The Great Wallet Experiment

I know I’m not the only one who has been confounded by which size planner to use. As you have read in my last post, I’m guilty of going here there and everywhere (and back again) when it comes to searching for the ever elusive Planner Nirvana.

Twice before I have attempted to use a Pocket Filofax. Both attempts were with a mind toward making it a combination every-day, stand alone planner and a wallet.  Both met with various degrees of failure.

I even, lured in by blog posts about Mini’s, tried one of those.  My eyesight is still recovering from that debacle.

This time around…because giving up is for sane people…it hit me to leave my every-day Filofax be (currently a Personal size Ochre Malden with Franklin Covey 1 day per page “Monticello” inserts, for those of you keeping track) and try using a Pocket as a wallet only.


As Gru would say, “Light bulb!”

And seriously, if you haven’t seen Despicable Me yet, go see it. Right now. Even if you are an adult with no kids. Just do it.  I’ll wait.

Oh, and this post is gonna be loooooooong and require some thinking on your part, so also why don’t you go pee, fix yourself a drinkie-poo and get comfy.

Ready?  Good.

So anyway, it occurred to me that I don’t open my wallet up when I need to schedule an event, and I don’t reach for my planner when I need toll money.  Therefore, why not put together a Pocket Filo to serve as  JUST a wallet (with only a very minor planner function), rather than trying to force it to be all things to all people.

Or, in this case, just me.

Et voila! Behold, a very organized wallet was born.

This whole thing started because, thanks to someone wonderful, I found out had a Pocket Malden in Ochre coming my way and I really, really, really wanted to use this amazing and generous gift daily, to both demonstrate my gratitude and positively reinforce the habit of giving me presents : )

But, you know me, I lack all things even remotely related to patience, so I got out my planner bin and found a suitable practice Filo to use in the mean time, thus honing my set up for when the Ochre Pocket Malden finally did arrive.

I chose, because I am a total lemming, the Pocket Chameleon in black.

Ironically, I had purchased this initially to use as an every-day planner, but didn’t do my homework thoroughly enough and failed to notice the ring size is only 5/8″ and therefore too small for a full year of 1 page per day inserts. Into the bin it went.

Lo and behold, last night it came back out, precisely because of those smaller rings! Nice and compact for a wallet, I thought.

One thing I really love about the Chameleon (in general, but especially on something I was intending to use as a wallet) is that the peen loop is on the left…conveniently away from the zip compartment, which in this case will hold my change.

Other features I love are the fact that it is all leather and the high number of card slots (5 for the Pocket & 6 for the Personal respectively).

The only downside I could find is that the zip pocket construction makes the zipper pull (which is tiny) hard to get at. But a quick addition of some bling solved that.

A rogue cell phone charm doubles as a zipper pull

Here is a teaser of my set up (which I will detail later…promise) in the black Chameleon Pocket; pay close attention, as there will be a quiz later. Ok, maybe not a quiz…but definitely a poll.

The Chameleon open. Love all the card slots!

I know, it's blurry. But here it is on its side with its skinny rings.

Open. Doesn't quite lay flat, but who's a wallet

All fine and good, but then after a couple of hours I said to myself  “Self, what happened to your craving for color?” And I had to agree with myself, so I got out my much-loved Aqua Fins.

The plus for wallet-dom here is that it has that groovy ID window inside the front cover. And the color is way more funky.

What is lacking are card slots (only 2, aside from the ID window) and, annoyingly enough, the pen loop is directly in the way of the zip pocket. Fine if you’re toting around band aids or hair elastics and the like, kind of a pain in the bum if you need to get in & out of it frequently for change for the meter or quick like a bunny in the check out line at a shop.  Also, fatter rings (3/4″) and thus a larger footprint in my bag.

Here is what the wallet will look like in the Aqua Fins:

Love this Filo! Glad I nabbed it, because now they are hard to find.

Open. Pretend the JetPens card is my ID...

Side view. Again it doesn't lay flat. And again...I don't care!

So, because  as Popeye said, ‘I yam what I yam’, I brought both with me to work today, and have probably switched between them four times now. Not because I am certifiably insane, but because both have aspects that I want in a wallet and I can’t make up my mind.

I had assumed I would have a week or so to mull over these two practice options.

Wrong. Way too easy.

Just to throw a wrench in the works, the Ochre Malden arrived today, far earlier than I ever imagined it would.

What I adore about the Malden is of course the scrummy leather, the plethora of pockets (an especially handy one being the note pad pocket for quick list making inside the back cover) and the fact that the pen loop, once again, does not interfere with the zip pocket (even though the Malden zip pocket is a wee bit small for my tastes to serve as a change purse).

However, large 3/4″ rings = more bulk than I really need as a wallet, and the card slots are more free form than in other models. They aren’t really even card slots; the website merely calls them “pockets”.

Yet again, some features I like, some are less wallet-optimal. Still, here it all is in the Ochre Malden for your ogling pleasure:

Pocket Ochre Malden Open

On It's Side

Just for old Fossil wallet on top of the Ochre Malden Pocket. Almost the same footprint. And color, now that you mention it.

I know you are chomping at the bit for a breakdown of all the interior why’s and wherefore’s I have neglected to discuss in the photos thus far, so without further ado, in order of appearance:

3  Pocket Credit Card holders right up front (4 slots total on each insert – 2 front & 2 back) for my various plastic cards.

Personal Information Sheet (I have, knock on wood, never lost my wallet…but just in case I do)

Now for the Tabs:

1st Tab – “Go”. Plain note paper for lists of errands I need to run, places I need to go. I like to pre-plan my shopping excursions to maximize my time & minimize my petrol use, so typically this list, in the order in which I would run the errands, would go in my every-day planner on the daily task list (and fill it up all too quickly). This way I can merely write “errands”, or “shopping” on my daily task list and leave the details in the wallet.

2nd Tab – “Do”.  Filofax To Do pages for ticking off shopping or errand related tasks. One sheet per store/destination.

3rd Tab – “Plan”. The only planning component of the entire wallet set up. Merely a Vertical Full Year Planner on which virtually no details are recorded, just a very simple & brief schedule overview for reference so I don’t over-book accidentally. All planning will remain in my Personal size every-day planner.

4th Tab – “Save”. Probably don’t technically need a tab here, but you know how linear I am. Behind the tab are 2 Plastic Envelopes (so far) to hold coupons, receipts, those annoying, easily torn paper ‘eat 10 burritos and get the 11th free’ cards, and the like.

In case it was hard to visualize - coupons, reward cards, recepits & stuff go here

5th Tab – “Buy”. This section is last because originally I thought it would be really cool to crazy glue a Day Timer Self Stick Hot List pad to a piece of hole punched card stock and use that for making shopping lists. Then I could tear them off  & toss ’em when I was done.

Shopping List Hack. Not so much actually.

BUT…what I failed to realize is that, because it is basically a sticky note pad, I could only have one shopping list going at a time.

Oops.  Fail.

Cool in theory, but too limited to be practical, so I just put more lined note paper behind the tab for multiple lists. Eventually, I will probably just pick up some cheap graph paper and cut  & hole punch it for this section, as I will no doubt go through this paper pretty quickly and the lists will just get thrown out anyway.

I am going to leave the Self Stick Hot List hack in there for quick, disposable list-making though. And so I won’t feel like a total loser for coming up with it to begin with.

Now the part I need you for:

Each of these Pocket planners has features I would like to have for something I use as my wallet. But of course, no one Filo has all the features I want.

To recap –

Option 1 Pocket Black Chameleon, with its slim rings, well-placed pen loop and multiple card slots

Option 2 Pocket Aqua Fins, with its fun color and handy ID window

Option 3 Pocket Ochre Malden because, well…it’s a Malden.

or, going out on a limb here –

Option 4 None of the above, buy a NEW Pocket Filo! Come on, you know you want to!!!!!

Which one do YOU think I should use for my wallet? Below is a clicky-poll for you to vote so that I can stop pulling my hair out trying to decide, and feel free to leave me reasons WHY, should you feel so moved, in the comments.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SNARLing
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 23:12:42

    dude – AQUA POCKET CHAMELEON. that’s my vote. i got the humongous domino snake brick today… i think it will work great for the happiness/art journal but a5 is waaaay too big for me. i want all things chameleon and aqua so…..GET THE POCKET ONE GET IT GET IT GET IT

  2. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 23:54:41

    hahahaha! i knew there was a reason i love you ; )

    seriously though, i thought about that but i want to wait & see the personal 1st to make sure the color is something i like. so hard to tell on the websites.

    so that’s one vote for option 4…so noted!

  3. Rori Lieurance
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 01:11:27

    “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!” I adore Agnes…

  4. Rori Lieurance
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 01:18:56

    Ok, I voted for the Malden, and here’s why…the “pockets” allow your cards to fit into your “wallet” facing toward the rings, therefore (theoretically, but I’m uber paranoid about losing my debit card) making them more secure.

    Now, it could be that the pockets in the Chameleon (I don’t think the Fins is even in the running; mostly because of the stupid pen loop, that is going to drive you crazy EVERY time you need change) are plenty secure–I’m just all for any extra security I can manage.

    PLUS, the little change pocket in the Malden is in the front! Super accessible.

    I really like this idea…if I EVER get another job I’m buying the pocket Malden!!

  5. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 12:16:22

    you know, that is a VERY valid point & i didn’t even think of that. i’m using the malden today (because it’s new) and i stuck my ID and debit card in one of the plastic card holder sheets. gonna go remedy that right now! brilliant! the pen loop in the fins is very annoying…the other option is to carry a separate little change purse for coins – i tend to accumulate a LOT of them somehow and use the zip pocket in the fins for storage.

    thanks for your vote & your great comment : )

  6. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 12:16:44

    i’m telling you…i never get sick of that movie!!

  7. Rori Lieurance
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 02:23:51

    When I was using my Cuban zip I carried a separate coin purse. It was pretty easy after I got used to not having everything together in one wallet.

    What I did like was having everything else (bank and insurance cards, ID and contact/insurance/planner) together. Grab one book and go!

    Wait, that sounds pretty good…maybe I should go back. Why did I abandon my Cuban?

  8. Amanda
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 15:34:00

    One way of getting around the change/zip/pen-loop angst could be to do something like the coin-purse hack I did for my mini (same principle even if the FF is smaller…):

    Dunno if that helps at all? Tbh, I was carrying my mini as a wallet and an A5 as my FF but now I am carrying a baroque personal which combines them both. The mini carried shopping lists and ‘look out for…’ lists but was just too small to write in. Hope you get the pocket to work for you though.

  9. Beverley
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 17:51:15

    Having to have a seperate coin purse is a deal breaker for me. Living in a country (Canada) where our $1 and $2 are coins means lots of coins. I have often chosen wallets based on how their coin pockets worked. Someone needs to design an accordian coin pocket that fits on Filofax rings. As for which you should use – call the dog, Zoe, call the dog.

  10. kanalt
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 22:38:16

    I see I’m in the minority with my vote. I did NOT vote for you to get a new one – is there one out there that will really fit all of your needs/likes? If so, then yes, get it. But if not, I’d say go with the black chameleon. It has small rings and lots of pockets, both a plus for a wallet use, in my opinion. I love the Malden, but if you’re already using the Ochre in personal size (which, honestly, at this point, I’m not sure), you might want something different. I do like the Aqua Fins, especially for the color, but the larger rings would put it out of the running as a wallet. And I agree with you on the pen loop – that’s a no-go for me. I love to carry as much in my wallet as I can, but I don’t want it to be so big that I can’t put it in my bag. (BTW, another selling point for the Chameleon is that black will go with almost any handbag color.)
    I am fascinated with the idea as a pocket or mini being used as a wallet. But I don’t think I would like it. Too many pages in too many places, too much to rewrite and copy over. I used to be all about that but found I was spending too much time doing that. Now I prefer things to be more streamlined and simple. But that’s just me. =)

  11. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 17:35:02

    @amanda: that coin purse hack is GENIUS! no way i could manage doing that for myself though…zero creativity and/or diy gene. so far (knock on wood) the zip pocket in the chameleon/malden – i switch around) is working fine.

    @beverly: as you said, i have been “calling the dog” and then some! so far the black chameleon is winning for smaller ring size & extra card slots.

    @kanalt: great minds…i was thinking the exact same thing about already using the ochre malden (yes, i still am) as my main/big planner. and the black chameleon really is well suited for wallet use. i’m not re-copying much, as i ONLY have the pull out year for reference in the wallet. and to be honest i have yet to use it, so it may come out altogether. all that would then remain would be shopping lists & wallet-y stuff.

    @rori: sooooo, have you gone back to your cuban zip yet??!! hehehe!

  12. Knitting Liisa
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 15:34:01

    Hi Zoe!

    I’m a fairly new Filo-addict from Finland. I like your blog A LOT. This wallet idea is just brilliant!! I voted for the Malden. I’m looking forward to the point in my addiction where I would have multiple FF’s (and inserts, accessories etc.) in the same size, it would be heaven to be able to change the planner/wallet whenever I wanted to!

    I have just set up my own blog about Filos (and other stuff, too), go check it out if you’re interested! 🙂


  13. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 16:48:39

    hi liisa! thanks for commenting and pointing me to your AWESOME blog! congratulations on finding filofax and building your (soon to grow even more, no doubt) collection : )

    i am really loving using the pocket filofax as my wallet! i am going to do a follow up post to this one soon to reveal which of the three i have ultimately found works the best (hint: you voted for it!!)

    thanks again for reading !!

  14. J
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 20:58:55

    I said a dart gun, NOT a fart gun!!! Haha, I’m totally in love with that movie.

    As for the Filo… I have to think on it a bit if you haven’t already decided! Although with your record, you’ll probably use them all anyway! (only joshing of course 🙂

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