No one likes to pay extra money. However, there are a number of fees that you end up paying as you go through life. Indeed, it seems as though there are always new fees cropping up everywhere you turn, whether it's an increase in ATM fees, or whether you discover that you can no longer check even one bag for free when you fly.
If you want to avoid some of the more common fees, it is possible, with a little planning.
1. ATM Fees
One of the ways that you can avoid ATM fees is to look for a bank that doesn't charge you for using the ATM. At the very least, your bank shouldn't charge you when you use one of its own machines. There are also financial institutions that will reimburse you for fees you incur at other banks' ATMs. But if you don't want to switch banks, and you are tired of trying to find the “right” ATM because you aren't reimbursed, you can follow another path.
Many stores will give you cash back when you use your debit card. If you can get cash back at the grocery store, or while you are running other errands, just by using your debit card, you might as well get cash back. Then you'll have the cash you need — and you won't even have to make an extra trip to the ATM, and you won't have to worry about fees.
2. Airline Bag Fees
Among the more recent additions to the world of annoying fees is the airline bag fee. You used to be able to bring two bags for free, then it was one bag. Now there are some airlines that charge for your first checked bag. However, there are still some airlines (like Southwest) that have more generous checked bag policies.
Another option is to join an airline loyalty program. Some programs provide you the opportunity to check your bags for free if you obtain “premier” or “elite” status. Many airline branded rewards cards also help you avoid airline bag fees (but then you have to be on the watch for offsetting your savings with interest and other credit card fees).
3. Shipping Fees
More and more, if you want to avoid shipping fees, many online retailers are obliging. However, the catch is that you often have to purchase a minimum dollar amount. If you are making numerous purchases, or are planning one big purchase, this can be helpful. We used to plan our Amazon.com purchases waiting until we had enough to qualify for free “super saver” shipping. However, since we signed up for a Prime account, we get two-day shipping on much of what we buy.
Other ways to avoid shipping include going to FreeShipping.org, as well as looking at other rebate and promo web sites for codes that can help you get free shipping.
With a little planning, you can find good deals, and you can avoid paying some common fees. Spend a few minutes looking around for other options; you might be surprised at what's out there.
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