Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 February 2020

What's in your wallet? Take a look at 17 purses from around the world

A US study photographed the contents of wallets from different cultures to understand how relationships with money can vary

What do the contents of your wallet say about you and your lifestyle? Probably far more than you realise.

A study by SavingSpot, a blog from US online lender CashNetUSA, photographed the contents of the wallets of 16 individuals around the world to gain an insight into their relationship with money.

The US firm wanted to explore cultural differences when it comes to money by assessing whether different nationalities favour cash or cards, whose photo they carry with them and where their loyalties lie.

The wallet itself is the last item I got from my mum, then she passed away. So the wallet means a lot to me.

Jayson, from Finland

The study took place over April and May, with the 100 people applying to be featured after seeing an advert for contributors on the freelance platform Upwork.com. The candidates were then whittled down to 16 and asked questions such as how much cash they had in their wallet, whether they carry a photo, how many credit cards they own and how long it took them to reach their nearest ATM.

To add to the project, I photographed the contents of my own wallet at the time of writing to offer an insight into the personal finance habits of residents in the UAE.

Here are the results of the study:


Andrea, 32, from Milan

Cash in wallet: €50 (Dh204.29)

Monthly income: €1,000 to €1,500

Number of credit cards: 0

Andrea carries a classic Italian leather wallet. Although a keen photographer (as his SD card indicates) Andrea prefers to carry small gifts as mementos of his loved ones as opposed to photos of them. There are no credit or debit cards in Andrea’s wallet, as he prefers to stick with cash or his postepay card, a prepaid card service. The receipts all come from his last day of spending.


Filip, 23, from Prilep

Cash in wallet: €50 and 1,000 Macedonian Denars (Dh66.60)

Monthly income: 2,996.25 MKD

Number of credit cards: 3

Another fan of the standard leather wallet here, Filep has cash in two different currencies. However, he uses his debit card most often to buy items. In addition to the debit card he also has three credit cards and his driver’s licence. But his most treasured items in his wallet are the pictures of his friends and cousins graduating.


Anastasia, 18, from Hamilton

Cash in wallet: 20 Canadian dollars (Dh55.57)

Monthly income: 150 – 250 CAD

Number of credit cards: 0

Anastasia, a student, never uses an ATM and has no credit cards. Instead she carries her university pass and a public library card. She also has a grocery store loyalty card and gift cards for MAC cosmetics and Tim Hortons.


Irina, 27, from Rostow on Don

Cash in wallet: 3,000 Russian roubles (Dh168.8)

Monthly income: 128,354.03 Rub

Number of credit cards: 2

Irina has two credit cards and shopping loyalty cards for Sneshnaya Koroleva and Ikea. She gets paid in both cash and bank transfer and likes to keep change on her. However she prefers to use her debit card when buying items. Irina keeps a tidy wallet, only containing what she needs from day to day.


Jayson, from Finland

Jayson, 36, from Tampere

Cash in wallet: 3.32 euros

Monthly income: 713.72 euros

Number of credit cards: 1

Jayson only has a couple of coins in his wallet, preferring to use his debit cards to pay for items. He’s a proud pet owner and carries around a photo of his dog. He has some receipts and a business card for Natura Siberica, the wild herbs and cosmetics company. As a keen photographer, he also has some business cards ready to hand out to potential clients. “The wallet itself is the last item I got from my mum, then she passed away,” he says. “So the wallet means a lot to me.”

My favourite things in my wallet are the pictures of my wife and daughter.

Vivek, from India


Vivek, 27, from Chennai

Cash in wallet: 135 Indian rupees (Dh7.11)

Monthly income: 25,000 rupees

Number of credit cards: 1

Vivek uses the ATM at least twice a day. He keeps a bunch of different ID and bank cards in his wallet, alongside some cash which is his preferred method of payment. Like many photographers he always carries around a spare SD card as well as some business cards. “My favourite things in my wallet are the pictures of my wife and daughter,” Vivek says.


Emre, 21, from Izmir

Cash in wallet: 120 Turkish lira (Dh79.27)

Monthly income: 8,000 TRY

Number of credit cards: 1

Emre does not carry photos of his family or friends, instead the only photo in his wallet is a passport-sized one of himself. He has a number of different IDs and a sim card. He has no need for loyalty cards and doesn’t keep old receipts in his wallet. He keeps some cash on him although he prefers to use his credit card when paying for things. "My wallet has a minimal, but useful design," he says.


Ashley, 47, from El Valle del Espiritu Santo

Cash in wallet: 49.92 Venezuelan Bolivars (Dh49.92)

Monthly income: 7,990 VEF

Number of credit cards: 3

Ashley has one of the fullest wallets in the study. There are photos of his wife and daughter, which sit alongside a whole range of different IDs and a loyalty card for a pharmacy. He has three credit cards and three debit cards, preferring to use his credit card rather than cash when making purchases. "My favourite things in my wallet are the pictures of my wife and daughter," he says.


Gerard, 38, from Lima

Cash in wallet: 50 Peruvian Sol (Dh54.72)

Monthly income: 11,616 Pen

Number of credit cards: 1

Gerard likes to carry a religious picture in his stylish Peruvian designer wallet. “It was designed by a Peruvian designer whose brand is considered high end," he says of the wallet. His loyalty card for Wong, a supermarket chain in Peru, is an item he uses often and sits alongside his ID, bank cards and Medical Care card. Gerard takes money out of the ATM five times a week, but ultimately prefers to use his debit card when buying items. The old receipts he keeps in his wallet are all for swimming classes.


Manzeel, 30, from Kathmandu

Cash in wallet: 3,805 Nepalese rupees (Dh126.29)

Monthly income: 134,487 NPR

Number of credit cards: 0

Manzeel has a nicely compartmentalised wallet, with plenty of space for his cash and cards. He prefers to use his debit cards to pay for his things and doesn’t own a credit card. Apart from theses cards and a loyalty card for Buddha Air, Manzeel doesn’t carry much. He likes to keep his wallet clean and organised, so he doesn’t carry any non-essentials.


Joyce, 32, from Tagaytay City

Cash in wallet: 2,560 Philippine pesos (Dh182.5)

Monthly income: 30,000 PHP

Number of credit cards: 0

Joyce opts for a classic-looking purse. Although she has a couple of debit cards, she gets paid in cash and usually uses this to pay for items. She has her ID in there, but doesn’t keep much else inside, except for her most prized possession - a hand-written letter from a loved one "from years ago".

I don‘t like wallets that don‘t have a dedicated coin department.

Amer, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Amer, 22, from Sarajevo

Cash in wallet: 40 Bosnia and Herzegovina marks (Dh83.41)

Number of credit cards: 1

Amer doesn‘t carry photos around with him. One of the few items he does carry is a loyalty card for a sports store. Amer gets paid in cash so doesn’t use an ATM very often, sometimes even just once a month. He always has some cash on him, as he prefers this method of payment. Amer thinks it’s important to keep all his coins in their own compartment. “I don‘t like wallets that don‘t have a dedicated coin department.”


Anastasiya, 34, from Kharkov

Cash in wallet: 1,144.30 Ukraine Hryvnia (Dh165.48)

Monthly income: 26,590 UAH

Number of credit cards: 4

Anastasiya has a small leather wallet and although she likes to carry cash, she has four credit cards. However, she prefers to use her debit card to make payments. She has no gift cards but does carry loyalty cards for the petrol station and car wash. Anastasiya says she does not carry photos or receipts, only essentials. She says of her wallet: "I love that despite the small size it contains everything I need."

United States

Priya, 27, from Oklahoma City

Cash in wallet: $12 (Dh44.07)

Monthly income: $6,000

Number of credit cards: 2

Priya has a very simple, small leather wallet, so there is no room for anything sentimental. She has a little bit of cash and her two credit cards. She has no loyalty cards and doesn‘t keep old receipts in here. She does have a couple of hair ties though, along with a pair of earrings, just for emergencies. Priya says: "My favourite thing about my wallet is its compact size. I never have to fumble around to try and find the card I need, they are all neatly stacked up against one another."

United Kingdom

Molly, 24, from Manchester

Cash in wallet: £30.26 (Dh135.15)

Monthly income: £1,200

Number of credit cards: 0

Molly doesn‘t have credit cards but has a couple of debit cards she uses to do her shopping. She has a pharmacy loyalty card and a blood donor card. She keeps some receipts in her wallet, including a bus ticket and a bar receipt. Molly also keeps a couple of hair clips in there, just in case. "I like the size of my wallet and that is has all these useful compartments," she says.


Povilas, 29, Vilnius

Cash in wallet: €101

Monthly income: €3,500

Number of credit cards: 2

The rugged outside of Povilas' wallet hides a very clean and tidy interior holding only carefully curated essentials. Povilas carries €100 in his wallet but, surprisingly, rarely uses cash preferring to pay for things with his debit card. In fact he usually only visits an ATM once a month. “My favourite thing is that my wallet is still with me and I haven’t lost it through all those years," he says.


Alice, 44, a resident in Dubai

Cash in wallet: Dh72.50

Number of credit cards: 1 in the UAE and 1 in my home country

Despite carefully managing my personal finances, my wallet is cluttered with old receipts, business cards, bank cards and loyalty cards. However, it’s a large wallet to ensure it can also hold my mobile phone as I don't carry a handbag when I go to the shops. I don’t carry much cash as I prefer to pay by debit or credit card. As a UAE resident, I also carry plenty of ID cards for myself and my children. I also have loyalty cards for my local coffee shop at work, the loyalty programme Air Miles and Privilee, which gives me access to UAE gyms and beach clubs.

Updated: August 5, 2019 09:38 AM



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