Stupid Things I Pay For … and Shouldn’t

October 18, 2017|Posted in: Uncategorized

OK, to be fair, not everything on this list qualifies as stupid. But what IS stupid is that I’m paying for stuff I don’t have to. My friend Chance mentioned something about it this weekend, and it got me thinking. None of these are bills that will bankrupt me, but put together, they represent a good chunk of change that I don’t have to be spending.

  1. Checking account
    This was seriously the first thing to go. I do almost all my checking online, so paying for a checking account seems like a trick I should’ve caught on to a long time ago. I now do all my banking with Ally Bank: no minimum balances, and they reimburse me for all 3rd-party ATM fees. Which brings us to item #2:
  2. ATM withdrawals
    There’s no reason a person should ever pay an ATM fee. Plan ahead, check your bank’s website, make a note of their ATM locations. Get cash back at the grocery store. Or do what I did: go with a bank that reimburses ATM fees. One less thing to worry about–it’s perfect.
  3. Credit reports/credit monitoring
    Keeping an eye on your credit rating is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost you: legally, you can receive a free credit report every year from each of the big three monitoring bureaus (Equifax,Experian and TransUnion). You can go online or call 1-877-322-8228 to learn more about that. While we’re on the subject, if you worry about identify theft — and I do — you might consider a credit monitoring service. Do some checking before you pay for it, though: retailers who’ve had a data breach that may’ve exposed your personal data will sometimes provide free credit monitoring for a limited time (Target did it for me). You can also file a fraud alert with one of the major credit bureaus: that has its own set of complications, but it might be worth it to you.
  4. Interest on credit cards
    I purchase everything with my credit cards, then pay them off at the end of the month. Normally. But a year ago when I was between jobs for about six weeks, I ran up a bit of debt. It wasn’t huge, really, but seems like it took me forever to get my cards cleared again … and seeing that interest charge on my bill each month was painful. It inspired me, though: not only did I work harder to pay everything off, I now have a nice emergency fund going to hopefully prevent me from needing to rely on my cards if/when something else happens.
  5. Extended warranties
    I have never filed a claim on an extended warranty in my life. If you do even a modicum of research before you buy, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what is going to last and what isn’t. In the age of cheap electronics, the end just doesn’t justify the means. I had insurance on my phone for a while … but I did some research and ran the numbers and it really didn’t make sense for me, either.

So, are you paying for stupid things you don’t need to? Give me a shout in the comments section and let me know what I missed.