In a long-term struggling economy, every penny counts. There are a number of financial fees you could be paying that are unnecessary. Why pay a bank to save your money? Why let excessive credit card fees eat the payments you send them? Here are some financial fees to avoid and keep more of your hard earned money in your own pocket:
Credit Card Fees
If you must carry credit cards, at least take the time to choose the ones that can financially benefit you. Avoid credit cards with annual fees. Why should you pay $39 or more to carry a card in your wallet? The only exception to this rule is if you are part of a rewards program where your rewards consistently give you more than what you pay for the annual fee to get those rewards.
Keep an eye on your credit card interest rate and on credit card offers your receive. If you have the opportunity to transfer your balance to another card for a lower interest rate, consider it. The only time it doesn’t make sense to move the balance from a higher interest credit card to a lower interest credit card is if the balance transfer fees are excessive (and will wipe out any savings you may have gotten from the lower interest rate;) or if the new card’s interest rate is only temporary and will then increase higher than the interest rate on the credit card you’re currently using.
Ideally, you would avoid using credit cards completely and avoid all finance charges and interest on your purchases. If you can make the switch to using a debit card or paying for everything with cash, you will probably find you save more money and spend less than you do when using credit cards.
Most people find they need a checking account and a savings account in order to properly manage their finances, but you have options. You can select your banking institution based on the fees they charge (or rather, the ones they don’t charge!) to ensure more of your money stays in your accounts and less goes to the bank.
Many overdraft fees can be avoided by opting out of overdraft protection, or by connecting your savings account to your checking account so that if you overspend from checking the bank can automatically pull money from savings to cover the difference. Another way to avoid overdraft fees, which can range from $25 to $40 per item overdrawn at most banks, is to keep a buffer of money in your checking account that you don’t plan to spend. You could deposit an extra $100 that you don’t add into your balance in your check register – so that if you make a mistake and overdraw your account, you have up to $100 to cover the transaction(s). Just make sure if you do end up using that cash reserve that you remember to replace it for the next time!
Choose bank accounts without monthly maintenance fees. There are so many institutions offering free checking accounts that it doesn’t make sense to pay each month for the privilege of having your account at a specific bank.