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Banking Tips for Broke People

bankEven though we all claim to be broke-asses, most of us keep the small amount of money we do have in the bank (unless you are my friend Gabe who doesn’t believe in banks).  But, as most of us have realized by now, banks are pretty sneaky. They say they are there to help us save our money, but in reality, they are pretty skilled at ripping us off.

Here are a few tips to not break the bank:

1) Always go to the ATM machine of your own bank to avoid extra service fees.

I once paid a $14 service fee to take money out of an international airport. Ridiculous. The normal $2 fees are bad enough.  Think of all the beer you are not buying every time you take $40 bucks out at the bar.

2) Always pay off your credit card on time.

Too many broke-asses love credit cards because they think that they can pay off this awesome new flat-screen TV by just paying $20 a month – for 2 years! Come on guys, don’t be fooled by marketing gurus that make money by you spending money. If you do decide to buy something on your credit card, make sure you have enough money to pay it off straight away. Otherwise, you will be slammed with an $18 fee each time you have an outstanding balance.

3) Don’t “allow” your password to your bank account be saved when you log in to your online bank on your laptop or your phone.

That is just asking for someone to steal your money if your stuff gets stolen! I know it sucks to type those 10-digit codes all the time, but better safe than sorry.

4) Keep on eye on how much money is in your account before your rent check gets cashed.

Overdraft fees suck! Remember that your rent check may not be cashed until mid-month, so make sure you have sufficient funds to cover your ass when it happens.

5) Create a budget and start saving.

No matter how broke you are, you can only become more broke if you don’t watch out. Write down a list of how much money you spend on food, drinks, smokes, gas, bus, etc. Once you know how much you roughly spend each month, try to set aside something as savings. It may only be a meager $20, but hey – you don’t call yourself a broke-ass for nothing.

 

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About the author

Heidi Smith - The Ultimate Scavenger

Originally from San Diego, Heidi migrated north to study journalism at SFSU and interned for the SF Bay Guardian writing music stuff. She later embarked on a study-abroad program in both Denmark and Holland, and basically never came home. For six long years, she froze her ass off in Oslo, Norway, pretending to be a viking princess, trying to figure out how to survive in the most expensive city in the world. The other two years were spent frolicking on the beach in Spain - sipping on sangria in between being tossed around Europe working as a stressed-out journalist. Heidi currently works at for a non-profit cultural exchange program, helping others experience life from a different perspective. She is thrilled to be back in SF, magnetizing the obscure, and scavenging the city for fun, free things to do.
  • http://kristian.tumblr.com Kristian Hansen

    I recommend joining a credit union.

    In SF, the San Francisco Fire Credit Union is amazing. There are no fees, no ATM withdrawl penalties ( say goodbye to the $2 and $3 surcharges).

    Any credit union is going to be better than the banks!