Losing your wallet stinks, there is no way of getting around it. And over the past few years I have done it quite a few times, but I’m kind of glad I did. It taught me a lot of larger lessons and has prepared me for future, inevitable times I’d lose my wallet.

I know I am probably an outlier but of the four times I have lost my wallet (or something in it) I have always had it returned to me.

Ironically, my most recent wallet mishap happened on New Year’s Eve — and it’s not what you think. After writing a NYE survival guide, I decided to take my own advice and get money out so I wouldn’t have to carry my debit card.

Well, on the way to the bank (after a quick stop for New Year’s Eve accessories) I realized I had dropped my debit card. Ironic, right? Well here is what I did and why I did it through anecdote.

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Wait Before Your Get Angry

I used to get frustrated and upset when I lost my wallet but I soon learned to have a little faith in the kindness of strangers and pure luck. 

So my first move was to put my card on hold. No matter what, if you think your card is missing or stolen you should first put it on hold. A lot of people think they need to cancel their cards immediately, but the bank will actually lock your card for two hours before they cancel it.

Last year, I had left my wallet at a restaurant and when I came back the next day they had not found it. I had the usual initial reaction and cancelled all my cards and asked for a day off to go to the DMV, all while cursing my absentmindedness.

After spending $20 per card replacement, I was pleased and surprised to find my wallet was returned to me in the mail shortly after.

My second move was to retrace my steps, hoping that the card was still somewhere on the street. When in high school, I lost my license — I know the pride and joy of any high schooler — and again had to waste a good portion of my life in the DMV getting a new license. After getting my second license for $5, I found the original one in the door of my best friend’s car.

My third move was to not get angry. Not to sound all hippy-dippy on you guys, but I spent so much time getting mad for losing things and it always works out one way or another.

Same goes for this situation. I asked a friend to pull out money for me, wrote her check and had a great night not worrying about my card. The next day I got an email from a girl who found it and had the card three days later. With my patience and faith in the kindness of strangers I saved $20 and a headache at the bank.

I know how incredibly lucky I am to always get my stuff back, and I’m not naive enough not to cancel any of my cards when lost. I just wanted to share this story with you because it’s rare we ever hear good news and if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of a lost wallet, give it a couple of days before taking the time and money to replace everything.

In a way, I’m glad I’ve lost my wallet because it made me love New York and the people in it even more.

Marina Shifrin

Marina is a staff writer for MyBankTracker.com. She is an expert in college finances, consumer spending and banking.
  • Janet

    You should have cancelled your cards even though they were returned. Why? If one of the “good” samaritans had a card skimmer, they’ve got your info. They might sit on it for a day or two before they use it  or before they sell it to the highest bidder. Either way, you’re screwed. It’s not worth the risk.

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Marina


      That is a great point that I haven’t thought of. This most recent returner was a girl about my age, I guess I shouldn’t judge on appearances but she did invite me into her apartment.You are right though, you can never be too careful with protecting your information, I guess I have been absurdly lucky where this kind of thing has not happened to me.

  • GH

    You write for a living?  Please, for the love of god, quit your day job.  Reading this was wordy and cumbersome. There were times I had to re-read things to ensure I read it correctly and I just shook my head while going to the next line.  You have more mistakes than should be acceptable and your writing/sentence structure more closely resembles that of an 8th grader trying to turn in a book report.  I’m no English professor by any means but your elementary writing style is boldly apparent to someone who isn’t paid to write columns for a living.   “After getting my second license for $5, I found the original one in the door of my best friend.”  Your best friend comes equipped with doors?  Or did you mean you found it in her car door?   Your closing sentence, “In a way I’m glad I’ve lost my wallet because it made me love New York and the people in it even more.” is an atrocious way to conclude this piece.  I think I wrote something like this in a C-level paper in middle school.  Now before you get all defensive and others call me a douche for being so mean, I am pointing out major flaws in what is coming from a paid professional “weekend columnist and staff writer.”