Fee Fleas. They’re EVERYWHERE. Itchy, annoying little Fee Fleas.
And it wasn’t til last week that I had any idea they were infesting my life and costing me $478 a year.
My Big Fee Flea Bite Last Week
I woke up in the morning to an email from my bank saying my checking account balance had dipped below $25. Not a good feeling.
Here’s the thing about these emails: I know for a fact that I’m getting this notice not because my balance is $24 or even $2… no. I know your email game, Bank of America. You’re writing to tell me that I’m in the red. You’re writing to tell me that I’m below $0. And that means I’ve just gotten hit with an overdraft fee. Again.
There’s few worse feelings with your money than overdrawing your account. And then to get hit with an overdraft fee? That’s salt in the wound.
“Hmm, I don’t have money in my account.” <— crappy feeling.
“Hmm, I don’t have money in my account and I’m being punished for it.” <— crappier feeling.
Fees, especially overdraft fees, just feel like you’re just throwing dollar bills in the toilet. That’s $35 out of my pocket that gets taken away just because I messed up.
At the end of the day, it’s one annoying little Fee Flea bite. I’m not going to lose sleep over one little fee.
But maybe I should be.
Why I should be freaking out about the Fee Fleas
I’m not too worried about it. It’s one little Fee Flea – an annoying $35 nuisance but not something that’s going to destroy me.
That’s the thing about Fee Fleas. It sucks when they bite, but it’s never big enough to get you to jump out of your seat and do something drastic. Sure, I’ll probably call BoA and ask to get it waived. But I don’t always ask to get my fees waived on all my accounts. There are a few times when I’ve let fees slide. And there are probably some fees I’m charged that I’m not even aware of.
But maybe I should be freaking out…
Because when I look at all of my Fee Fleas together, they’re actually costing me $478 a year.
Where the Fee Fleas are sucking the life out of me
One Fee Flea by itself? Annoying. But what if the Fee Fleas attacked you all at once? That would HURT. You’d feel like you were getting eaten alive.
So I asked myself what would happen if I added up all the little Fee Fleas in my life.
I did a scan of all my accounts and transactions this year I found $478 worth of Fee Fleas.
That’s not just annoying, that’s painful.
Here are the fees I can get hit with or I have already gotten hit with this year:
- $70 in overdraft fees (this is the fees from two separate occasions, since I already overdrew my account once this year by $1,325.70)
- $70 in returned item fees (again, this is because I overdrew my account twice this year)
- $3 per monthly transaction or $36 a year to transfer money online from my business account to my personal account (free if I use checks)
- $13 monthly fee or $156 a year for my business checking account if I don’t swipe my debit card at least 10 times a month for my business account
- $12 in ATM fees, mostly because of my trip to Africa that I took this summer and I had to withdraw money internationally
Credit card and PayPal fees:
- $85 in annual fees for a credit card that I don’t even use anymore
- $40 in finance charges from when I carried a balance on my credit card for a month
- $6 in PayPal fees for when someone paid me for some coaching through PayPal
Other random fees:
- $2 for overdue library books because I couldn’t read Game of Thrones fast enough 🙂
- ~$1 in bag fees because Washington, DC has a tax $.05 every time you need to use a bag at the grocery store
That’s a TON of fees. Some of these are totally avoidable if I manage my accounts better. But all of these are sucking money out of my pocket.
So I’m gonna suit up, fight the Fee Fleas and get my money back.
Fight the Fee FLEAS In 3 STEPS
So how do you get rid of Fee Fleas?
- Find the cause of your Fee Fleas: If you have an account with Mint.com, take 5 minutes to log in and sort your transactions by the keyword “fees.” Write down any account where you’ve been hit with a fee. Or if you don’t have Mint.com, think about your accounts in the last year and write down any fees that come to mind (like what I did above).
- Remove the Fee Fleas that you already have: Ask your bank or credit card to waive any fees that were recently charged, like an overdraft fee or a late payment fee. Here’s a really helpful script from Ramit Sethi’s website I Will Teach You To Be Rich on how to negotiate bank fees.
- Prevent new Fee Fleas from popping up: Take a second to make a plan to avoid fees in the accounts where they’ve shown up in the past. For me, that means managing my business account better so I don’t get charged for moving funds around. It also mean I need to finally dump Bank of America because they’ve been jerking me around for years. Sometimes BoA will waive my fees, other times they won’t… and sometimes they’ll just charge me random fees for the hell of it that I end up having to fight. I’M DONE WITH YOUR GAMES, BANK OF AMERICA.
Have you been bitten by an annoying Fee Flea lately?
Death to the Fleas!!!
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