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Bankruptcy: The Power of the Clean Slate

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Douglas Andrew

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Free From Fees

Anyone who’s ever been hit with random banking fees knows that they can get in the way of financial goals. Just as you feel like you’re moving toward having more money, you find your account overdrawn because of ATM or overdraft charges.

According to SmartMoney magazine, you’re not the only one feeling the pinch. Bank fees have slowly risen over the past decade and it looks like they’ll continue to do so. The banks rely on a lack of public awareness and our own poor planning to cushion their coffers. The magazine reports that most banks do a poor job of disclosing fees to customers, which can account for so much of our confusion.

So is all hope lost? Not by a longshot. There are simple steps you can take to avoid or lessen these fees and get your financial future back on track. First, only use your banks ATMs. Two dollars per withdrawal adds up quickly! You can also opt for cash back at the grocery store or drugstore—these transactions are free. Second, make sure you take advantage of any overdraft protection options your financial institution might offer.

And though it may sound like common sense, don’t spend more than you have. Overdraft fees are exorbitant, averaging $30 each time you can’t cover a purchase or check. If you put that same amount into a savings account or retirement fund each month, you could save roughly $360 per year. [SmartMoney]

Posted: 3/27/08