Stop Paying Late Fees On Credit Cards And Other Bills
Here’s something to think about: Did you know that late fees on people’s credit cards account for 1/3 of the bank’s income?
Paying your bills on time is one of the easiest ways to save money. You don’t have to give up anything or do anything that takes a lot of work. You just write a check, put it in an envelope (which is usually provided for you) and mail it. Many people pay bills online now, which is just as quick.
Putting off paying a bill doesn’t mean it will somehow go away. It just means that you’re going to have a BIGGER bill to pay. For some reason, many of us tend to be like ostriches when it comes to our bills.
Our pastor was talking last Sunday about how ostriches aren’t too bright. It started me thinking about how much like ostriches we are sometimes when it comes to our bills.
There is an old saying that an ostrich buries its head in the sand and is usually used to say if we can’t see our enemy, the enemy can’t see us and the enemy will go away. Never mind that the ostrich’s huge body is sticking out in plain view.
In the same way, many of us think if we bury our bills under a pile of papers and we can’t see them, they will just go away.
Ostriches have little wings that they flap all the time, thinking they can fly and are going somewhere, but the reality is that their wings don’t work and they aren’t going anywhere at all.
In the same way, we often flap our wings doing non-productive things with our finances, like spending money on things that we think make us feel good. We think we are flying high and living the good life when we are really going nowhere.
Some of us think we are saving money by using energy efficient light bulbs and turning off lights, but then we turn around and pay hundreds of dollars a year to operate a large freezer that is mostly empty or is full of food we never use.
There is one thing an ostrich is really good at and that is running– running very, very fast away from things. How often are we like that?
Instead of standing firm and facing our problems, we think it is easier to turn tail and run as fast as we can to get away from our problems.
Please don’t get angry about what I just said. Instead, consider my words and be honest with yourself about your situation.
If you find my statement about late fees hard to believe, here are some numbers. These numbers are ballpark figures, but I tried to get as close as I could to average. Take a look at your own numbers and check to see what is happening in your life. Don’t bury your head in the sand.
Assuming that late fees average $35 each:
- 5 credit card bills paid late = $175 a month – $2,100 a year
- 10 credit card bills paid late = $350 a month – $4,200 a year
But it gets worse. If you have a nice low interest rate, paying your bill late usually causes the interest rate to jump up to 30% after the first time you are late. That means if you borrow $1,000 you will be paying $300 interest every year.
If you have $1,000 balance on credit cards that have been reset to 30% interest, your interest on:
- 5 cards = $1,500 a year
- 10 cards = $3,000 a year
Even though this post has mostly addressed late fees, there are other fees you can eliminate, including monthly maintenance fees for bank accounts, annual fees for credit cards, ATM fees, etc. Most people don’t even notice that they’re being charged these fees, but they can really add up. Look closely at your statements and do your best to eliminate all of the fees. We generally don’t pay fees for banking or credit cards for any reason and we have occasionally changed accounts when one company insisted on charging a fee.
I think you are getting the idea. So often, I hear moms say, “I wish I could stay home”, or “There is no way we could live on one income,” but it IS possible. In some cases, one person’s entire income is mostly going to paying late fees and interest on credit cards and other bills. This is why I get so passionate about controlling your debt. Once you learn to control it, you can radically change your whole life and lifestyle for the better.
For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.
Photo By: wsssst