smart spending

Don't let banking fees eat up your savings

Banking shouldn't mean paying to save and spend your money. Rather than let small banking fees on your account deplete your balance, educate yourself on the fine print to know ways to avoid handing over any extra cash to your institution. Here are three habits to help limit monthly account maintenance costs.

Set up direct deposits

Your bank may advertise "no monthly fees," but this lack of banking fees may hinge on your ability to meet a monthly direct deposit requirement. While banking, if you don't establish some type of direct payment, many banks hit you with a fee between $5 and $10 each month. Fill out the necessary paperwork with your employer to avoid giving your bank extra cash.

Limit ATM inquiries

If one of your regular banking activities includes printing a statement of your account activity via the ATM, you may be quietly adding up costs. Some banks charge for this service -- even at their own ATMs. Instead of being charged to find out how much money you have, use online banking for a free view of your recent deposits and withdrawals.

Know your balance minimums

Avoid the banking mistake of letting your balance drift below your minimum requirement. Establishing a minimum is a commonplace practice at banks across the country, and it's up to you to be in-the-know about your balance. Fail to pay close attention to your funds, and you'll pay in the form of fees that usually range from $5 to $15.

It's your money in the account; don't let the bank take more than it deserves. If your current financial home is weighing you down with fees, look for a new savings or checking account with fewer banking fees to make your banking better.

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