There’s nothing worse than receiving a bill and noticing that someone has slipped in a bunch of arbitrary fees. Whether we’re faced with processing fees, maintenance fees, convenience, mandatory express shipping fees, or “just because we felt like it” fees, we never fail to feel a little ripped off.
Sometimes, there is nothing you can do except grin and bear it; however, in many instances, simple decisions on your part can make a huge difference. In this spirit, we’ve partnered with Capital One 360 to help you identify the fees you can instantly cut out of your life. We promise you that each choice, no matter how small it may seem, will add up to more money in your pocket down the road.
Going to see your favorite artist often seems like it costs an arm and a leg, but it doesn’t always have to. A good way to save a little money is by visiting the box office and purchasing your tickets in person. This may not always be possible for shows at big, out-of-the-way stadium shows, but for more intimate settings, this is definitely the way to go.
Paying for wireless Internet at your home is one thing, but paying for it when you’re in a public place is often unnecessary. Explore your city and find the local spots that offer patrons free Internet access, from bookstores to public parks to the laundromat. If you’re somewhere unfamiliar, try consulting a hotspot database like WeFi. Overall, we find that coffee shops are the best (and tastiest!) bet.
Rental Car Add-Ons
We know it’s nice to have a GPS and toll pass when traveling, but is it truly worth the extra cost? Instead, use your smartphone as a navigator and have cash handy to pay the tolls. You’ll see that these savings add up quickly!
If you’ve flown recently, you know that airlines tend to charge additional fees wherever possible. Whether you’re simply bringing a bag on board or requesting a pillow, it seems that you’re never simply paying for airfare. Keep in mind that economy airlines may post low airfares so you think you’re flying on the cheap but hit you with extra fees down the line. To keep your travel as cheap as possible, be conscious of how much you’re packing and consolidate your bags. Also, many airlines will tack on a fee for booking over the phone, so stick to reserving your ticket online.
Many of your monthly bills, such as renter’s insurance, may include an additional fee for opting to pay per month rather than a lump sum upfront. If your budget allows, pay your bills upfront to avoid incurring this unnecessary fee.
This may sound like a silly one, but many restaurants actually charge you for cutting a cake that you bring in. Always call ahead to inquire about whether you can bring in a cake and if there’s a fee. If it seems extravagant, you might want to save the cake for the afterparty. (The same rules of etiquette apply to your precious bottle of Cabernet!)
You may not always be able to avoid paying for valet parking, but it’s worth a shot! Ask a valet attendant, concierge or other staff member about local establishments that can validate your ticket. If you’re traveling and unsure about where to find street parking, try an app like ParkMe (or your local equivalent) to help you navigate uncharted territory.
Instead of paying a few extra dollars because you can’t find your own bank’s ATM, locate a store that offers cash back with a purchase -- supermarkets and drugstores are often a good bet. Even better? Use a store locator to find an appropriate ATM and avoid this altogether.
Whether it’s cancelling your gym membership or choosing a new phone carrier, you’ll be hit with an unfortunately hefty cancellation fee. Make sure you understand the terms of your contract before signing up, and keep these conditions in mind when considering a cancellation. It may just be worth it to hold out until your contract expires.
Shipping and Deliveries
Getting food delivered can be a real treat, but it often comes with extra fees that may have you thinking twice before you purchase. Find restaurants that offer free delivery via a simple Yelp or MenuPages search, and both your stomach and wallet will be satisfied. There’s frequently a way around many shipping costs, as well. Google around for promo codes and get free or reduced shipping in a snap.