A Wallet Story

Do you wanna know what my birthday gift to myself is? A wallet. Do you wanna know what I asked the hubby for his birthday present to me? Another wallet. Why would I need two wallets, you might ask. My answer is…why not? One for weekdays, one for weekends. End of story.

But wait, I’m in the mood for a wallet story, so here it is. Growing up in the province, I always saw the contents of Mame’s wallet. I always knew when she still had money or when she was running out of it. When I knew she had extra money, I’d ask her to buy me the few fancy things I liked. When I knew she had very little money, I kept my mouth shut and never bothered her for anything that would have the potential of burning a hole in her pocket.

As early as my elementary years, I knew that Mame wasn’t good at managing money. I never saw her setting up a budget. She was street smart, though. She had many friends from whom she borrowed money easily. She was also hardworking and had a great sense of humor and a gift of gab which made her a good reseller. You know those peddlers na “laway lang ang puhunan?” Mame was one of them. Her side job of selling small goods allowed us to enjoy little luxuries in life every now and then. You see, Daddy was working in a cement plant in Tanay, Rizal and only went home twice a month to remit his salary to Mame and be with us for a night (or two sometimes).

Mame’s wallet would be full of PHP1,000, PHP500, and PHP100 bills whenever Daddy came home. After paying her creditors, however, only a few of these bills would be left in it. And the cycle repeated itself for many years until Daddy lost his job in 1999 (and I adapted to the situation by introducing myself to the concept of frugality). Mame has taught me a lot about money without her knowing it. Her money knowledge (or the lack of it) has somehow alerted me to act differently if I wanted to secure a bright future for our family. But I digress.

I remember Mame would only replace her wallet only when it was worn-out already. She never used a big wallet then, by the way, just a big coin purse made of synthetic leather. Or at least, that’s what I recalled seeing most of the time. Even if she was a spendthrift, Mame practiced simplicity in her own ways. I observed the same practice in her clothing wherein she would take good care of her new clothes and wear them occasionally that her friends would think, the next time she wore them, that they were new even if they weren’t. She would also buy new clothes for us only during Christmas season and occasionally when my rich relatives in Manila would send money over for me and my siblings.

I embraced the same practice with my own wallets, but not so much with my clothes. When I started earning a living, I got myself just one big wallet that housed my bills, coins, and some IDs/cards. If you’re familiar with the brand Marithe + Francois Girbaud, that was where I purchased my first decent wallet. It was on sale at under PHP1,000. I only discarded it when it was worn-out already. You know, when the synthetic leather started to peel off on the edges.

Then at one point, I also experimented with cheaper wallets like those sold in Divisoria for PHP100 to PHP200. Tipid-tipid din pag may time! I just stayed away from fake-looking ones such as those dotted with monograms of famous designer brands. I also went for sturdy-looking ones in plain colors and simple designs. After some time, I got back to using branded but affordable wallets again such as those from Charles & Keith and Guess (this one was just gifted to me) and only three years ago, Parfois.

I got my Parfois wallet from its SM Southmall branch for under PHP1,000. It was a double tri-fold wallet, errr, I’m not sure if I’m describing it correctly so just please look at the photo below:


I super loved this wallet! It was very useful to me. I liked its unique polka-dot print and the many pockets both inside and outside. I found it cool that it looked filled with contents already even if there was nothing inside yet. And how it got heavy and bulky whenever I filled it with bills, coins, and tons of receipts.

This wallet has seen better days. It has served me for three long years. It has witnessed the highs and lows of my financial life. It was also my sort of dependable partner when I started getting serious about my finances. I almost didn’t wanna give it up even if the edges were peeling off and the material itself were starting to break apart already. (In fairness, all of its zippers and compartments are still intact until now!) But I guess it’s time to let it go. It’s time for it to rest as it has served its purpose well. Goodbye my friend, and thank you for everything! 🙂

Now, back to my two new wallets. One is a Fino tri-fold wallet in alligator embossed leather. It’s my birthday gift to myself.


The other one, which is the hubby’s birthday present to me, is a Cath Kidston (CK) embossed zip wallet in lovely Norfolk rose print. For the record, it’s also my first CK accessory and I intentionally requested for this wallet because I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about CK from the CK sisterhood (and my blogger friends) Leah, Diane, and The Pseudo Shrink. (Go check out their blogs if you’d like to see more CK items from their personal collection.)


Both wallets are priced under PHP3,000. I got the Fino on sale at 15% off while the Cath Kidston was on regular price. It’s too early to tell if they’re worth every peso we paid but the reputation of the two brands leaves very little room for doubt.

The Fino wallet is for weekdays and the Cath Kidston one, for weekends. Medyo na-overwhelm ako ng slight nung isang gabi kasi hindi ako sanay na dalawa na ang wallet na ginagamit ko. Pero naisip ko, masaya rin nga naman na iba ang wallet na dala ko sa work at iba rin pag namamasyal tuwing weekend. And since I use two different wallets, I guess they’re bound to last longer. They both look sturdy and can hold a lot of stuff. I actually plan to take good care of them just like what I did to my past wallets. And hopefully, just like the wallets I’ve used before, they’ll serve their purpose well.

Oh, and before I end this story, here’s a wallet-related superstitious belief that my MIL shared with me. In buying a wallet and making sure that it’s going to be “lucky,” she always performs this magic spell which I’d like to call “Pera, Wala.” She does this by positioning her two thumbs horizontally and then alternately going over the entire length of the wallet from end to end. She starts with “pera” using her right thumb and “wala” using her left thumb and vice versa until she reaches the other end of the wallet. The wallet is considered lucky and worthy of buying if the measurement ends with the “pera” thumb and unlucky if it’s the opposite “wala” thumb. (I hope you understand how I explained it.) It never fails according to her! Wala naman mawawala kaya sinusunod ko na rin. I’m happy to report that my two new wallets are both “lucky.” Hahaha.

And that’s it, friends! I hope you like my wallet story as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

May you choose happiness always,

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16 Replies to “A Wallet Story”

  1. I enjoyed reading this entry! I’ve only learned how to budget when I started with my first job here in Taiwan. But my mom has always taught me how to do it. I remember she keeps a notebook where she’d write her daily expenses, and now it amuses me cos I do the same to keep track of my money. My pink kate spade which I bought on sale a year ago needs to be replaced na rin, hindi pala super okay ang quality ng soft leather nya, nagtutuklap. Ang ganda ng Cath Kidston mo 🙂 will drop by their shop one of these days 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jackie! Ako naman sa phone ko nagkeep track ng money at sa Excel naman yung sa pangkalahatan na. Ay, ganun, may nata-type-an pa naman akong KS na wallet at bag, haha. 🙂

  2. Ako hindi masyadong mahilig sa wallet. I acquired most of my wallets from my mom and hinding hindi ko din sya papalitan hanggat hinding hindi sya nasisira. Same goes to my bags. So madalang na madalang lang ako bumili ng wallet at bag.

    Ngaun ko lang nalaman yang superstitious na yan ah! Magawa nga din hehehe. Yung length lang ba hindi kasama ung width sa pagsukat? Ang alam ko kasing supertitious eh yung dapat hindi daw nawawalang ng pera yung wallet hahaha.

    1. Ako naman more on bags kesa wallet. First time na dalawa ang gamit kong wallet. Dati isa lang talaga. Oo, yung length lang sabi ni MIL! Pag nag-end sa “pera,” swerte raw, meaning, hindi mauubusan ng lamang pera ang wallet, tuluy-tuloy daw ang biyaya. 🙂

  3. I love that you have a wallet story! Really cute but also really insightful! 🙂 We’re opposites naman. My mom’s really good with money, but I guess having had a sheltered childhood (not rich though!), I grew up taking it for granted. At kahit anong wallet pa gamitin ko over the years, I still haven’t had much progress. Hahaha. Wala na lang akong utang, pero wala pa rin akong ipon. (Progress na yan, promise. :D)

    Ang ganda ng Cath Kidston mo! Dream brand!

  4. Sis, superlike this post 🙂 Addict talaga ako sa wallet at yan talaga ang weakness ko. Nakakahiya man aminin pero sampu na yata ang wallet ko mumurahin lang – most expensive ko is P 199.75 and the cheapest was P 50.00. Lahat sila binili ko sa Market Market at Landmark at yung iba regalo. Wala kasi akong wallet nung bata ako, pati nung highschool kaya pangarap kong magkaron ng wallet na makapal at kung ano ano lang ang laman kahit walang pera, heheh. Kaya naging obsession ko tuloy mangolekta ng wallet.

    Pareho tayo – I learn from my mother (kabaligtaran nga lang nya naging attitude ko sa kanya sa pera). Ang wallet ng nanay ko alam ko rin pag me laman at alam ko pag wala, magaling lang dumiskarte noon ang nanay kaya kahit pasaway ang tatay ko naigapang kami.

    Relate talaga ako dito sa wallet story mo – di lang ako maka-relate sa presyo ng wallet mo, nilalagnat ako ang mahal kasi, heheh. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m happy reading your post because I know your happy too. God bless.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Grace! Okay din ang murang wallet, dinaanan ko rin yan, na-try ko rin yan. Nag-invest ako sa mahahaling wallets this time kasi gusto ko pangmatagalan na. Well, depende rin naman sa gumagamit,diba? Ako kasi hindi maingat, sa umpisa lang maingat, hahaha. Let’s choose to be happy always, sis! God bless you, too! 🙂

  5. Pahabol, curious ako sa superstitious belief na thumb measurement – magawa nga. Basta ako nilalagyan ko lang ng laman ang mga wallet kahit foreign currencies na one dollar, one peso or twenty five cents. Plus – ang gaganda ng bago mong wallet sis!!!

    1. In fairness, hindi nauubusan ng lamang pera ang previous “lucky” wallets ko. Try mo rin, sis! Salamat ulit! 🙂

  6. Sis, ganda ng wallet mo! 2 din ang ginagamit kong lalagyan ng money and coins kaso di sya wallet like ng sayo mas bet ko yung big coin purse. Yung tipong di ako mahihirapan kumuha ng mga barya. Hehe. Magawa ko nga rin yang ritwal ng mame mo sa purse ko. Kaaliw e.

  7. This post reminded me that I need to replace my seven-year-old wallet. Medyo tastas na kasi. Tapos pag bibili na ako, gagawin ko ‘yang pera-wala! Hahahaha!

    Mag-comment sana ako sa Cath Kidston post mo sa IG ng – “Kasama sana ako sa sisterhood na ‘to, kaso lang wala akong pambili e!” :p

    1. Wow, antagal na ng wallet mo! Ang tibay. Hahaha, go Je! I hope maging “lucky” din ang bibilhin mong wallet. Ikaw pa mawalan ng pambili, sis? Napaka-humble lang. 🙂

  8. Nice wallet story! Growing up, di ko nakita ang laman ng wallet ng nanay ko pero alam kong sakto o minsan kulang pa rin talaga pero until now, I still wonder and am still in awe paano nila kami nabuhay eh ang dami namin! Hahaha! At alam kong for the longest time, gustung-gusto nyang magkaroon ng leather wallet so pinag-ipunan talaga nya and sa memory ko, nakabili naman sya, tri-fold din…at hinahanap ko yung wallet na yun. Gusto ko kasing manahin sana hehehe.

    Ako I have 3 wallets to date na pinag papalit palit ko monthly (kung naisipan magpalit hehe). One is also a Fino wallet. Ito pinaka-favorite ko. Napagdaanan ko rin yung Girbaud wallet for several times siguro pero medyo disappointed ako sa quality lalo na if nagsisimula nang magpeel. So nag-ipon na lang ako and invested in a more expensive but more durable leather wallets. My oldest na pwede pang gamitin is 5 years old although seldom ko syang gamitin pero maayos pa rin naman kahit matagal na sya. Leather din kasi.

    At syempre ginawa ko yung pamahiin na yun. Pera!!!! Hahaha. Pero true or not, nasa atin pa rin naman talaga kung paano natin ihahandle ng maayos ang pera natin. 😀

    1. Thank you, Mylene! Like you, marami ring magkakapatid ang Tatay ko (10 in total) pero naigapang din sila ng mga grandparents ko. Nakakaproud lang ang mga magulang na gagawin ang lahat for their children!

      Re: wallets, kaya naniniwala talaga ako na hindi porke mahal, matibay na. Minsan, sikat lang kaya nakakapagcommand ng mataas na price, hahaha. Pero yun nga, hindi rin naman natin malalaman if hindi natin susubukan ang mga produkto na yan at dun pa lang tayo matututo. Unless na lang yung nagrecommend sa atin ay mapagkakatiwalaan at kabisado na natin na magaling sumuri ng quality. Minsan ganun ako eh, naniniwala sa review ng iba lalo na pag kilala ko at reliable naman.

      I agree, nasa atin pa rin kung paano i-manage ang pera natin. Fun lang din kasi sumunod sa mga pamahiin lalo na at wala naman mawawala pag sumunod, natutuwa pa ang mga matatanda sa atin, hehe. 🙂

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