What’s in your handbag?

In my case the quick and slightly flippant answer to the question “What’s in your handbag?” would be a load of junk. I often have to rummage past loose receipts and flyers for heaven only knows what when I’m looking for what I want. I suspect I’m not alone on that count. The more truthful answer is that the contents are far from junk. This introspection has come from Money Supermarket’s Home Insurance competition, drawing attention to what our bags are worth and getting people to think about whether they are properly insured.

It’s not been that long since I traded in my Pink Lining change bag for a proper handbag  – one of the joys of getting to pre-school age. I do still often have various Abi related items in there, including a pencil case full of hearing aid paraphernalia, sun hat and spare knickers, but for the purposes of this post we’ll pretend I’m having a child-free day. The bag itself is a decent sized brown leather bag by Rowallan. I bought it in a local shop and I love the combo of size, looks and sturdiness. I would love a designer statement bag but finances dictate otherwise.

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The little external zip pocket is dedicated to items for Abi that are small but important – a comb and hairslide, notepad and mini-crayons and a pack of hearing aid batteries. Not very exciting and not very valuable. The zip pocket inside also has some essentials, like a pack of aspirin, throat lozenges and a nail file, but here it starts to gets a bit more exciting. I always have lip balm and gloss with me, and at the moment my bag has two Benefit Her Glossiness glosses and a Body Shop one. On my more optimistic days I have a tinted Factor 50 sun cream in there too.

In an inside pocket designed for a mobile I carry my HTC Windows phone and my rail passes which are tucked up in a lovely multi-coloured leather cover. I’m on a contract so had no clue how much the phone would cost to buy, but a quick google soon gave me a figure. Last but not least is the cavernous main pocket. Lurking in the bottom are the resident pens, diary and rather battered looking notebook. The value of these are a drop in the ocean compared with what’s coming next.

With so many appointments to juggle and a small child to amuse during the hours we spend waiting for them I always have my Kindle Fire in my bag. I have a great diary app on there, lots of books for both of us and a bunch of apps to keep madam amused. (It’s not unheard of for me to have my Kindle e-reader in there too, and both have cases that cost £20 – £30) Then there’s my camera which is virtually always in there. It’s an older model Canon DSLR which I normally carry around with a nice little 50mm lens on.

Doing my maths quickly, before I even think about my wallet the contents hit over £1000. Gulp! My wallet itself isn’t worth much but as I discovered recently (when I thought I had lost it) the potential loss is easy to underestimate. Even if credit and debit cards aren’t fraudulently used it takes time and effort to replace them. Lose a loyalty card like a Nectar card and I suspect there’s not a lot you can do if someone decides to use your hard saved points before you have chance to cancel it. Right now I have £85 worth of points on mine and think of it as cash these days. Then there are membership cards and annual passes, many of which come with a charge for replacement. £5 here and £10 there soon add up! I tend to carry door and car keys in my pockets and sunglasses on top of my head but if they were in the bag they would add another chunk of change to the total.

The net result of this exercise is that I am feeling slightly queasy about what I stand to lose should the whole thing be lost or stolen. I am fairly confident I know what our insurance covers but I will certainly be more vigilant in future, and I will be checking our contents policy just to make sure!

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