Sometimes when I’m rifling through some dude’s or dame’s bank statements, I’ve got a highlighter pen in hand and I’m looking for wasted money on bank fees. Inevitably I find it in ATM withdrawals. I’ve seen bank statements with $50, $70 or $90 in bank fees, mostly caused by overuse of ATMs. And these are the very people who claim they can’t find $5 a day to save.
Want to save money on ATM charges? It isn’t hard. Sometimes it takes a little planning and sometimes a little self-control. Always it takes the desire to not waste money on stupid stuff.
Use your own bank’s ATM. Hardly rocket-science, right? So why don’t people walk the extra 500 metres to get to their own bank’s machine? Lazy? Or just stupid? Or is it that the ten-minute walk not worth the $1.50 or $3.00 you’d save?
Take out enough cash for a week at a time or two weeks, if you have enough self-control and you won’t blow through the money. The less often you have to visit the ATM, the less you’ll have to pay in account fees. Plan ahead and you can have what you need at home and carry only what you need in your wallet.
Opt for cash back. If you run short, instead of hitting the ATM, ask for cash back while you’re out shopping with your debit card.
Choose a bank or account package that eliminates ATM fees. Yes, they do exist. You might have to do some shopping around, but that’s got to be worth the hundred dollars a year you could save. And the larger your bank’s ATM network, the more likely there will be one where you are.
Don’t confuse a credit card advance with a debit card withdrawal at the ATM. If you stick your credit card in an ATM and ask for cash, the machine will give it to you. But that’s a cash advance, not a cash withdrawal. The moment the money hits your hot little hands, your credit card will start charging you interest.