Paying late fees is basically the worst possible way to waste money. It’s right up there with parking tickets and throwing your wallet in the toilet. And yet we somehow find a way to incur late fees and overdraft fees. There has to be a better way…and there is.
Here’s a simple thought about fees. They are a sign that you are not in control of your budget or your finances. If you think about it that way you realize that wasted fees are a signal that you could do better and get control of your budget. With that thought in mind here are three simple strategies to completely eliminate wasteful fees.
Three Strategies to Put You in Control
The first thing to do is to go to your bank and turn off your overdraft protection and authorization. That’s right, no more automatic bank approvals for late night purchases. No more accidental debit card charges by you, or the bartender. If you don’t have the money in your account, you can’t buy anything. Do you really want to pay $38 for an $8 burrito? We didn’t think so.
Next, get rid of your check book. Keep the checking account but get rid of the checks. You can’t write a bad check if you don’t have a check book. I did this and it was so liberating. You never have to worry again about when a check is going to hot your account and generate an overdraft fee. It’s a great feeling.
Third, set up automatic payments based on when you get paid. If you have already tightened up your budget
You know what your bills are and when they are due. If you set up automatic payments you won’t have any late fees and you will know when your bills are due. Another benefit of auto payments is that you can sometimes set up level payments throughout the whole year so that bills like heat and air conditioning aren’t sky high half the year and close to zero the rest of the year. (Budgets are all about control and predictability).
So there you go: live within your means, predictable payments and a clear picture of your finances all month long. What’s not to like?