I designed this wallet because I had a little too much fun one night and puked all over my nice leather wallet. Finding the right wallet is hard - every one I try seems to have one drawback or another. And I wear them out rather quickly. I have been using my rubber band wallet for quite a while now with pretty good results.
I can not take full credit for the rubber band wallet, however. My brother in law has been using a similar system for many years now.
I started this instructable mostly as a joke because I had destroyed my wallet. I'd originally intended to get another wallet, but I'm still using the rubber band method - In fact, I've improved on the design a bit. Instead of a rubber band, I'm using a hair band that I got for free from a girl at a bar. It's held up longer than any rubber band I ever had (even the nice black one) and still shows very little sign of wear. Also, stuff slides in and out of it easier.
I do have a problem with magnetic stripes wearing out, but I think I can solve this with some simple paper sleeves around the most frequently used cards.
Step 1: Collect Materials and Items to Be Walleted
1. A rubber band
Items to be contained in the wallet
1. Credit cards
2. Amusement park season passes
3. Phone cards
4. Store discount cards
5. Various membership cards
6. Business cards
7. Scraps of paper with phone numbers, etc written on them
9. Anything else that will fit nicely
Step 2: Wrap Band Around Cards
Stack up the cards and money neatly, then wrap the rubber band around the whole pile. You can experiment with wrapping the long way, but I find that it works better the short way. This will depend on the rubber band you are using.
Step 3: Using the Rubber Band Wallet
Money should be kept on the top. I like to fold bills of the same denomination together and insert them separately. Quick access cards should be kept near the top, but I like to keep an unimportant protector card on top of the quick access cards - just below the cash.
The rubber band should be tight enough to keep the whole pile together, but loose enough that cards can be removed without too much resistance. Too much resistance will increase the friction on the cards and cause them to get scratched up and wear out - the magnetic stripes will begin to fail.
You can see that I'm using a phone card as my protector card - and it is starting to fall apart. That's ok, I never use it. I also have a subway card and a Valley Fair season pass from last summer that I use as protector cards - the Valley Fair card is on the very bottom.
Step 4: Maintaining the Rubber Band Wallet
I am currently using a big black rubber band that came on something or other. Or maybe I just found it in the street - I don't recall.
But rubber bands eventually get old and brittle and will break. So you simply replace the rubber band.
You can buy a package of 1000 at any department store or office supply store for around $0.20. I'm exaggerating of course, but the point is they're cheap.
Or you can stop in any gas station - which is where you'll likely be when the band finally breaks, and ask for a rubber band from the cashier. I have never been refused a rubber band except when they did not have any. They will give you one for free - they're so cheap and people request them so infrequently that it never occurs to them not to give you one. Perhaps it helps that they are a bit flabbergasted by the guy using a rubber band to hold his cards and money together.
I once tried using some thick-old rubber bands that came on the hinges of a door - to protect the brass I suppose. At first they looked quite suitable for a wallet, but it turns out that they are just a little too long to fit once around the cards the short way and a little to short to fit once around the long way. You can get them on the long way, but it puts much too much force on the stack.
The big black band is the best - I recommend keeping an eye out whenever you're walking along the street. I'll be quite sad when this one finally breaks. The kind you get from gas stations are usually cheap thin ones which don't hold up well at all.