Hmmm. Interesting question.
Back in the day, my wallet was the most important thing I carried around. I still remember my first wallet, one of those waterproof tri-fold velcro ones that carried my student ID and some train tickets. (Maybe also a few cut-out pictures in there from skateboard magazines — you know, the important stuff).
But that was before everyone had cellphones. These days, my wallet is probably the least valuable thing I carry. Since the invention of Venmo, virtual insurance cards, virtual coupons, and “the cloud,” I don’t carry too much important stuff on me physically. It’s all on my phone.
Interesting question, though … what hurts more — losing your wallet, your phone, or your keys?
I think the question comes down to how hard it would be to replace each one. Let’s look at the time, effort, and money it would take …
Losing My Wallet
Things in my wallet right now:
- Drivers license: Dang, losing this would suck the most. Just the thought of lining up at the DMV in Santa Monica makes me cringe. Even with a scheduled appointment, I’ve waited in line there for two hours. The ID card replacement would be a small fee, maybe $25, I’m guessing.
- 1 x debit card: Pretty easy to replace. A 10-15 minute phone call to the bank and I’d have a new one in the mail in three days. No cost to me.
- 3 x credit cards: Not hard to replace. It’s more a pain in the butt to change the CC *numbers* because my bills are auto-deducted on my main credit card. This is probably an hour or so of work. No cost to me.
- $139 in cash: Oops, I didn’t realize I had so much on me at the moment! I usually keep about $60 in cash on hand — mostly for garage sales and quick Craigslist buys :)
- The wallet itself: I’d say this would cost about $20 to replace and maybe 20-30 mins to search for a replacement. The one I have now I got eight years ago from a Kickstarter campaign — they promised it would last 10 years, and I think it will!
Losing My Cellphone
Right now I’m rocking an iPhone 6s Plus. Got this one about two years ago from a friend who upgraded to a new model. It was supposed to be a loaner, but I never got a new one and my friend never asked for this one back! Ooops 😊
Since I don’t have phone insurance or anything, I’d be up for the cost of a replacement:
- New iPhone would be prob $400 to $600 depending on the model. The latest and fanciest versions don’t really interest me, and I don’t think I’d go with one of those payment-plans or lock-in contracts.
- Secondhand, I’d probably fork out $100-$150 for someone’s old phone that still works. Could grab one online somewhere or ask friends if they have an old one lying around.
My last data back-up was a few weeks ago, but most of my apps and stuff keep data in the cloud so I wouldn’t lose any valuable information. For time to replace, I’d say it would probably take three to four hours to get a new phone, program it all the way I like it, and get used to the new operating system. Grrr…
Losing My Keys
This is an interesting one. Back in the day, keys to my crappy cars were just metal cut-outs. I kept a spare one duct-taped under the wheel hub! But now I drive a Pruis, which needs an electric wireless key. Key replacement options look like:
- Get a *new* key from a Toyota dealer: Wow! Seems to be around $500 to buy and program a new key! I didn’t realize my Prius was such a rare, luxury vehicle.
- Buy a replica FOB key online ($100 to $150) and get it programmed somehow by a local car repair place ($100 to $150). Still hurts!
The other factor here is *where* I am when I lose my keys. If I’m stuck in a random parking lot and need to get my car towed home, I’d be up for tow costs too! Probably $100 there.
All in all, here’s my replacement time and costs:
Lost wallet: 4-5 hours of work and about $180 to replace what’s in it
Lost phone: 3-4 hours of work and $100 to $600
Lost keys: 3-4 hours work and about $300 to $400 for a DIY replacement and car tow
Losing ALL three things: 10+ hours and $480+ minimum to replace all three. Ouch!
Well, I guess that answers the original question (for me at least!): What would you rather lose… your phone, your wallet, or your car keys?
At this point, the least expensive thing for me to lose would be my iPhone. Funny, because I would consider it my most valuable and most used item of the three. Weird!
What about you? What would you rather lose if you had the choice?
Joel is a 35 y/o Aussie living in Los Angeles and the guy behind 5amjoel.com. He loves waking up early, finding ways to be more efficient with time and money, and sharing what he learns with others. Rise Early | Retire Early!