I have always had a leather bi-fold or tri-fold wallet of some kind. My dad gave me my first one when I was around five or six from the Roof Center. I filled the photos section with school photos of myself and my brothers. Kept my special items in it, but never had much use else for it. As I got older I ended up getting caught up in the craze of all the cards. Not necessarily credit and debit cards but I own a few, but club cards.
I have an NRA card, a Sam’s Club Card, every grocery store card, every gas station card, and every other department store card that can save you 10% when you shop… That created the dreaded George Costanza wallet.
A few weeks ago, I was at a farewell lunch with a bunch of coworkers. I went to pay for my lunch and pulled out my wallet. The table promptly began to make fun of my wallet and how much junk was in it. I had never thought about it being a Costanza wallet, until that point, and then sitting there with all those laughing people surrounding me, I laughed and realized that I had one.
A Minimalist Viewpoint
I am in no way a minimalist. I really like a minimalist’s take, but I could never be one. I like stuff way too much to be one. With that being said, when I finally got a Ridge Wallet, I had a tough decision to make on what to keep and what to throw out. Once I started using it for a bit I realized the stuff I got rid of, I didn’t ever use.
The Ridge Wallet is a very slim wallet the size and shape of your credit card, made of either aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. They range in prices depending on what material you get. They have a notch on one side and have elastic bands on the short sides that hold the cards in the middle. The aluminum plates shield your cards from RFID attacks where criminals can steal credit card information using a scanner and waving it past your wallet. A good thing to have for any wallet.
The downside, I have to pull my metro train card out of my wallet now when I want to use it. First world problems.
There are two options for cash: money clip or money strap. Mine has a money clip on the back. It is very lightweight and allows you to carry between 12-15 cards easily.
It does take some getting used to. The first few days I struggled to get cards in and out of the wallet. and I will try to make this as simple as possible to explain. It works much easier with a video which I will do and link below.
Using the Ridge
The Ridge is a completely different kind of wallet, so as you would expect, there is a learning curve. Take a few days to learn the wallet. Get used to how cards slide in and out. When first loading the wallet. Slide the first card in half way. Slide each additional card in with halfway with it. That will make it easier to get all the cards in together.
Accessing an outer card is simple, just push the outer card and grab it using the half circle at the bottom. The inner cards are what is kinda tricky. So here is what you do.
- Push up on the half circle forcing all the cards up out of the wallet about a quarter way out.
- Pinch the end of the wallet where the half circle is. This will cause the cards to fan out. They should not shoot out of the wallet. If they do, you may have too many cards.
- Choose the card of choice.
- Put the cards back to where you need them and slide them back into the wallet when done.
One-handed operation is possible but will take some time to get right. I would not recommend trying to use it with your screaming kid in one arm, a bag of groceries in the other and a line of people yelling at you thirty people deep, that is just torture. Instead set yourself up for success the first few instances of use and make sure you are ready for transactions prior to pulling out the wallet.
Used In The Dad Life
The real test is how the Ridge holds up to everyday use compared to a regular wallet. I replace a normal leather wallet once a year or maybe every other year. Given that I spend between $30-50 on a nice Fossil wallet in that timeframe it should last that long. The Ridge is significantly more expensive than the traditional wallets out there. So I expect it to hold up significantly better, and it does have a lifetime warranty on it.
Don’t let the price deter you from purchasing one of these minimalistic wallets, and I would advise staying away from the knockoffs as they are cheap and don’t offer the lifetime support that the ridge does.
I have had mine for a little over a month or two now and have seen a little wear in the aluminum front. I do have the basic gunmetal version from Amazon you can find here. But the wear is minimal. I keep the wallet in the same pocket as my keys now to prevent it from scratching my phone. Previously I would keep my leather wallet and phone in the same pocket and my phone in the opposite.
I have tried to keep this wallet in the front pocket and the back pocket and both seem to work, but I have liked keeping my wallet in the front pocket better. It seems to help with posture and back issues, though that could have been because of my massive Costanza wallet I was sitting on. As time goes on I assume that the plates will continue to wear and that the money clip will loosen as will the elastic straps. Luckily with the lifetime warranty, some of that should be covered, and what isn’t would be easily replaced or upgraded without needing to purchase a new wallet.
Something to note, there is some extra wear on the magnetic strips of the cards noticeable, however, I don’t know how much of that is because of the wallet or because I have so many cards stuffed into mine.
I would recommend this for anyone looking to slim things down and make a change. It is definitely something that will lighten your pants and force you to think about what you carry and why. I stopped thinking, “I may need this one day” to thinking “I will need this today.”