A Dozen Fees You Should Try to Avoid

Fees may be a fact of life but that doesn’t mean you have to simply accept them. Fees can easily be overlooked when it’s just a few dollars, but even small fees can really bust your budget.

1. GYM SIGN-UP FEES (The fitness market is extremely competitive, so shop around for a gym that will waive the sign-up fee.)

2. MORTGAGE LIFE INSURANCE (Term Life if often cheaper and provides more protection.)

3. GIVE UP YOUR LANDLINE (About 2 million Canadian households no longer have a landline, opting for wireless service.)

4. CELLPHONE ROAMING FEES (Talk to your mobile carrier about a pre-paid long-distance/roaming package before travelling to the U.S. or elsewhere.)

5. CELLPHONE CANCELLATION FEES (Be aware of the fine print in your service agreement and choose your time to change contracts wisely, or don’t sign a contract in the first place.)

6. ANNUAL CREDIT CARD FEES (There are no-fee credit cards that offer rewards.)

7. PREPAID CREDIT CARDS (Unlike regular gift cards, prepaid credit cards come with a host of unnecessary fees.)

8. BANKING FEES & ATM FEES (Banks and credit unions usually offer accounts that waive monthly fees if you maintain a minimum monthly balance.)

9. AIRLINE FEES (Pack carefully — Air Canada and WestJet charge $20 for checking a 2nd bag, and bags that exceed the maximum weight or size can cost you an additional $50. And book your tickets online to avoid a telephone booking charge.)

10. COIN-COUNTING FEES (Skip this fee and roll your change at home. You can buy coin wrappers at a discount store, or buy a small coin-counting machine for home use.)