In Part 6 I’ll show you how to save money on fees, increase your savings rate, and share some handy apps that put money back in your wallet.Click on one of the links below to get started or just work your way from the top down.
Call banks / credit cards to get fees waived
Check your credit cards and bank statements for fees that could be waived:
- Late fees
- interest charges
- monthly maintenance fees
- annual dues
Call up the bank/credit card company and try this out:
You: There is a late fee I was charged on my account that I would like removed because I’m an awesome customer.
Them: All of our customers are awesome, I’ll be glad to see what I can do.
Because I am a valued customer, the charges were dropped.
You can try the same thing with bank charges.
Switch to a credit union
Most of the monster mega-banks give paltry (i.e. zero) interest rates on checking and savings accounts. And they generally rate poorly on customer service. By joining a credit union you will get:
- Better service
- Better loan rates for autos and homes
- Lower/no fees
- Interest on your checking/savings accounts
Anybody can join a credit union. Each credit union serves what’s called their “field of membership” – that’s the commonality between the members. You can find a credit union in your area with this location tool.
Also, check out PenFed. It’s easy to sign up online.
Evaluate your savings
Going online with your savings has several benefits. I’ve been with CapitalOne360 (formerly ING) for nearly a decade. Why switch?
- No minimum balances. Brick+mortars like Chase can charge $5/month if you hold less than $300 in your account. That’s $60/year you’re losing.
- More interest. Right now brick+mortars give you slightly more than 0% for your balance in checking and savings. An online bank is currently paying out 1%. If you have $20,000 in your 3-6 month emergency fund, you could be earning up to $200/year in interest.
- Multiple savings accounts for free. In my CapitalOne360 account, I can set up multiple savings accounts myself very quickly. I keep separate accounts for my emergency fund and several savings goals. It makes it easy to keep track of your money.
If you want to explore all the different savings accounts offered by banks, take a look at bankrate.com
Find hidden discounts
You may not be aware of all the discounts that might be available to you from:
- your employer
- being a member of a warehouse club.
- organizations you are a part of (such as AAA, or AARP)
Some of the discounts you could be missing out on include:
- Free warehouse club memberships
- Cheaper cell phone plans
- Discounted auto insurance
- Discounted travel and car rental rates
- Incentives for healthy lifestyle choices
- Gym memberships
- Free flu shots
- Tuition reimbursement
Speak with your the Human Resources rep at your company and ask for a list of all the perks you could be missing.
Jason, a friend of mine, works for an aerospace company. When I mentioned I was in the market for a golf cart, he said one of the discounts he gets from work is for the purchase of a golf cart!
Money saving apps
By downloading some apps that will help you save some more money, you’ll make saving much easier.
The Slice app tracks the progress of your purchases and sends alerts about price adjustments and recalls, making it easy to save money. For example, it can track purchases from Amazon, and if the price drops, you’ll get an alert.
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