Minimalist Wallet Series: Jessica Parsons of Minimalist Mum

What is in Jessica’s Backpack:

Thanks for inviting me to write about this illuminating idea! Plus it was a great opportunity to clean out the Bag.

The Stuff

I tried not to cheat too much – I’ve pictured what I had in the pack when I got the request.

  • some random spare clothes for my two kids based on our last outing
  • DS’s swimming goggles (I fear they may get lost if I keep them in the big swimming bag with towels and clothes
  • red pompom toys from DS’s end of school picnic: hadn’t cleaned them out
  • $NZ1 (one New Zealand dollar coin)
  • hairclip for DD
  • travel bottle of hand sanitiser: this is a real just in case item and rarely used
  • single contact lens case: added when I was on a revolving door schedule with the optometrist and still seems handy just in case
  • tissue pack
  • sample sanitising wipe: seems like the best place to carry it, you know, just in case, but I admit that usually they get destroyed before I need to use them
  • pens that might even work
  • loaner cellphone from DH while mine was being fixed
  • the wallet

The Wallet

  • Food preferences card designed by my sister for giving to restaurants not familiar with the McDougall Program. Never so far used.
  • Organic World membership card
  • ticket for Feast for Freedom: gourmet vegan dinner held by Animal Freedom Aoteoroa last year (I’m drooling just thinking about it!)
  • NZ driver’s license
  • US Social Security card – I should store this with my passport as there’s no daily use for it!
  • Cashpoint card
  • Medical insurance card
  • AA card
  • Library card
  • Supermarket points card
  • Credit card
  • Pet store card: while we had to put our cats down in 2008, we hope to have a new cat family very soon. I’m sure if I’d stored this elsewhere for years I would never have found it again. Glad I still have it because it saved me $16 today when buying cat gear.
  • Fuel discount voucher and various receipts
  • The cash

When I am childfree, I prefer to travel only with The Wallet and The Cellphone. The backpack is used when I’m with both kids and then it gets loaded up with stuff not seen here: snacks and drink bottle and any errand-related items.

When it’s just DD, I often just put The Wallet and The Cellphone into her little pink backpack for a truly minimalist experience. I recall when DS was little, my bag was quite tiny too, but during the stage of both kids in the spilly stage and nappies (diapers), there’s only so much you can leave behind.

This habit has meant a couple of emergency trips to the preschool to retrieve said items.

Note: It’s summer in New Zealand. In colder weather, I can’t travel this lightly.

Also note: total lack of personal grooming items. Grooming for me happens at home or not at all! Mothers to be, this could happen to you, believe it or not.

The Bag

Mine is a Kathmandu backpack, not a handbag, bought when I still did more active adventurous outdoor stuff than wading at the beach or climbing the monkey bars.

For mothers and other adventurers, I highly recommend a backpack for a handbag because

  • you have to use your hands for so many other things
  • it’s better for your already strained back than a shoulder bag or handbag – not only is it carried on your back but you can distribute a bulky load over your entire back (not just one point) with heavier things at the bottom
  • the average backpack is stronger than the average handbag
  • you can keep your things safe with you while still playing with your kids at the park or beach – try lifting a three year old up to the monkey bars with a shoulder bag on you!

Mine is very tough and lightweight, plus I can zip the top section down and use it as a waist pouch. (Never do, but could.)

About Jessica Parsons

I write for Minimalist Mum.

I’m a trained professional technical super geeky writer and opera singer and currently untrained unpaid professional mother of Alex (5) and Nadia (3), which is much harder.

I eat a vegan diet and so do my kids, and so does my husband when I’m serving the food.

I was born in the USA and moved with my parents and sister to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1988. Still here.

I discovered minimalism through frugalism and simple living. I’m getting more marginal in my views as I get older but less likely to argue them with somebody just for the sake of it. But always ready to talk!


About The Minimalist Wallet Series

I brazenly asked and they’ve delivered!

Bloggers all over are kindly opening up their wallets every Tuesday and showing us what they carry.

Want to be featured? Contact me.

(Hey and if you’re not a blogger but you are a minimalist, I’d love to feature you too!)


The Everyday Minimalist

On Minimalism

Be More with Less

Mind the Beginner

Curb your Consumerism

Move to Portugal

See more Minimalist Wallets in the Series.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.