Spare Family Wallet

Spare Family Wallet

A spare family wallet is one of those things you don’t fully appreciate until you have one. In my experience, credit card companies, insurance companies, and membership organizations, are happy to issue duplicate cards for this purpose. Our spare wallet has become a valuable resource for our babysitters, nannies, grandparents, neighbors, and our own kids.

In this post, I share five real-life scenarios that should inspire you to consider putting one together for your family.

How We Use Our Spare Family Wallet

Our spare family wallet started out as nothing more than a credit card and some cash in an envelope. But, as our family calendar expanded and we needed more help from other people to make it all work, it occurred to me we needed an entire extra wallet. It’s been a brilliant resource as you can see from the following examples:
  • I accidentally left  my purse locked in hubby’s car. The spare family wallet saved my bacon so I could continue on with my plans and my errands.


  • All our nannies know where we keep the spare family wallet. It’s part of the job preview and home tour in the hiring process.  Over the years, our sitters and grandparents have used the health insurance cards when the kids have gotten sick and the car insurance cards after minor fender-benders.


  • When I have a babysitter run errands for me, they use the wallet to access my credit card. This is especially effective for returns. Almost every store allows my babysitters to process returns for me with my credit card.  However, some stores are not as cooperative with purchases.


  • Because I only keep small bills in the spare wallet, my kids know they can get the little amounts of cash they need for school activities in the wallet.  When they take money, they need to track it on a notepad I keep rubber-banded together with the cash. This keeps my primary wallet insulated from the last-minute requests for cash on busy school mornings.


  • The spare wallet is a great way to keep track of the essential cards in your primary wallet in the event of theft or loss. Since our spare family wallet mirrors my primary wallet, I don’t have to worry about missing something if the original can’t be located.


Trust & Autonomy

I’ll sign off with a caveat, which of course centers on trust and autonomy. Clearly, if you are granting someone permission to use this resource, you are giving them a huge amount of trust and autonomy. For our family, our greatest trust lies with other family members. Grandparents, siblings and our own children all have full access to this wallet. Next, long-time babysitters or nannies, who have earned our trust over time, have access to the wallet with direction. New nannies, babysitters, or neighbors usually have access to non-pay aspects of the wallet. To build trust, I will have them run a few errands with a credit card. Of course, if anything is purchased with the wallet, I ask that receipts are kept in the front pocket.

I appreciate that what I have outlined is a system that I have refined over the years. It works well for our family and the people that help us out from time to time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments section below!

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. Emily on February 12, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Wow I’ve never heard of having a spare wallet – that totally makes sense and I love your real life stories. I’m going to ask my brother and sister who both have families if they have a spare wallet. I agree that trust is important factor here . Thank you for explaining your system.

    • 6ftmama on February 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Emily. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ruth Packard on February 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    This totally makes sense, Jennifer. I can think of a few times it would have been nice to have this spare wallet. Where were you and this idea years ago?!

  3. Arwen Lynch, Professional Joy Seeker on February 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    What an excellent idea. I’m sharing this with my family members.

  4. 6ftmama on February 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Ruth and Arwen,
    I’m delighted you like it!

  5. Deborah Weber on February 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    What an inspired idea!

    • 6ftmama on February 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks Deborah!

  6. Michele Bergh on February 18, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    What a great idea! I had never thought of doing something like this when my children were growing up. It would have been helpful!

  7. Amy Putkonen on February 19, 2013 at 5:42 am

    This is brilliant. I have never even thought of doing such a thing! You are just a fountain of knowledge, my dear tall Mama!

    • 6ftmama on June 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks Amy! Just used it this weekend for the AAA card!

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