Having trouble over-drafting your account? Often, overdrafts are caused by simple bookkeeping mistakes. Still, overdrafts are better than the embarrassment and possible legal consequences of having your debit card declined at a restaurant or coffee shop. Overdraft coverage is a service we’re happy to provide members as a way to keep those consequences from happening.
Here are a few easy ways to help prevent overdrafts from happening in the future:
HOW TO AVOID OVERDRAFT FEES AT LUNCH:
– Pack an emergency lunch and keep it in your car or office. That way, you don’t have to choose between over-drafting your account and going hungry. Carrot sticks and ranch dressing with crackers make a great emergency solution that can last for a week.
– Leave cash tips. Your servers prefer it because they don’t have to wait until their next paycheck to get their wages. Also, you can save yourself the headache of worrying about over-drafting an account due to your generosity.
– Don’t be afraid to say “no” to lunch out. Your co-workers love your company at lunch, but they’ll understand if you need to eat a sandwich you brought from home. No one will judge you for missing a lunch date.
HOW TO AVOID OVERDRAFT FEES AT THE GAS STATION:
– Most gas stations place “holds” on your account of $50-$100 when you use your debit card at the pump. While this money is still in your account, it can’t be spent for 3-5 days. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether to go in for a soda.
– Overdraft fees are charged on a “per-transaction” basis. If you’re already close to your account balance, avoid making additional purchases after you’ve bought gas.
– Optimize your fuel economy. Clean out your car and get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be in there. Every 200 pounds of extra stuff in your car costs you a mile per gallon.
HOW TO AVOID OVERDRAFT FEES WHILE SHOPPING:
– Go to your local secondhand store! Like Macklemore’s hit song, “Thrift Shop,” you’ll look incredible without dropping lots of cash.
– Be careful of “Going Out of Business” sales. They’ll advertise incredible markdowns, like 70%-90% off, to disguise the fact that their prices were inflated for liquidation.
– Play the “three reasons” game. Before you make a purchase, write down or say out loud three reasons why the purchase is a good idea. This will help you cut down on impulse buying.
HOW TO AVOID OVERDRAFT FEES AT HOME:
– Get a calendar or share an electronic calendar with your spouse. Write down when bills are due when deposits are made and other financial events. Most of the time, just watching something can change it for the better.
– Set up a realistic budget. Have an honest conversation with your family about how much you can afford to spend each month, then stick to it.
– Start creating an emergency fund. Putting aside even a few hundred dollars to deal with surprise car repairs or unexpected bills can help keep you out of financial trouble.
HOW TO AVOID OVERDRAFT FEES ONLINE:
– Unlink your debit card from iTunes, Amazon and other online shopping addictions. Forcing yourself to enter the information each time can cut down on the impulse buys.
– Take a look at recurring fees for entertainment. Do you really need more than one streaming music or movie source?
– Keep an eye on your account statements for unauthorized charges. If someone else is using your debit card without your permission, that can cause overdrafts, too!