Happy new year! Is this the year that you get out of debt? If you have no debt, do you have funds for emergencies, retirement, traveling, new car, down payment on a house, and any other goal you may have? Now is the time to start working on your financial goals!
Some people think parts of my frugality mean that I sacrifice. Well, I’m happy doing without some luxuries in order to have what’s important to me. What’s important to you?
Some of my frugal ways are actually healthier! Just think… less fast food, no soda, more walking, etc.
One frugal aspect that is absolutely not a sacrifice is avoiding unnecessary fees. You can use the money (even if you “waste” it) more than whichever large corporation is benefiting from your fees.
Here are some unnecessary fees that you can easily avoid in order to save and invest for your goals:
Bank fees: There is no reason to pay a maintenance fee to have an account. There are too many good banks and credit unions that offer free accounts. Some may have a minimum balance, but that’s okay.
Avoid paying overdraft fees. Your account should have enough in it to cover several months of expenses.
I have never had an ATM card (or debit card). I refuse to pay a fee to access my own money! I don’t spend much cash, but I keep some at home for the times that I want to carry a little cash. If you refuse to go into the bank and must use an ATM card, there are some banks and credit unions that don’t charge you a fee as long as you use their ATM. Some banks without branches let you use other ATMs for free, but they may limit the number of times per month.
IRS penalties: You can avoid an underpayment penalty by having enough taxes withheld or making timely estimated payments. File and pay on time to avoid late penalties. Why would you want to waste money by paying fees to the IRS? Don’t they take enough?
Insurance fees: There’s normally a fee for paying auto insurance monthly. Pay semi-annually to avoid it. My insurance is also set up on auto-pay, and some companies offer a discount for that.
Credit card fees: There are too many free credit cards available, and many have rewards (like mine). There’s no need to pay an annual fee just to have a card.
Paying bills with a credit card: As I was writing checks for my property taxes the other day, I noticed that I could pay with my credit card, but fees would be incurred. No! Checks and stamps are cheaper. If a company doesn’t charge to pay with a credit card, then great… I can earn cash back rewards with my credit card! All of my monthly bills, except my credit card, are automatically debited from my checking account. I usually only write checks for taxes and donations.
Investment fees: There are so many good, no-load funds which have low fees. Also pay attention to your old 401k. Sometimes, your employer pays the fees only if you’re working for them. When you switch employers, you might have to pay extra fees to keep the account. If so, it’s probably better to roll the funds over into your current 401k or an IRA.
Are there any fees that you can stop paying?