I hate bank fees. Like really hate them. In fact I have managed to avoid them my entire life by being very cautious with my bank accounts. In fact until this week I could joyfully announce that I had never paid a bank fee. No sir, not me!
Unfortunately I broke that winning streak by having to pay a $3.25 bank fee in order to take money from an ATM. What's $3.25 in the grand scheme of things you may ask? While since I only took out $40 that's like paying 8% interest to use my own money. Lets just say I'm not eager to repeat the experience. On the other hand I have always told my students that it's only a mistake if you haven't learned anything from it. So lets do a little lessons learned shall we?
I had recently emptied my wallet of cash and hadn't filled it up again. Mostly because I had already used up my miscellaneous money for the month, which is usually where my wallet money comes from. So I decided to leave my wallet empty until I needed cash for something. Unfortunately I did not foresee needing to put a $10 deposit on my work ID badge, and guess what? They only take cash.
Now I could have gone to a bank machine that belonged to my bank (which I normally do.) Problem was that the closest one that I knew about was going to be a 15 min walk each way in the bitter cold. Thanks to a busy work schedule my bad knee was already aching. Walking and the cold would make it worse (especially if I was going to be out there for half an hour) and the pain would have been pretty bad. Too bad to justify avoiding bank fees.
So I paid the fee and have been somewhat annoyed ever since. Such is life.
Unforeseen expenses are, well, unforeseen. I need to make carrying cash a priority in my budget so that I don't end up spending money on fees. Part of the reason that I didn't fill up my wallet was that a lot of financial experts discourage carrying cash around as it will sometimes slip away unaccounted for. That said I have never had a problem with spending money without tracking it. So there is no reason for me to take this advice and avoid cash.
How do you avoid bank fees? Do you have trouble keeping cash in your wallet?