Zombies. Goblins. Sparkly vampires. Overdraft fees. This Halloween, there may be many things out there that are frightening, but none more terrifying than those that empty your wallet. BillShrink.com has put together a list of the scariest fees out there and some simple tips you can use to save money.
Have you seen this sneaky fee on your cable bill? It’s normally tacked onto the end to make it look like a tax. Think of the franchise fee as the tolls you have to pay to use the wires put up by the city divided among all of the cable customers. Normally this is around $15 dollars, $180 per year. While this might not seem like much, always be sure to look at your bill carefully and don’t hesitate to harass your cable company to get an explanation for each line item on your bill. You can talk your way out of many, which is definitely worth the effort to save hundreds. And don’t forget to visit BillShrink.com to see how much money you can save by simply switching cable companies.
Free Credit Reports
Admit it – you’ve found yourself humming one of those catchy FreeCreditReport.com commercials at least once or twice. But while the commercials are memorable, the service being offered – allegedly “free” access to your credit report – is an unmitigated rip-off. For one thing, it’s questionable that there is a need for any business to offer such a service, as the government mandates that all consumers can check their credit history once a year for free anyway. Beyond that, most of these services unwittingly bilk people into signing up for paid monthly subscriptions that actually charge them for what was supposedly being offered free. Time Magazine reported in November 2009 that the government went so far as to issue public warnings that FreeCreditReport.com and their ilk were not free at all. When you charge money despite the word “free” being in your corporate name, it’s tough to argue that your service isn’t a rip-off to consumers.
Did you know that regular gas is said to work as well as premium gas in most engines? In fact, even engines that recommend premium gas work just as well with low octane fuel. Most cars built after 1990 have the technology to react to whichever type of gasoline you use to fill the tank, so switching to regular gas can save you thousands of dollars a year. And BillShrink.com finds the cheapest pumps near you to also help you save.
ATM fees may seem minor but can add up. They can also be slightly misleading; it’s not unusual for ATM convenience fees to cost $2.00, and for the card-issuing bank to charge up to an additional $2.50 as a non-bank ATM Fee. As a result, it may cost up $4.50 to withdraw $20.00.
Late fees and overdraft fees
Paying late fees on credit cards and bills, and overdraft fees on bank accounts can be a disheartening use of one’s hard-earned money. Especially when a minimum payment of $15 on a credit card is missed, resulting in a late fee that can be as high as $25 (and perhaps result in an APR% increase). Overdraft fees can also add up, especially when they are made in quick succession, resulting in fees for each transaction made while an account is overdrawn.