Sep 29

5 Fees Worth Paying

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Some fees are a not worth paying.  Other fees are worth paying.  Here are five fess that you can feel good about paying from your frugal wallet:

1.  Overdue Fees at the Public Library

My three-year old daughter and I use the public library a lot.  We always seem to have at least a dozen or so books checked out at any given time.  Despite our best efforts (and the convenience of being able to renew items online) we sometimes return items late.

The late fees are 40 cents per day for adults (up to a maximum of $16.00) and 20 cents per day (up to a maximum of $8.00) for children.  I don’t mind paying late fees to the public library at all.  I am an active user of their services and the fees go towards supporting the wonderful services that they offer.

2.  Auto Club Membership (e.g. a CAA or AAA membership) Fee

Some Fees Are Worth Paying

Some Fees Are Worth Paying

With my auto club membership, I am buying peace of mind.  Yes, I do get free maps, a magazine subscription, and travel guides, but I also get towing service, emergency gas delivery, and battery service if I ever need it. One single tow can easily make the cost of the yearly membership worthwhile.

3.  ConsumerReports.org Subscription Fee

I believe that Consumber Reports magazine is one of the most useful and powerful tools available to consumers – period.  It is my preferred resource for reviews and advice before making any major and/or important purchases. My consumerreports.org subscription helps determine which products offer the best value for my money (a super important factor for any frugal shopper).  While I can read and borrow copies of Consumer Reports magazine for free at my local library, the convenience of an online subscription is worth it to me.

4.  Bank Overdraft Protection Fee

Having a cheque bounce is bad.  Overdraft protection can be added to your bank account to help ensure that this never happens.  It can be set to automatically kick in if there are insufficient funds in your account and your balance in danger of falling below zero.  Banks normally charge a few dollars plus interest each time this happens, but this is small change compared to the cost of a returned cheque and the potentially negative impacts this could have on your credit score (and subsequent borrowing costs).

5.  Hiring a Professional plumber, lawyer, electrician, accountant, etc.

Resist the temptation to automatically hire cheapest (or the most expensive) plumber or lawyer or any other professional.  Instead, seek out referrals from friends or friends of friends.  These are often the most reliable and honest referrals that you can get.  You could also research reviews online (less preferred because it’s hard to tell which ‘reviews’ are real or not).  If applicable, ask these professionals for recent referrals and speak to these people.

After you have done your homework, don’t be afraid to pay appropriately for quality service. Paying a fair market price to hire a good lawyer or electrician, etc. is well worth it in the long run.

Which Fees Do You Feel Good About Paying?  Please Leave a Comment Below.

Author: Jason Milburn Google

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Frugal dad – focusing my money and energy towards happiness and the things that matter most since around 1985.

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6 comments

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  1. All pretty good in general, except that I would have to disagree with #4. There really is no reason for anyone to come close to bouncing a check. It has been at least 15 years since I bounced one. I would suggest people are better off by simply paying close attention to their debits and credits and use available tools – I use Quicken – to track spending.

    • Jason on September 29, 2013 at 5:31 pm
      Author

    Hi James,

    You make a good point. Using some basic planning and tracking your expenses should avoid anyone ever needing to use this service in the first place.

    In Canada, overdraft protection can normally be added for free to your account. As such, it is free insurance. The fee only kicks in the unfortunate event that someone actually does need it. In these cases, it could mean paying $5.00 instead of $50.00, for example, with no hit to your credit score. I’ve never used it, but I do have it.

  2. I don’t pay for any of these :/

    I’m good about renewing online.

    I don’t drive much at all (NYC gal).

    My only subscription is netflix (which was a gift, great gift idea by the way).

    I track my finances like a hawk so I’m in no danger of over drafting.

    Luckily my dad is a tax attorney so I’m covered there and my boyfriend is a carpenter/electrician which covers me there.

    That’s the beauty of personal finance, it really is personal. We all have different needs and priorities.

  3. We have been members of CAA for years. It does give a sense of security on the road having it. Just be aware is you have a “bad year” there is a limit on the number of times you can call for help (at least there was). We had such a year once. After using the call out service 3 times we got a notice.

    Overdraft protection is a good idea. You never know when your post dated automatic payments might beat the pay check to the bank.

    • Jason on September 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm
      Author

    Very well said, Stefanie. It sounds like you have it covered. And as you say, personal finance is personal. Are there any fees that you do pay that you don’t mind paying?

    Cheers, Jason

    • Jason on September 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm
      Author

    Dear S Emerson,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and for the reminder about the limit on the number of times you can call CAA for assistance. Sorry to hear about your “bad year” experience. That must have been very frustrating. Even with the limit, it is still a fee that I don’t mind paying. Thanks again for your comment.

    Cheers, Jason

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