Today’s article is from our regular Thursday contributor, Daisy Flower!
I remember a few years ago, before I switched to ING Direct, I was paying about $14 per month on banking fees. It doesn’t seem like much now, but back then I was a lowly student who only brought in around $1600/month. $14 per month was almost 20% of my discretionary budget.
I had to balance my budget very, very carefully to avoid overdraft and the ugly fees that would have been charged. I didn’t want to rely on credit, so I chose to be very frugal. However, I still was paying those fees.
My First Exposure to Fee Free Banking
When I first read an article about free banking and how nobody should be paying fees, I rolled my eyes. I thought to myself that I’d been with my bank since I was 12. I liked the bank and they are open late. Plus, many of these no-fee banks are mainly online, and I like being face-to-face with people at a brick and mortar bank.
It took me several months before I realized how ridiculous that was. I remember being so annoyed one day that I had to go to the bank to do something that I should have been able to call in to have taken care of. I remember transferring money over to pay a bill and zeroing out my account. I was being paid not more than 12 hours later, and yet my banking fees were taken out before that. I was in overdraft which cost me extra money that I couldn’t afford to give up.
During that same time period, I phoned the bank that I was so loyal to and asked if they’d please reverse the overdraft charge because it all came down to timing. They refused. It seemed that my being loyal to them didn’t translate to the bank being loyal to me. I was just another faceless, nameless customer to them.
No More Excuses
I was blocking myself from saving money by making excuses. Now I try to be more open minded with ways to save money. However, I see many people doing the same thing as I used to.
Another example of this, which I’ve luckily not fallen into, is the tendency for people to defend having both a home phone and a cell phone. There is usually an excuse (my parents always call me on my home phone, nobody has my cell phone number), but having both is almost always unnecessary. If you have a cell phone, you can get rid of your home phone.
Many times, the excuse is simply that the person has always done it that way, and it’s usually just a fear of change. However, when a fear of change is costing you money needlessly, it’s become a problem, especially if you are in debt. So if:
- You haven’t used your gym pass in months, and you’re still paying for it, the “I just took a break and I’ll be back at it on Monday”.
- You’re in debt and have a $100/month TV package because “it makes me stay in more often which actually saves money”.
- You stop by that ATM on your way home from work that charges you $3.50 service charge because “it would cost more than $3.50 to drive to the bank” (which ends up being two blocks away)
You need to put the excuses to rest and stop costing yourself money!
Do you ever find yourself making excuses which cost you?