Financial tips for our budget is always a good thing. We never stop learning new ways to save a little here and there. Do you know that banks and other financial institutions make millions of dollars on late fees, overdraft fees, and ATM charges? Saving a little here and there adds up looking at it on an annual basis.– Dave Obregon
If you needed another reason to try to avoid paying ATM fees, here’s one. The average cost of using an out-of-network machine is now $4.69, according to Bankrate.com. And that’s not the only cost that’s on the rise. Overdraft fees now average $33.38. But here’s the thing: It’s also not all that hard to avoid paying these fees. If there’s no in-network ATM in sight, ducking into a grocery store or drug store and making a small purchase (something you needed anyway, of course) can enable you to get cash back. (Or, just use your debit card or an app like Venmo instead.) As for overdraft fees, set up daily balance alerts on your financial institution’s website — they usually send them out via email or text — and turn off “overdraft protection” altogether so your card is declined in case of insufficient funds. (In my personal opinion, one moment of embarrassment at the cash register is probably worth saving over $30.) And if you do end up with an overdraft? Give your bank a call, and ask for the fee to be waived — usually, they’ll do this for free about once a year.
The Fine Print On High Interest Rate Savings Accounts
And while we’re on the subject of bank fees… Let’s talk high interest rate savings accounts for a minute. These accounts sometimes trumpet offers like 1 percent or more interest (compared to regular savings account rates, which hover around 0.01 percent at big national banks). Sounds good (or at least better), but read the fine print. It’s not worth switching banks if you’re signing up for an account with a teaser interest rate that will return to normal after a brief period of time, reports CBS News. Another thing to watch out for are “relationship requirements,” like opening up a checking account with the institution. Although opening up one extra account might seem simple, sometimes other rules could piggyback onto that — like direct deposit requirements and maintenance or activity fees. Finally, beware of maximum balance and activity requirements you might not be able to hit. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — as many as it takes to get a clear answer — and read the fine print before signing on for anything. And if you’re willing to jump through hoops to get a higher interest rate, a high interest rate checking account may be a better bet.