Hi there! I'm in Canada. My Scottish grandfather called his money holding item a purse, as you do. Maybe it's a British term? In visiting the U.S.A., I hear what I call a purse, a handbag, being called a pocketbook. Which to me is something to read. I always have to think when I hear my sil talking about her pocketbook. Very confusing isn't it!
We call handbags purses or handbags, interchangeably. And my wallet goes into mine.
And Mason's definition of a tote I agree with. Usually open and they can be larger than an everyday handbag. Purse. Some totes are huge, and I have a quite small one for knitting projects. Wallets are where I keep my money and cards. My grandfather's purse. Around and around we go!!! I can see why you are mixed up! Maybe you can see sizes on the patterns and that will help you decide? That's what I usually do. Good luck from another handbagpurse knitter! samm