Ways to Save Money on Banking

It is outrageous that banks want to charge you to access your own money, when they make billions in profit each year investing your money and paying you nothing or just a tiny bit of interest.  If you aren’t paying your bank zero to watch your money, then you need to take steps now to save yourself, on average, $200 per year.  Do the following:

(1) Get a Free Checking Account -- With so many banks charging monthly checking fees again, the best way to avoid it is to join a credit union.  About 75 percent of credit unions don't charge a monthly fee for checking and you do not have to maintain any sort of minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee.  Transfer your banking accounts to a credit union and save $10, $20 or more each month.  Regardless of whether you choose a bank or credit union, you can find out which ones offer free checking accounts at NerdWallet.com or Bankrate.com. 

(2) Sign up for banking alerts.   Americans waste billions each year paying overdraft charges.  You can drastically reduce the number of overdrafts by signing up for banking alerts.  Just about all banks and credit unions allow you to set account alerts that will text or email you when your account balance reaches a certain low point or when a check has cleared.  This could save you lots of money every year if you habitually write hot checks.

(3)  Sign up for Direct Deposit.  Many banks will not charge you a monthly maintenance fee if you agree to deposit your paycheck directly into the account.  Why not do this, since it's easier for you, your employer and the bank, and if it saves you $10 or $15 a month, why not do it?
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(4) Switch to Online Banking.  There are many online banks that do not charge a monthly service fee and do not require a minimum balance, such as Ally or CapitalOne360.  Online banks don't have the overhead costs of operating hundreds of branches throughout the nation, so they can pass the savings on to customers in the form of lower fees and free checking. Research has found that online banks don't offer you less service than traditional banks.  You can find an online bank at NerdWallet.com

(5) Avoid ATM fees.  Organize your finances so that you always have enough cash on hand and are not regularly going to the ATM to get money and accumulate ATM withdrawal fees. The average American wastes $70 per year on ATM fees.
(6) Pay attention to your finances and avoid overdraft fees.  Not knowing how much money is in your checking account is a sign that your finances are out of order.  You should know if a check is going to clear and you shouldn’t write checks that won’t.  Regularly paying overdraft fees is a sign of impending financial disaster so you need to fix the problem immediately.  Why do you want to give that greedy bank more money?  By the way, banks love it when you overdraw your account because they make billions in profit each year from overdrafts.

(7) Save on Checks -- Your bank typically charges you $20 or more for the box of 200 checks it has printed up for you.  However, you can get the same number of checks for less than half the price by ordering your checks through Costco (costcochecks.com) or Walmart (walmartchecks.com), where they are much cheaper, 50 percent or more.  Better yet, sign up to pay all your bills online and you don't need many checks and will save about $70 a year on postage.  Debit cards are actually much safer than writing a check since you don't have to reveal your account number to a third party, who can copy the account number and your personal information from the check and steal your identity.

(8) Sign-up for Automatic Bill Payments.  Many companies, such as banks and insurance firms, will give you a discount if you sign up for automatic monthly bill payments that debit your checking account or credit card each month.  The $1 or $2 in savings every month adds up to $12 or $24 a year per account.  Many credit cards that offer reward points will let you earn points if you pay your bill with the credit card.  If you paid your monthly bills with your credit card, you could earn thousands of points each year good for cash or airlilne tickets, etc.

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