan says:

    In Japan, virtually every department store, no matter how tiny, has it’s own point card that allows you to earn gift certificates after spending a certain amount of money there. At least once a month, they have double points days and at least once a year, triple point days. I don’t see why more American stores don’t do this (without turning it into a credit card with fees), because it really does encourage me to spend more money on those sale days.

    Combine this with the fact that every hospital and doctor’s office in Japan requires you to have your own patient card (shinsatsuken), and there’s no way in hell my wallet is losing any weight any time soon.

  31. Matthew says:

    I carry a couple pieces of plastic and a Metrocard with bills wrapped around it, secured by a medium-sized one of those office clip things. I’ve busted a couple pretty money clips from overuse (or too fat a wad! Probably not) and my current system, which I’ve used for several years now, is hands down superior.

  32. Matthew says:

    Oh, it’s also cheap to the point of almost being free. Which, you know, I’d pay for a nice wallet if anyone made one that could outperform this clip. But no one does.

  33. Wasabe says:
  34. Havok154 says:

    @bohemian:
    I think you just pin-pointed the cause of my back/side and hip pains. I never even thought of the wallet being the problem, but now that I think of it, I do feel relieved when I take it out. It’s pretty thin too.

    I’m going to try and keep it out of my back pocket as much as possible for the next week and see how I feel. I mean, I shouldn’t be having back issues in my mid-20′s, at least I wouldn’t think I should.

  35. EtherealStrife says:

    I have to agree with some of the previous posters, the IDs can add up if you’re in government employ or are attending college. My own fossil has lasted me quite a few years without any degradation, but the coin section can get massive if I don’t use change for a week or so.

    Thanks for the just one card reminder, I’ve been meaning to make the switch and remove some of those accursed club cards.

  36. Tombfyre says:

    I’ve always had luck with just a regular old wallet with a built in coin pouch. Currently I’ve got an El’Cheapo American Tourister brand one on the go. Fairly simple, room for 3-6 cards on the left, and the coin pouch on the right. And under each side is a sleeve for stacked cards or important notes. I put my less-frequently used things in there.

    The coin pouch is damn handy too, as it tends to avoid ones change always falling out of your pocket. Plus its got a full-sized area for bills, and its segmented so you can keep recipts sepperate and whatnot. All in all, its only an inch thick with all my stuff in it, and smaller than my hand. Fits well in a front pocket. No back pain for me!

  37. welsey says:

    Guys, for the daytime just carry around small messenger bags or backpacks to put your massive wallets in. Many of my friends do it and they don’t have to worry about back problems or exploding wallets. If it’s too formal or business to have a bag, that’s the time for your minimal wallet. For day-to-day stuff I think you’d be alright with a messenger bag, it’s a look you should embrace! But like the Costanzawallet, Jerry’s “european” carryall is to be avoided as well.

    Also my boyfriend was so mad when I told him that thing about condoms and wallets early in our relationship…

  38. zeiche says:

    You shouldn’t store a condom in your wallet for any length of time.

  39. MonsieurBon says:

    I too use the binder clip to hold my cards and money. It’s able to handle much more than any money clip I ever had, even though I only keep a few cards, ID, and cash in it. You can get a silver one at work for free. :) Or buy a box for $1.49.

  40. br549xt93 says:

    That looks just like my boyfriend’s wallet…except for the money.

  41. Alan Thomas says:

    Ditto on the all-ett. It took a bit of getting used to , but mind has proved very durable and very compact.

  42. sternlight says:

    After going through a gazillion leather wallets, some expensive, some not, I finally found the “holy grail” of wallets, DB Clay (check out Google). It is made of gaffer’s tape, well sewn, and seems to hold its shape and wear better than any leather wallet I’ve ever owned. I keep mine in the back pocket and sit on it all the time–no problem. mine is simple black, but because of the material, they have it in all kinds of patterns. Reasonably priced as well.

  43. a_m_m_b says:

    @Thrust: omg! i gotta get me one of those.

  44. Betty-Boop says:

    My husband carries his Costanzawallet in the rear right pocket of his jeans. Within weeks of getting a new pair of jeans he’ll have a worn spot–which soon turns into a hole–on the lower, butt-crack side of that pocket.

    I’ve tried to get him to whittle down his wallet, but to no avail. My solution: Before his new jeans are even introduced to the wallet, I get a denim iron-on patch and reinforce the aforementioned area.

  45. startertan says:

    I switched over to a money clip years ago (about Sophomore year of college…99?). I used to carry around all sorts of cards, pictures, etc. It was all useless, now all I have is my driver’s license, 2 credit cards, 1 bank card (which I could probably leave at home anyway) and my BJs card (I go there for gas). The only time it’s a problem is when I’m carrying lots of cash and even then you just put the clip around 1 layer of cash instead of the folded half of cash. Also becomes a problem if you’re not carrying enough but my new clip solves that. It has a hinged fatter section that folds down. Plus a clip makes my bulbous @ss look that much smaller! Money clip FTW!!!

  46. ravana says:

    I use the Smart Money Clip that I found on Amazon. Works really well for me.

    I carry an average of about $200 in the clip & on the reverse license, debit, credit & insurance cards in the slot. It can hold 1 or 2 more cards if needed.

    The other advantage of not having to sit on your wallet is that you don’t get wallet-wear on your pants!

  47. Gloria says:

    @Vicky: Neat, but are you talking about the campus libraries? I have a separate card for the public library system (which incorporates a copy card). My student ID includes most of the things you listed, except for the bus pass (again, totally separate entity).

  48. crichardson79 says:

    Good tips. Lets get rid of Cash all together. I used my debt card the other day to pay .07 cents.

  49. Trackback says:

      Chris Rock was absolutely hi-larious in Vanity Fair: Day Two Left the comfort of Johannesburg and drove into Soweto. There’s nothing like the poverty I saw in Soweto. Imagine the worst ghetto in America. Now set it on fire.