Recessionistance: Question the Fees on your Bank Statement!

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My bank called late yesterday. Now, I have not tried to communicate with my bank in some time. And that’s ironic, considering the financial situation of the country right now. I’m no Suzie Orman, but a couple of months ago I did look through my bank statements. I realized that I was paying a $9.95 online banking fee every month. I also noted all the $2.00 ATM fee charges I was racking up when I traveled to New York, Chicago, London (that one is now $5.00!), San Francisco and other cities. If its not my bank’s ATM, I’m paying this surcharge because I need cash.

So what to do to try to tighten the belt a little? On the online banking fee, I questioned my bank regarding the amount of money I am keeping in my savings account and the type of account I have. Turns out, I qualify for a different level of account that provides FREE online banking fees. And the bank called to tell me that. I looked in my account this am & was pleased to see my account switched over and several months of online banking fees credited back to my account. Now that’s what I call Recessionistance. So, even though some of these fees seem small, be sure to ask your bank about them every once in awhile. In this economy , savings on regular monthly deductions are worth inquiring about. My payment of those online fees added up to $119.40 per year! That’s extra money I can use for necessities of living.

And what about those ATM fees? I’m trying to be more careful on the ATMs I use to withdraw cash. Clearly, I’ll have to do a little more advance planning.

So how does my review of my banking statement relate to fashion you might ask? Well the $$$ I am saving will go back into my recessionista shopping & home care slush fund. The refunded bank fees will certainly cover my new Norma Kamali (not to be confused with Tamale) dress from Walmart. And that’s Recessionistance 🙂


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. Anonymous

    October 27, 2008 at 7:00 am

    If you really need walking-around money and there’s no bank around get something tiny at the nearest drug/variety store or grocery and pay ‘atm with cash back.’ No fees–perhaps even a teeny bonus, from some banks (a reward for not writing a check).

  2. citronyella

    October 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    My post office offers ATM services without a fee, all you have to do is maybe buy a stamp or some .01 stamps (these help you use the out of date stamps you have so you dont have to buy new ones all the time).