Sunday, September 15, 2013


Being frugal is not just coupon-ing, DIY and garage sales. Being frugal also about doing the hard work to avoid those financial "incidentals" which blindside us and take a dent out of our wallet. 

Some financial troubles may be totally unavoidable, such as emergency room visits, flat tires, or job layoffs.

But other financial "road bumps" can be avoided. The old adage is true: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The car breaks down because you neglected scheduled maintenance. A below minimum balance bank charge hits because you lost track of money flow in the account. Speeding to work, a cop pulls you over and you get a ticket. We can get over-scheduled and unable to keep up with all the demands of life. And sometimes we can get careless or just don't take the time to plan. That's when we get "zinged" with a nuisance fee.

Bank fees: 

Avoid ATM fees, Overdraft charges, & Minimum balance charges:
  • Online or Mobile Banking Alerts allow you to receive email Alerts when there's important activity on your account, such as a low balance
  • Sign up for overdraft protection (as long as it's free). Overdraft Protection automatically transfers available funds from your savings or second checking account if you overdraw it.


    • Avoid parking tickets, traffic tickets, vehicle boots, towing services, unpaid tolls, and more. Drive safely, don't take risks, and don't park illegally. Keep extra money in the car to feed the meter or pay a toll if you forget your pass.
    • Take your car in for timely, regular maintenance to prevent damage to your car and expensive repairs.

    Find out before you check in what fees are included or a surcharge: parking fees (as much as $35/day in some cities), early check-in fees, wi-fi fees, movie rentals, minibar and snack fee (skip that $3 water bottle!), gym fee, housekeeping gratuity, telephone surcharges, etc.

    Credit Cards: 

    Late fees, balance transfer fees, annual fees, cash advance fees, surcharge fees from retailers, over-the-limit fees, and more. This article on explains what these fees are, when they are charged and how to avoid them:

    Medical & Dental Care: 

    As your car needs regular maintenance at scheduled intervals, so do you and your family.  
    • Get a dental cleaning every 6 months to avoid paying for cavity fillings, expensive oral surgeries such as root canals, complications with your gums, and other potential problems. We had a friend who skipped out on going to the dentist for about 8 years - as you can imagine, the dental bill was pretty hefty after all the work that needed to be done on his mouth.
    • regular medical check-ups, annual physicals and doctor visits at the first sign of a health issue can often prevent expensive surgeries or medication costs.

    Pet care:

    Our English Setter, Suka
    Neglecting your pet's health care can result in thousands of dollars in vet bills.  Dogs and cats need regular medications to prevent worms, fleas, as well as annual shots and annual check-ups.  If your pet comes down with worms, the surgery may cost you a bundle and it could have easily been prevented.

    1 comment:

    1. This is a great article but one thing I would add is that you don't always have to do every test your vet recommends for your pet. The tests can become outrageously expensive and often don't find anything. It is important to find a good vet who helps you figure out what your pet "REALLY" needs and not a used car salesman with a lab coat on.