Unnecessary fees can cost you hundreds a year. What can you cut?

From banking fees to subscriptions, there are a number of ways you could be losing money every month without realizing it.
Posted at 7:48 AM, Oct 23, 2023

Inflation may not be boiling over anymore, but it's still pretty hot. And that is why you never want to get stuck paying fees you can easily avoid.

We are constantly hit with fees at hotels, fees for shipping, and those annoying fees at banks. Nonprofit group Consumers' Checkbook recently posted a list of the 65 Things You Probably Shouldn't Pay For.

Bank fees to avoid

Many things to avoid are silly fees, starting with those you get stuck paying at an ATM not owned by your bank. Executive editor of Consumers' Checkbook Kevin Brasler suggests you use only in-network ATMs if possible.

If not, check with your bank.

"A lot of banks and many credit unions these days will refund any ATM fees you've had to pay when using machines out of their networks," he says.

Other bank fees include monthly checking account maintenance fees if you don't have a large enough balance, and overdraft fees.

FTC proposes ban on junk fees to put end to hidden charges
The Federal Trade Commission building.

FTC proposes ban on junk fees to put end to hidden charges

The proposal would require businesses to disclose all mandatory fees in the upfront price that's offered to consumers.


Service fees to avoid

And how about monthly fees for services you never use?

Brasler recommends auditing your fees and seeing if you get enough use out of them. Among them:

- Gyms, if you find you don't have time to go.

- Streaming TV services you never watch.

- Subscriptions like Amazon Prime if you rarely order from them.

"A lot of people signed up for Prime back in the days when that was really the only way to get free shipping out of Amazon," Brasler said. "But now most orders over $35, even if you're not a Prime member, come with free shipping."

Travel fees to avoid

Lastly, when traveling, Brasler says you should never have to pay early or late check-in fees at hotels.

"Often, just joining that hotel chain's frequent traveler program gets fees waived to get a few extra hours before you have to check out," Brasler said.

That program may also get you a room upgrade or at least a complimentary bottled water and snack at check-in.

Curtis Johnson says extra fees can really ruin your day.

"It's just a headache," he said while taking cash out of an ATM. "It's really unnecessary."

So check to see what fees you pay that can easily be avoided.