May 29, 2009

Doing your banking in vintage style

There is, in no uncertain terms, nothing glamorous about the current economic crisis that much of the world is in at the moment. As this crippling recession continue to dig its claws into society, it’s becoming harder and harder to avoid being affected by its merciless wrath. However, matter how much you wish to avoid thinking about this grim situation, there is little getting around the fact that on a smaller scale each of us still needs to tend to daily or weekly banking and financial matters.

In these modern days of online banking, ATMS on more street corners than Starbucks, and handy-dandy debit cards, it can be easy to forgot that just a few decades ago none of this instant financial technology existed. It would seem akin to something from The Jetsons for a person who lived in the fifties to imagine having an bank account that’s accessible from a computer and from which they can pay for goods at an online auction. In the past most people made frequent trips to the bank, dealt mainly with cash or cheques ("checks" to my lovely US readers), and in place of plastic credit cards may have had a charge card or charge account with a local merchant or department store.

Since the advent of bank statements delivered via the mail (and email), online banking and the use of “statement” books that are updated when you present them to a teller at your bank, a lot less people have a need to actually balance their cheque books each month, but that doesn’t mean cheques aren’t still used, people don’t head to the bank in person, or cash isn’t used (not yet at least!).

While the world’s economic state may be far from beautiful right now, I definitely think that on a personal level we can all do things to make the daily task (or chore, depending on how you view it) of banking more fun, thanks to vintage items geared towards money management. The following are a selection of such pieces, each of which would have me opening my wallet today in the hopes of saving more money in the long run :)

{Part rockabilly, part retro bombshell, this charming little tattooed leopard print clutch style purse – which is retailing on Amazon for $19.99S – can easily serve as a stylish and sexy wallet.}

{To me there is something so wonderfully old fashion about the act of opening and closing a metal top coin purse. Doing so seems to invoke visions of grandmas handing coins to their grandkids to go buy sweets with, or a housewife counting out coins to pay the newspaper boy on collection day. Sporting a lovely cream, pink and green rose pattern, this sweet little coin purse – which is available for $15US – from etsy seller Lace House would be exactly the kind of coin holder I’d pick up if I was in the market for one.}

{Tired of hauling around important financial paperwork to the tax or accountant’s office in plain folders or cardboard boxes? Instead add an instant hit of class and beauty to your wardrobe and paperwork with this handcrafted satchel style briefcase from etsy seller Cambridge Satchel. At 15 inches wide and 10 inches high this classically stylish leather bag – which sells for $110US – could easily accommodate a small to medium sized laptop or many pages of paperwork.}

{While they might not be as commonplace in your everyday life as they once were (when was the last time you used one to pay for something in a store?), cheques are definitely still in use. Why not make the job of signing over your hard earned money a little more fun with this darling 1950s inspired pink cheque book cover from etsy artist BreeLeeD? It’s currently on sale in her shop for $7.50US.}

{No reason your cheque book cover should be the only awesome vintage inspired piece in your bill paying arsenal! Wouldn't it be fun to send out personal cheques with the eternally beautiful Marilyn Monroe herself on them? A box of 150 single cheques sells for $17.95US, and should you like, a coordinating leather cheque book cover featuring Marilyn can be purchased for $19.95US.}

{Channel your inner Joan Holloway as you write out cheques or sign documents at the bank while looking fashionably beautiful in a classic, secretarial style gold toned pen necklace – all for a mere $20US! How’s that for a budget-friendly deal?}

{For the past few months my husband and I have been really serious about tracking every penny that comes in or goes out. At home we use an online program to track our expenses, but while on the go I like to record my purchases in a handy little notebook so that I can be certain not to forgot about them later on. At 4.5x6 inches this pretty pin-up bedecked, 80 ruled page notebook from etsy crafter Timeless Totes would easily slip into a medium or large purse or over-sized clutch, and can be yours for $7.00US.}

{Standing in long lines at banks really calls for sensible, comfortable shoes. So leave those mile-high stilettos at home and opt for something timelessly lovely like this pair of beige leather pumps from the 1950s, which etsy seller RevampVintage describes as being ten inches long at the insole. At the bargain price of $16.99US, it’s probably a good thing these pretty shoes aren’t in my size, I’d be very tempted to get them if they were!}

{Tuck your pocket change and loose coins away for a rainy day in a vintage bank such as this absolutely adorable pink, blue and yellow pipe smoking piggy, which is available for $20.00US from etsy seller ebielli.}

While I can’t guarantee that rocking any of these wonderful vintage pieces will help you to save more or become even better at managing your money, they’re definitely the type of playful, gorgeous pieces I’d bank on style-wise any day!


  1. I still carry a check book with a fun little cover and I can honestly say that my mom used to wear her "pen" around her neck as jewelery.
    Enjoy your day!

  2. hi jessica

    As a child, I had all these with me....and i am sure it is still there on the attics of my parents....after seeing this, i am so much inspired that i will dig out everything and try to use it....will send some pics if possible....lovely post...

  3. I've got a pin stuck in my shirt collar now; good way to keep it handy -smile-.
    Check out; Thistle Cove Farm is featured, come visit.

  4. i never go anywhere without my kisslock coin purse inside my handbag. it definitely brings back lots of childhood memories with grandma

    hugs to you, jessica!

  5. Lovely finds!!

    When I'm not shopping on the internet, i pay for EVERYTHING with cash, the process becomes more real then.

    I also think there is something to be said for the old days when folks got a weekly pay in a brown envelope! Waiting until the end of the month to be paid for work you did sometimes 3 weeks ago is totally SO wrong!

  6. @ Rechelle, I carry a cheque book with me too, but usually it only sees the light of day when I'm paying rent or renewing a magazine subscription, as so many things are paid through online banking nowadays (I find). Do you find many opportunities to use your cheque book these day? (How sweetly special that you mom used to wear a pen necklace! I think they are so pretty.)

    @ Vasudha, I'm very happy that I could help bring back some special childhood memories for you. Thank you for sharing that with me. Indeed, I would love to see photos of the treasures from your parents' attic :)

    @ Thistle Cove Farm, thank you for your comment. Giant congrats on being featured on, I will indeed rush right over and check it out!

    @ MissRedLips, how preciously sweet! What does your coin purse look like? I rarely seem to have enough coins on hand to carry one around, but after putting together this post and seeing some of the adorable vintage/vintage inspired ones out there, I'm tempted to pick one up for myself.

    @ MissMatilda, I agree with you so much! Since 2009 kicked off I've been trying to pay for as much in cash as possible, it really does help ground you to the moment and the reality of how much actual money you have to spend. Likewise I agree that it would be awesome to get paid every week. Sure the lump sum would be smaller than (it is) for 2-4 weeks, but it would likely help reduce the stress of stretching one's pay over 14 or more days.

    Thank you very much everyone for your wonderful comments, it is an absolute joy to converse with each of you!
    ♥ Jessica