Whether you’re just paying your monthly bills or making a purchase, it can be easy to overlook some of the miscellaneous fees and charges that can be rolled into the total cost of something. Because some of these additional fees can be minimal or not openly advertised, in a way, these fees can be somewhat hidden. By looking carefully at the breakdown and the different fees that make up a total cost or price, you can find out what it is exactly you’re paying for. Depending on what you discover, you might want to shop around for other options, change services, dispute charges, and so on. Some of the following are examples of common hidden fees that many consumers don’t realize they’re paying:
There can be a lot of different hidden fees when it comes to booking various types of travel, and if you’re not careful, a budget vacation can easily cost you a lot more than planned. Cruise prices, for example, can seem cheap initially because they don’t often include docking fees and the required daily gratuity. Hotels often tack on a lot of extras, including daily resort fees, parking fees, and pet fees (if applicable). If you’re renting a car, you might pay more just by renting it at the airport, or by returning your rental at a different location. Most airlines nowadays will charge passengers for checked baggage, but now some are even charging for carry-on luggage. If you prefer booking your plane ticket over the phone, rather than online, there’s usually an extra fee for that as well.
Next time you’re planning a trip, remember that the cheapest options you find might not actually be the cheapest in the end once the miscellaneous fees are added in. Compare these extra fees by looking carefully through their terms and conditions, and this way, you’ll be able to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck.
If you’re like most consumers, you probably have at least one loan or credit card that you make monthly payments towards each month. Your monthly credit card bills can have errors that you might not even notice if you just pay them without looking through your itemized charges. For example, a merchant might have mistakenly charged you twice for the same transaction, or you might have been erroneously billed for a product or a service that you never even purchased. Aside from billing errors, there might be other things you’re getting charged for or paying for—things you aren’t even aware of. For example, if you used your credit card in another country, you might be paying for foreign transaction fees. Or if you took advantage of a terrific introductory offer for a new credit card, you might have a very high APR now that the introductory period is over. It’s important to carefully look through the terms and conditions for your credit cards, and if a fee for a particular service or feature seems high, you might want to consider shopping around for a new credit card if it means you’ll save money.
From annual subscriptions to monthly services, make sure you only pay for what you really want and need. Most people these days pay for monthly at-home Internet, but many service providers also charge customers a monthly fee to rent the modem. But most of the time, it’s much more cost efficient to just buy your own modem and avoid this additional fee. If you have a cell phone, find out what your monthly bill is actually comprised of: you might be paying for data plans you never come close to fully taking advantage of, or features that you don’t even use. These are just a couple examples, and hidden fees can easily sneak up on you when it comes to any type of monthly charge. Next time those monthly bills arrive, be sure to thoroughly look through everything you’re being charged for. Downgrade subscription services and monthly expenses by cutting corners where you can, and getting rid of what you really don’t need.
Don’t always be so quick to pay a bill or make a large purchase without fully understanding where your money will be going. If you have your bills set up on an automatic payment schedule, you’ll still want to manually review your billing statements each month to make sure everything is correct.
Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.