How to avoid little fees and be worry-free

Avoid Late Fees

You may be ready to start saving your money, or maybe you're already saving. But there's one thing that we might not even think about when we're watching our budgets: fees. Hidden and sometimes not-so-hidden fees are things that can get in the way of your future plans. Don't miss out and lose your money. Instead, take a look at a list of things to look out for and how to avoid them.

Flights
Flights are notorious for having a lot of hidden fees. You should start by saving money on your tickets with budget airline carriers. Just make sure you watch out for higher baggage fees. Always check the costs of bringing a carry-on versus checking a bag – and check the size requirements. You could have your travel budget down pat, but be forced to fork over charges once you're at the airport if you don't plan accordingly.

Hotels
Hidden fees don't end when you leave the airport. Hotels can be just as sneaky. Travel + Leisure recommends asking about fees that are not included in the total before you arrive for your stay. What doesn't make it into the original quote might surprise you. If there's a fee for something you don't plan to use, like a safe or fitness center, ask to have it removed from your bill.

Free trial periods
Lots of online services for video subscriptions or delivery services offer free trial periods. Ads for these trials make it clear that you'll get two weeks or a month of service for free. What you need to keep an eye on is when your card will be charged. Plus, some trial periods come with services that aren't free. Take the time to read the fine print, and don't forget to cancel subscriptions if you don't want them or you'll get a surprise bill.

Shipping
Shipping a package involves a lot of factors, so there's a lot of room for fees. Weight, dimensions, even the time of year all influence the cost to ship something. Of course, you also have to consider factors like reliability and convenience. Fortunately, USPS, FedEx and UPS all have rate calculators that make it easy to figure out exactly how much you can expect to pay. This should help you weigh the benefits of cost savings versus time savings.

Credit cards
Credit card companies charge a variety of fees, but not all companies charge the same ones. That's why you have to do your research before you sign up. While you might be familiar with late payment fees and monthly balance fees, keep in mind that some companies also charge balance transfer fees for switching to their cards from other accounts. Others charge foreign transaction fees when you use their cards to buy something outside the United States.

Checking account fees
Even though checking accounts are supposed to make saving money easy, they can come with fees that wind up costing you.

Here are three common fees to watch out for:

  1. Out-of-network ATM fees: These are fees that banks charge for withdrawing money from ATMs outside their own branch ATMs. They are usually between $2.00 and $3.50, but that can add up quickly.
  2. Overdraft fees: If you withdraw more money from your account than you have in it, you may be charged an overdraft fee.
  3. Minimum balance fees: This is the price of not having enough money in a bank account. Some banks require you to maintain at least a certain amount in your account.

You can avoid most if not all of these hidden fees if you plan ahead and keep your eyes open. Then every dollar that you save can be put toward the things you're saving for in the first place.

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