It’s remarkably easy for me to feel ashamed. And the problem when I’m ashamed is that I clam up. And the problem with clamming up is that I don’t get help. But one time I told my parents about a problem and it helped. A lot. (But for whatever reason I never tell them my problems anymore. Maybe I should look into that).
I had forgotten to pay my credit card. This has really only happened once or twice in my life because it’s on Autopay but at the time, I got charged a fee of $40. That was a lot of money for me at the time. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I knew my parents were very frugal with money and I assumed they had never made such a stupid mistake and would yell at me if they knew.
But I told them. I don’t know why. Maybe I was drunk.
They said, “Call the bank and they’ll waive it.”
What? I can’t do that. It’s my fault. What kind of weird hippie planet did my parents come from? This bank is a corporation and corporations are in place to bilk dumb consumers like me out of every hard-earned dollar we have! I really wanted to toss my parents’ advice out the window.
But every so often I can play the obedient daughter. I called the bank.
They waived the fee. It. Felt. Amazing.
So this is the tip for saving money: don’t pay more than you have to.
And it’s so easy. Don’t want to pay the fee? Ask if they’ll waive it. I’m not saying it’ll work every time, but it’ll likely work some of the time.
You may not even need to ask. For example, my apartment does this incredibly skeezy thing where it’ll send you a letter if you miss a payment by even a day, and tell you to leave your apartment if you don’t pay your rent plus 10% of your rent in late fees. It’s a pretty scary letter. I remember getting it and thinking, wow, that’s an insane fee. And I was mad because my rent was on Autopay and it just didn’t renew for the year. Why didn’t the apartment complex just tell me that so I could pay on time? It would have been a win-win.
I thought about asking for the fee to be waived but I could feel myself getting angry. So instead of paying the fee, I just paid my rent without the fee and went about my day.
A day or so later, I got an email thanking me for my payment and waiving the late fee. Bingo! A few hundred dollars saved without even talking to anyone.
I’m sure they get A LOT of people to pay these late rent fees because of these scary letters. The extra-skeezy thing is how many foreign nationals live in my building. I’m sure they get scared and just pay up. My advice – see if you can get away without paying.
And just as a disclaimer, I’m not saying you can steal from stores or scam people out of their deserved money for providing services. I still paid my rent. I still paid my credit card bill.
But if you are having trouble paying for something, then there’s no harm in asking. It could save you a lot of money and even make you feel a little more assertive.
Have you ever asked for a fee reduction?