Credit card interest.
All of these are fees that no one should pay. They result from being careless, disorganized, impulsive or distracted.
These fees you should definitely never pay and if you do, well there’s a name for those fees. Dave Ramsey coined the term, “stupid tax,” just for those types of fees. Because you may have acted less than intelligently. We’ve all paid the stupid tax once or twice, the goal is, of course, to never pay them again.
Think before you act.
Plan ahead and keep great records.
Do those 3 things and you’ll never pay another stupid tax again. But what about other fees? What about fees that aren’t a result of anything you did? They just seem to exist for the sole purpose of earning the company more money. Here are 5 that you should never, ever pay. Ever.
1. Mobile Phone Upgrade Fees When it’s time to renew your contract and get a new cell phone, most major companies tack on an “upgrade fee.” For me recently, it was $36 to upgrade my BlackBerry to an iPhone. My cellular company wanted me to pay them money for the pleasure of signing another 2 year contract as well as paying for an iPhone (I only paid 99 cents for it though!). I was not interested in paying them money for that pleasure. I made a phone call, asked for it to be waived and without any hesitation, the representative did it. I asked around and many people have had the same experiences. All you have to do is ask.
2. Annual credit card fees. Many credit cards will charge you a fee for the honor of using their credit card. Some will offer you rewards and a lower interest rate as incentive to pay the fee. The credit card companies are banking on you earning them far more money in your interest over the course of the year. With the large number of credit card options out there, there is no need to pay this fee. Call your credit card company and ask that it be waived. Advise them that you have offers from other companies with no annual fee and you are prepared to transfer your business to them. These fees are not set in stone, most banks will waive it or refund it back to you.
3. Gym enrollment fees. Many gyms want to charge an enrollment fee on top of the monthly fee you pay to use the facilities. Do not be afraid to negotiate these fees. Ask for a waiver to sign a two year contract or show them advertisements for their competitors who are offering “no fee specials” for enrolling. These are popular during the beginning of the year when enrollment peaks. Be prepared to shop around but you may not need to, a simple request to the manager should be all it takes to keep your business.
4. Account maintenance fees. Many banks charge an account maintenance fee each month and if you aren’t carefully checking your account, you could be paying it too. It is usually easy to get them waived. You can set up a direct deposit usually to go into the account. If it is a secondary checking account that you don’t use often, set up a direct deposit from each paycheck for just a small amount that will allow you to avoid the fee (you can always transfer the funds later). If you can not get your bank to waive the fee, find a new bank. Banks make plenty of money from other avenues, there is no need for them to make money off of your maintenance fee. Credit unions are a great place to put your money. There’s usually one for every type of person. We have one in my area that advertises as being for “anyone who lives, works or worships” in the area. Look for something like that in your area and avoid unnecessary bank fees.
5. Interest. There are some situations where you can not avoid paying interest. A home loan, student loan or other types of loans, for instance make it nearly impossible to avoid fees. However there are times when you should never pay interest. Buying furniture is one such time. If you are buying furniture for your home and plan to finance it rather than saving the money beforehand, take the time to wait for a “No Interest” special. These happen all the time, usually around major holidays, like Memorial Day or Labor Day. You can almost always find “24 months, same as cash” deals. When you take advantage of this deal, pay it off in the 24 months. You should never, ever pay interest on furniture, carpeting or many home repairs. Financing without interest is almost always available.
We all have to pay a stupid tax from time to time, but we should never pay unnecessary fees.
What fees have you seen out there that no one should ever pay? Have you paid any in the past that you know you could avoid now?