Where to put cash once you save it: Ten stylish wallets under $20

Recently as I waited in line to purchase yet another concoction from the Whole Foods salad bar, the zipper on my wallet literally popped off. Coins, a flash drive, expired gift cards and some cash poured onto the conveyor belt at the check out line.

Alas, the term "WalletPop" took on a whole new meaning.

I realized then that it was probably time for me to stop cramming my financial life into a small student ID holder--given to me three years earlier--that has since faded from a vibrant neon pink to grungy brown.

But I didn't want to further break my not-yet-purchased wallet with a hefty new purchase. Nor did I want to sacrifice making a style statement. Thus began my search for 10 unique wallets under $20.

1. Laser Kitty Wallet ($16)

Have you seen how awesome this wallet is? Michael Wood who runs the Etsy store Tiny Meat penned this gem last summer at a coffee shop in Portland, Ore. He says it has become his most popular wallet, which is saying something since he has a lot to chose from like "Thrify Cuts" and "Etsy Lovers." At only $12, the checkbook version of Lasercats (pictured) makes me wish I had a reason to carry around checks. While this wallet might pose a threat to a weary cashier, Wood warns "laserkitties only use their spectacular rainbow laser beams for the forces of good." Phew.

2. Bacon Wallet ($16)

I know, it seems silly for a vegetarian to somehow still want this bacon-clad wallet. But who doesn't want to bring more bacon? The fiscal kind, that is: Maybe it'll inspire me to rake in the bacon rather than spend it. This faux-leather accessory contains six credit card slots, three small pockets and two bill pockets. If the bacon version is too mouth-watering, also check out the buttered toast model or the peanut butter and jelly pouch for $12. They look eerily realistic. So please, don't take a bite out of your wallet, literally.

Elephino ($17.99)

These pastel elephants on this Bungalow 360 wallet are stylized to look so cute, your wallet may get more "coos" than that baby in the shopping cart behind you. The company calls itself "Earth Happy" and its wallets are made from 100% canvas cotton. Other styles are available on their website, but I'd die for a wallet version of the out-of-stock "You Otter Know" tote. The cutest animals at the zoo combined with an angry Alanis Morissette song. Yes, please.

I Heart Money ($3.99)

This one was a tough call between the funny insufficient funds coin purse and the adorable raccoon bandit boasting "I Heart Money," but the cute animal and humor combination won me over. Both coin purses are from BlueQ and are made from 95% recycle post-consumer materials hence the crinkled look. The size is big enough to avoid any further zipper-popping situations.

5. Vintage Typewriter Pouch ($10)

The look of this vintage typewriter hit home for the nostalgic writer in me. But this wallet from Ity-Bity Bags stands out on its own as the sea-foam green background contrasts with the bright red typewriter Sticking to the food trend seen in other wallets, also check out appliqued styles like "Taco Time" and "Happy Junk Food", both only $11.

6. Nintendo Controller Wallet ($10)

As a kid who grew up playing Super Mario Bros. on an original Nintendo, I was brought back to a simpler time when my only goal was the rescue the princess and my hardest decision was whether or not to take a warp zone past the underwater level. If the imagery wasn't cool enough, this wallet's made from duct tape, too. ( I wonder how you fix it if it rips.) I can almost hear the Super Mario's Bros theme song playing in my head right now...

7. Old School Boombox ($6)

This two-pocket mini wallet from Craftie Robot is perfect for guys who don't want that overstuffed wallet bulge in their back pocket. It's thin and sleek, yet made from 12-gauge vinyl, which makes it also durable. Blasting Run DMC every time you pull this wallet out is suggested, but not required.

8. Credit Card Holder ($12)

I'll admit, some of my selections may be too wacky for your taste, but this one is cute, functional and a perfect fit for a student i.d. The design is an original from Cassy Lain Totes and comes in assorted fabric selections.

Grommet Wallet ($18)

I found this studded number after falling in love with a Miu Miu wallet that boosted a bold $225 price tag. I wouldn't have any money to put in that wallet after spending that much. No, thanks. I'll take the still stylish version from Urban Outfitters.

10. You Don't Knome Me ($14)

While Kitten Camero has plenty of vegan vinyl wallets to chose from in her Etsy shop, the tree rings combined with the gnome image was a winner for me. If you're still in need of an accessory for the Pride Parade, check out the Rainbow Flag and Rainbow Quilt wallets.

Clothes to Free, appearing Thursdays, is a weekly fashion-on-a-budget column by Money College blogger Alysse Dalessandro. Send Alysse column tips at MoneyCollege@walletpop.com.
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