If you're like me, then you have a penchant for mishap and misadventure.
I tell you, there was a time when I must've lost, damaged or got stolen my most important articles (I'm talking about my wallet, cellphone, debit card, passport) at least once every six months. It got so bad that I contemplated setting up a savings account just to cover the cost of recovering these important items.
But this trial by fire eventually led to me to discover the best ways to keep everything in my pocket and after a while, there was no need for that account. Oh sure, I still have mishaps from time to time, but you don't lose the building blocks of your life every six months without finally learning how to minimize the damage and saving a little money in the process.
I went through it, so you don't have to. Therefore, when you read the following tips – don't forget to tip your server and thank him on the way out.
Insure Your Cellphone
Honestly, what's wrong with us? Phones aren't phones anymore. We've taken to carrying personal computers in our pockets. Phones are daytimers, internet connections, maps, music players, video players and more. Our entire lives are on our phones and yet, they are as fragile as the computers they are and we carry them in our pockets.
Something we take everywhere should be more durable. Something we take everywhere should not be stored in an open piece of cloth. But it's not and it is, so we're bound to damage it or lose it at some point.
This is why when you get a cellphone, you should sign up for the protection plan. I'm with Rogers and for only for $7.99 a month on top of a bill I would be paying anyway, I have access to an insurance plan from Asurion that will instantly replace my phone for any reason – loss, theft or damage. All I have to do is pay a fee at the time of claim. The fee is $125.00 plus tax. This may seem like a significant amount of money in isolation, but when you consider that when you need to replace a phone without this protection it can cost you $400-$600, it is much cheaper.
Where does this estimate of $400-$600 come from? This cost can be the cost of the phone you lost (if you received it free with your contract) combined with the punitive fees for breaking your contract and your regular usage bill.
However, if you pay the $125.00 and send your damaged phone back in the provided prepaid envelope, you'll get another phone in two days with no judgement, no exclusions, no additional cost and no additional commitment.
Support Tracking Technology
One of the easiest ways to keep your wallet in your pocket is to buy a wallet chain, but there's no chain for your cellphone, so use the tracking capabilities that are already available. There are many apps, such as Lookout, which will use the GPS and photo technology in your phone to help you track it down when it's lost or stolen. Lookout will goes as far as taking a picture of the thief with your phone's camera and e-mailing it to you. Some cellphone brands, such as Sony Xperia have their own tracking software built in to their phones. All you need is a regular computer and an internet connection to see where your phone went off to.
Of course, even though a wallet chain is the best low-tech solution to prevent lost wallets, there are high-tech solutions too. Tracking technology has come to wallets as well, thanks to a number of Kickstarter projects. SmartWallit is a successfully funded project where your wallet and cellphone work together to find each other. If you leave the room without your wallet, your cellphone rings and if you leave the room without your cellphone, your wallet rings. This is just one idea. There are a myriad of others.
Don't Put Everything in One Place
One of the best ways to minimize the impact of lost articles is to not keep all your important cards and documents in one place. Backup your photos and contacts in the cloud so they are easily recoverable if you ever need to replace your phone. As an Android user, my phone gives me the option to backup my contacts in my gmail account and backup my photos on Google+.
I don't put all my cards in my wallet, only the ones I need at the time – the rest stay at home. When you go on vacation, you might consider carrying a dummy wallet in an easily accessible pocket that would act as bait for thieves, while your real wallet sits in a much more secure location on your person.
How do you keep track of your most important items? Tell us in the comments.
Photo credit: Len Matthews