Banks continue to dig deeper into your pockets to baby-sit your money.
According to a recent survey from Bankrate.com, the average overdraft fee set a new record high for the 16th consecutive year at $32.74. Fees for using out-of-network ATMs are up 23 percent over the past five years and at the end of last year were averaging $4.35 per transaction, a new high for the eighth consecutive year.
Being nickeled and dimed month after month adds up. Why pay if you don't have to?
AUTOMATE. Many banks offer bill pay services online. By automatically scheduling and spacing out your recurring monthly costs, you can avoid having multiple bills hit at the same time, better manage your money and not incur overdraft fees.
SET UP ALERTS. Often you get charged a fee if you don't keep a minimum balance in your account. "Set up email or text alerts to let you know if you're at risk of dropping below your balance threshold," says Chris Giamo, New York regional president of TD Bank in Melville.
SAY ADIOS TO PAPER. It used to be standard to get a statement in the mail, now it can cost $2-$3 a month. "The choice to receive an e-statement will save you money and excess paperwork around the house," says Luvleen Sidhu, chief marketing and strategy officer of BankMobile in Manhattan.
STAY IN NETWORK. Your bank is a jealous lover; banking elsewhere will cost you. Choose a bank with a wide network of ATMs. Laurie Samay, client service associate at Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Scarsdale, says another option is online banks, which typically don't charge ATM fees.