Money magazine editor Cybele Weisser talks to Jean about some of the most outrageous fees, and shares her tips for avoiding these land mines:
- Credit card over-limit fees. Cybele recommends that consumers request purchases only be approved if they are under the credit limit. Keep tabs on your balance by banking online.
- ATM fees. Pulling out $20 here and $20 there from another bank's ATM can really hit your wallet hard. Instead, switch to a more convenient bank, or get cash back when you make purchases with your debit cards.
- Same-day payment fee. If your credit card bill is due today, and you didn't mail it, you'll pay a big fee to your bank for doing a bank-to-bank transfer to get the money there in time. Cybele suggests paying your bill as soon as you get it, or at least seven to 10 days in advance.
- Phone bills. Small charges really add up, and you could end up with a bill that soars above your base service charge. Avoid these by getting rid of your landline or trying out one of the new Internet phone services on the market.
- Rental car insurance. Check your current car insurance policy, as well as any coverage provided by your credit card. You may already have all the insurance you need.
- Airline fees. If you overpack, you'll get burned. If you change your plans, you could be in for an extra $100 more. Some airlines even charge extra for aisle or exit row seats. To avoid the fees, stick to two bags or ship ahead, and if your travel isn't set, get a refundable ticket.