At the Bank
ATM fees: When you go to withdraw money from an ATM, try to use one in your bank’s network. ATMs outside of your bank will charge fees, which can add up significantly over time. If you know you will be using other bank’s ATMs frequently, consider looking for a bank that refunds ATM charges.
Overdraft fees: If possible, you should be able to avoid overdraft fees by keeping a close eye on your checking account and budgeting your money carefully. However, again, if you are concerned about overdraft fees, look for a bank that protects against them. Some banks do this for free by backing your checking account up with your savings account, so that you have a backup plan if your checking account runs out of money.
Hotel and airline fees: Be careful when booking hotels or scheduling flights, especially cheaper ones. Many budget hotels and airlines maintain low rates by charging high fees for things such as cancellations, luggage, and access to various amenities. If you are flying with a lot of luggage, see whether you can ship your things ahead of time. If you are checking into a resort hotel, check what is complimentary with your room. Some hotels choose fees for things like internet and pool access.
Car rental fees: If you rent a car, you don’t need to pay for the collision waiver as long as you have car insurance. Additionally, if you rented from an airport, fill up the tank before returning to the airport. Having it refueled at the airport is expensive, both due to the fees, and due to the higher gas costs.
Late payment fees: Like many of these fees, late payment fees are completely avoidable with vigilance and planning. Set your bills on auto-pay, spacing payments throughout the month so that you don’t lose a huge amount of money every month, which can put you at risk for overdraft fees. If any of your bills don’t have an auto-pay option, set a monthly reminder to pay them.
Credit card fees: Use care when searching for a credit card, as many have additional fees that can really cut into your account. Look for annual fees, foreign transaction fees, and other fees that can be cleverly hidden in your contract. Cards with lower fees often have higher interest rates, so be careful about paying your credit card bill so you can take advantage of the cheapest cards without consequences.