How to Avoid Sneaky Fees

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Posted on 07/15/2008

It's a bad, bad feeling when you know you've been had. Typically it's a term you didn't realize you agreed to or a limit you unknowingly went over. But paying sneaky fees is frustrating. Read on for ways to protect yourself against paying stupid tax.

Monitor Your Cell Phone Service
Blindly paying your bill could mean you're forking over more funds than you need to. For instance, if your cell phone plan only includes 200 texts a month and you're consistently surpassing that number, upping your limit could only set you back $5.

Fill the Tank on the Rental Car
Many car rental companies try to tack on extra fees if you don't return your ride with a full tank of fuel. Make sure you know exactly what's required before handing the keys back over. It'll be much cheaper to just buy the gas rather than get hit with the fees.

Step Away from the Mini Bar
You may be craving that candy bar, but is it really worth the price of a gallon of gas? Typically it's hard to figure out the price list of those mini bar snacks, so just avoid the temptation and bring your own.

Pack Lightly
In an attempt to regain financial altitude, airlines are passing on fees to flyers. Read the fine print and just to be safeā€”pack lightly. Chances are you could be charged for overweight bags or having more than one.

Pay On Time
I'm not saying your bank or credit card company is waiting for you to screw up, but sometimes it feels that way. As soon as your payment is just a teeny tiny bit late they can slap you with penalty fees faster than Venus Williams can return a serve. Avoid these pesky charges by paying promptly.

Avoid Overdrafts
Using your debit card when the checking account holds exactly $.43 is not a good idea — especially if your bank loves handing out overdraft fees. Avoid this semi-embarrassing circumstance by keeping close tabs on your account, spending wisely and knowing what's in store if you do happen to make a mistake.

By Alison Storm

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