Some fees and taxes are inevitable. Whether you're shopping for groceries, concert tickets, or cars, it's common to pay more than what the sticker price says. We live in a world where sales tax, subscription fees, recycling fees, initiation fees, handling fees, and usage fees are the norm. While you can do your best to avoid these costs, your best strategy is to be prepared.
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Thankfully, there are some fees you can avoid altogether. Here we take a look at some of the easiest fees to avoid.
1. ATM Transaction Fees
At some machines, ATM fees can be as high as $3.50 per transaction. Instead of giving into these fees, try to withdraw your money ahead of time. When possible, make a purchase with your debit card to get cash back. If you are in a situation when you need to pay an ATM fee, make sure to call your bank afterward. Some banks have a policy for refunding these fees. If you don't ask, you'll never know.
2. Credit Card Interest
If you're spending beyond your means, it's time to make some serious life changes. When you pay credit card interest, you're paying fees on top of what you're already paying for your purchases. The problem is, you get absolutely nothing for the interest and fees you pay when using a credit card - except the ability to put yourself even deep in debt.
You may be surprised to learn that some online sellers make a profit on shipping fees. This means that online shoppers need to be be vigilant about what they pay for shipping. Whenever possible, shop with retailers who offer free or low-cost standard shipping and returns, and always look for free shipping coupon codes when you shop. If you are shopping on eBay or buying from another smaller seller, you can always try to negotiate a shipping discount as well.
4. Sales Tax
In some states, sales tax is higher than 9%. With rates this high, the cost can really add up. Buying items online can be a way to avoid sales tax as long as the company you are purchasing the items from doesn't operate out of your state. However, many states are unhappy about losing this sales tax revenue, so this loophole could close in the future.
5. Gym Membership Fees
On top of your monthly rate, some gyms charge initiation or processing fees. Shop around for gyms that don't require this expense, look for coupons or try to negotiate. Try your best to get this fee waived.
6. Over-the-Top Parking Fees
Depending on where you live, these fees may be unavoidable. However, if there's free parking nearby, it's worth a walk to save the money - plus it's good for you! Also, if you're shopping or eating at a restaurant, pay attention to whether you can validate your parking pass.
7. Late Fees
Keep track of all of your accounts to make sure that your payments are all on time. Whenever possible, set up automatic bill payments. If you do forget to make a payment, call the service to apologize. You may be able to get your fee waived. While a fee waiver isn't guaranteed, it doesn't hurt to try.
8. Fees for Subscriptions You Don't Use
We're human - we get lazy. Regardless, our laziness should never cost us money. Next time you have a moment, go through your credit card statement to double check whether you're paying for services that you're no longer using. If so, cut the subscription immediately. Even if it's a few dollars, those funds will add up quickly.
The Bottom Line
While some fees are unavoidable, you can cut many others right out of your life. Even a few dollars here and there will add up, so make sure that you're being as efficient as possible with your spending.
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