They’re lurking everywhere – from the ATM to that ballooning cell phone bill. Here’s how to stop these sneaky buggers from picking your pockets.
At the Bank
What it is Your account balance falls below the required minimum.
What it’s costing you On average, $12 a month.
What you can do Some banks offer free checking if you agree to bank online exclusively. You may also qualify for free checking if you direct deposit your paycheck.
What it is A charge to get cash at another bank, from both your bank and the bank where you use the ATM.
What it’s costing you ATM fees are at an all-time high-an average of $1.78, with Bank of America checking in at $3!
What you can do Use your debit card (with a signature, not a PIN) to make a regular purchase and get cash back.
What it is A credit card late fee.
What it’s costing you A whopping $35!
What you can do Try to mail your payment at least a week before the due date or, better yet, pay online. If it’s your first late payment, try calling customer service to see if they’ll waive the fee.
Out & About
What it is A bank gift card with a hefty activation fee.
What it’s costing you Though appealing because they can be used anywhere, these cards cost from $4 to $10 for the recipient to activate! There also be deductions for not using the card within a specific time frame.
What you can do Buy store gift cards instead. Those cards are fee-free and typically don’t expire.
What it is Flying with an overweight suitcase (more than 50 pounds).
What it’s costing you Expect to pay $25 to $50 for a bag weighing more than 50 pounds, and up to $100 at Delta if it’s more than 70 pounds.
What you can do If you suspect your bag will exceed the limit, bring an empty tote to toss in the excess weight. Avoid the temptation to overpack by using two medium-size bags instead of one extra-large suitcase.
What it is On top of the face value of that Wiggles ticket, a long list of added surcharges.
What it’s costing you As much as 38 percent more-that $80 ticket turns out to be more than $100!
What it is Surprise cell phone bills. Your $60 cell phone plan now runs almost $100.
What it’s costing you On average, more than 14% of your bill consists of additional taxes, fees, and surcharges.
What you can do Read your bill carefully-you could be paying for a service, like text messaging or Internet access, that you never use.
What it is Hidden costs on bundling your cable, high-speed Internet, and phone.
What it’s costing you While that promotional offer seems like a steal at 100 bucks a month, your bill could balloon 30 percent after the initial introductory period.
What you can do Price out each service individually to make sure you’re getting a deal, and watch out for limitations (is long distance included?) or extra charges for premium channels like HBO.