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How much do you pay to banks each month? Take a closer look!

I am curious, do you know the exactly how much money you are paying in interest and bank fees each month?

I ask because recently I’ve been particularly worried about this one credit card account I have. It was literally the first card I got when I decided to try reestablishing myself credit wise.

This means I had to pay an annual fee for the card and a pretty high interest rate. It was something I felt was necessary though since nobody would extend credit to me otherwise.

Well just the other day I got a notice from that credit card company about how the account terms are being changed. The annual fee is going up and so is the interest rate, big time. It’s been five years since I accepted that car and I actually forgot just how much I was paying them to extend credit to me!

Since accepting that credit card offer I’ve improved my credit tons and I now have several lower APR/ no annual fee cards that are a much better deal. I quickly decided that this first credit card is something I don’t need to be paying for any longer and am closing it.

Well, this all got me thinking about how much N and I are unknowingly throwing away on bank fees and interest charges each month. I was scared to sit down and figure out the exact dollar amount but I also knew that if I didn’t we wouldn’t truly see how much we can cut back and even save if we make some small changes.

Let me tell you adding it all up and listing it all really does put it in perspective folks! It also really helped me to see which accounts we wanted to focus on paying down first. Throwing less money away is always a good thing right? You gotta take those blinders off first though.

Plus, once it is all listed you can go through it and see how the interest rates and owed balances are looking. Available balances and interest rates are two very different things, just because you have the money available to spend doesn’t mean you should.

Listing your monthly interest and fees paid will also help you see if you are using high interest rate cards too often or if you have too much charged to them. It will help you determine if you should be paying more towards one card as opposed to another. It will also help you to see if certain cards are just charging you too much in comparison to all your other accounts. Ignorance is bliss… but it is bliss you probably can’t afford right now!

Are you convinced yet? If so you can use this free spreadsheet right now to plug in your own information. It will figure totals for you over a 6 month period, then you can print it out and keep it as a reference if you want.

I am also curious to see how much individuals are paying each month and how all my readers average so I made an anonymous survey I hope you’ll take.

It is just asking for your January 2009 numbers, no personal information. It’s all recorded on a spreadsheet and then I’ll share the anonymous values with you all in another post so you can see how you compare to other readers.

In these times of economic hardship everyone is looking for ways to cut back and to save money. Watching your monthly budget and spending trends is a simple and obvious way to find areas that you can cut back. How much interest and fees banks charge you is a big one many people overlook!

<p>A city girl turned farmer. Yes women do farm ;) Owner and operator of direct to consumer, Ryder Family Farm in Southern Illinois.<br /> Wearing many hats I'm also a mother to 3, a wife, a yogi, a farmer, a 4-H & Girl Scout leader & hospitality manager.</p>

0 thoughts on “How much do you pay to banks each month? Take a closer look!

  1. I did your survey! I only have a Visa card, and it is a ‘no frills’ card, so only 9.5%. I used to have other cards, but some were as high as 28%, those are cut up and long gone. My bank charges $12 a month for unlimited chequing, and my savings pays me 2.5% if I keep a minimum of $5000.00 balance. Overall I think I do ok with interest/charges, but I can see how it can screw you up big time if your not watching it.

    Loris last blog post..To all the blogs I’ve read before, To all the blogs that I adore..(insert music here)

  2. If you and N do a monthly discussion/assessment together, and determine what discretionary spending will take place ahead of time, you will be in great shape, financially, and as a couple.

    witchypoos last blog post..Whelmed

    1. Yeah, we are just getting our financial ways figured out at this point. It is tricky. I do all the finances and he just wants me to tell him what I’ve left for discretionary spending once bills are all taken care of… Then we assess what we will spend that extra cash on.

      Years ago there was not extra cash left after bills so having the left over money is quite different for us. LOL.

  3. I’m anal about paying everything off every month because I cannot STAND paying somebody interest, so I don’t ever pay attention to interest rates on my credit cards.

    I have checking accounts at a bank that I’ve had accounts at since I was a kid and I’ve been grandfathered into no-fee accounts. Every time they annoy me and I want to close my accounts and take my money elsewhere, I remember that I get charged NOTHING. The one time I am susceptible for fees is if no transactions take place in 12 months, so every year I have an automated transfer go through to keep the account active.

    Here is one thing I learned recently from Suze Orman…keep your oldest credit cards, even if you don’t use them. Just tuck them away. The reason is that once the account is closed, that information no longer is pumped into your credit score and you WANT that good credit information to remain intact. I’ve got 2 credit cards from college (um, 1990) that I keep but are locked away in the vault… because I’ve never missed any payments and I’ve got great history with them.

    Good post, I hope people googling about financial options find it.

    Hyphen Mamas last blog post..Mr Hyphen’s Fantasy Comes True

    1. I am all about paying stuff off right away too. It just sucks when you end up using the credit cards for big stuff (like a $10,000 cross country move) that you can’t pay down right away. Lots of people these days (not us!) are even living off those credit cards to pay bills and to buy groceries, that is where you really get in to trouble!

  4. Here’s the thing;

    We dont pay any fees…. None… Zilch… Nada….

    As you know Chris works for Wells Fargo, so we actually get paid intressed on our checking account because he is an employee!

    We dont have credit card. Well, I take that back I have one (C doesnt have any). But it has nothing on it. It’s one my dad co-singed on so that I could rebuild my credit too. I will use if we need to. But seing that the bill goes to my dads house, and he can see what I bought, it for emergencies only… Like trips to the ER or a car repair.

    This really is an awesome post! Make you really think about money you toss away every month.

    We worked so hard to pay everything off, so that the only money we have barrowed is the morage and car loan.

    Just watch the late fees too! Those can be pretty heafty. Even for utilitys or cable.

    Krystal McCarthys last blog post..I ♥ Paxil…

  5. Age helps. We have an no-fee interest-bearing checking account, and the yearly interest is just about enough to pay for the paper checks we keep on hand.

    There are no transaction fees, we use our debit card for almost all purchases.

    We don’t have a credit card, only a line of credit with the bank where we have our checking.

    No mortgage (paid off!! YAY!! in 2005) and no car payments.

    It took a long time to get here, but the freedom is worth the struggle.

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