I am having another of my insomniac-type nights. They typically happen once or twice a month. I use the wee waking hours to goof off a little: I catch a show online or on Netflix's instant play, I read a really good book, or I mess around online. Tonight, I've been messing around online, and you know what? I didn't really find a whole lot I liked when I typed "frugal lifestyle", "frugal blog", or "green living" into the GoodSearch (selected charity: BeatingDebt.org) toolbar.
Then I remembered I needed to update some beneficiary information in my bank account, so I logged in, adjusted the information, and voila! It was done. As I explored my bank's website, I got curious about other banks, so I started doing bank searches to do a little side-by-side comparison. WOW.
Banking with the nation's "name brand banks" is an expensive venture! I couldn't believe how many fees some of these banks charge. It's ridiculous, and yet, I see lots of people whip out these banks' credit cards when I'm out shopping for groceries. Seriously, if you want to ease up on your wallet, find a small, local bank or credit union that offers all the bells and whistles of a big bank (e.g., great online services) without all the fees (start-up fees, checking fees, online bill paying fees, ATM fees).
Be smart and be willing to search around a little. My bank offers very low-interest rates on its credit cards (we have a debit card but use it as credit so we can collect the cash-back rewards), and it refunds us up to ten ATM transactions per month. Talk about customer support! It also offers free (albeit boring and uncool) checks and the ability to deposit checks by scanning and with a smartphone app.
Do your homework-it usually pays off in the end. Use your savings (and some discipline) to finally top off your emergency fund or to pay off outstanding debt. Make good use of that money you were losing previously. For good ideas on how to use your money well, check out BeatingDebt.org's Run Route. You'll be glad to get on the road to financial wellness!
-Domestic Goddess out.