This past month, when I went to pay my mortgage, I noticed that they were charging me an extra $7.99 fee for paying my balance due. I thought this was odd, so I waited until this month's bill showed up. To my disbelief there was still that nasty $7.99 fee. I thought I better call my mortgage company to find out more.
After a short conversation with the rep she said that this was due to charges Western Union was charging the mortgage company to transfer my money. I asked if there was anyway around these charges (I'm just trying to be thrifty! :) ). She said I could sign up for automatic monthly transfers or their bi-weekly payment plan. I personally didn't like either of these plans, because I like to fluctuate how much I pay when I have more money to apply to my principal.
In talking with the rep I realized that so often we can overlook these smalls fees that can really add up over time. I realized that over the life of a 30 year mortgage that this $7.99/month fee could end up costing my family $2876.40!!!! That's not chump change by any means. It again reiterates the need to look over all your bills and receipts for those common missed fees that can add up. Here are seven fees you need to be on the look out for, because they are looking to take advantage of your wallet.
1. Overage Charges – are you frequently going over your phone minutes, texts, or data usage plans? Check out your last six months of bills and make adjustments, because these fees add up. Also most cell companies offer notification services of when you are getting close to your limits.
2. Taxes, Government Surcharges, and Fees – last month I checked my cell phone fees in preparation for this post. With my current provider they hit me up for $4.86/month or 6% of my total bill in these extra fees (see my actual bill to the right). If you switch to Virgin Mobile (Virgin Mobile Review 2013), Tracfone, or Net10, then you can avoid a lot of these surcharges and fees (but not all).
3. HD Charge – do you have an HD TV? Are you unsure or are you unsure what cables ensure you get HD reception on your TV? If so, then you might be paying for an HD receiver that you aren't using. Here is a great short video on how to tell if your TV is HD ready.
4. DVR Charge – Cable companies also offer receivers with DVR, but this comes at a monthly charge or rental fee. With my current cable provider they charge me $10/month, but some companies offer the option to buy your DVR unit. The other option is to look at buying your own DVR service like TiVo Premiere.
5. Reserving an aisle seat fee – who would think reserving an aisle seat would actually be a fee that airlines could charge you for? Yep! Virgin Atlantic is charging $75 for an exit row seat, and Delta charges $15 for some of these same “premiere” seats. Make sure you don't get caught off guard by these fees!
6. Baggage Fees – about a month ago I booked a flight for my Grandma on a low grade airline that had really good rates for direct flight in the area where I live. Unfortunately, when I went to go check out there was a $50 fee for the first checked bag, and $25 for each carry-on bag. These extra baggage fees quickly made the tickets non-competitive compared to what other airline carriers were offering. Make sure you check for these fees next time you book an airplane ticket, because you may not be getting the best deal!
7. Early Mortgage Payoff or Online Fees – just like I encountered with my mortgage company they are doing everything they can do to either recoup costs or capture more of your money before you payoff your mortgage. During initial financing or refinancing be sure to ask if there are any early payoff fees or charges. Knowing this upfront (and having that in writing) will help ensure you can get to financial freedom faster!
Well, these are just a few common missed fees that I see on a regular basis. I'd love to hear from some of our readers on what common fees you see on your bills or receipts!