Great Guest Post on Saving Money from Zohar at Man of La Book.
If you’re like my family you try and watch every dollar you spend. Every year the cost of living gets higher, taxes rise and everyone else is looking to reach into your pocket and pull out the little you have left. One place we found where we could save tons of cash is by fighting every do-nothing fee we could. The biggest offenders are the banks, telephone companies and cable companies. Their do-nothing-because-we-can fees amount to millions of dollars in profits every year, of course they’re not going to give the up easily.
If you compile all the fees you pay every month you’d be surprised at how much money flies out of your pocket. When we discovered that I made it my mission to pay as little fees as possible. I was tired of having to see the cash advance lenders.
The first thing we did as made sure we avoided all the fees which were our fault. For example the banks’ late fees cost a lot of money (around $30-$35) and are easy to avoid if you can. If you made a mistake just give the bank a call, usually they are happy to reimburse that fee as long as they can get you off the phone and there is not a pattern of late payments on your account.
After that we started hounding the phone company, cable company and others who charge us fees without providing any service. Sometimes I spend hours on the phone with them just to get pennies back. However, keep in mind that in their eyes if you paid a fee once you agree to pay it for perpetuity.
For all others, we simply informed them that we refuse to pay any fees and they will lose our business otherwise. We expressed our disappointment with their business model and simply said that if they want to raise the price of the product that’s fine, then we can make an informed choice – but we refuse to pay fees.
We also started searching for a bank or preferably a credit union which has low fees, if any. Don’t feel bad about calling up and asking for your money back. It is YOUR MONEY and they are not entitled to it no matter how bad you massed up or even if they are doing you the favor of allowing you to pay for them to service you (that was sarcastic).
The secret, I found, is not to be satisfied with the first “no”. You have to keep trying, call back, ask to speak with a manager. Keep in mind that if, for example, you got charged a $15 do-nothing fee and you kept one of their customer service people on the phone for five minutes, they are already losing money – if you talk to manager now the losses really start to mount up.
The more we call, the less those companies will charge us do-nothing fees because they will simply no longer be profitable.
The average American pays about $1,000 in fees every year, our family doesn’t pay anything near to that – I hope you’re not the one that pays $2,000 a year.