If you tend to use the ATM regularly, and you often have to go out of your own bank’s network, you’re looking at an average of $2.50 in charges just to see that cash. For a $20 withdrawal, that’s a 12.5% fee!
Outside of choosing a bank that will pay your ATM fees (if you carry a huge balance and pay a little fee each month), or going with a credit union (they might not charge, but the other bank still does), here’s two simple tips to decrease the pain felt at the cash machine:
1) Your best bet is to get cash back at grocery stores during your regular shopping trips. It’s often free, and very convenient. It involves some planning, and means you’re carrying cash in your wallet that you might burn more quickly, but it saves $2.50 every time.
2) If it’s not time for your semi-annual trip to the grocer, then just pop into one nearby, buy a pack of gum for 50 cents, and get your cash back. Even though you might get a dirty look from the cashier, it saves you about $2.00 each time. Also, this is becoming a very common method, so don’t worry about those nasty looks for too much longer.
3) If you absolutely MUST use a non-network ATM, then think about getting more cash out than you need at that moment. It will spread out the fees and save you time the next instant you absolutely NEED that Taco Bell Bean Burrito and wouldn’t have had cash in your pocket. As with #1 above, you’re putting yourself at risk of spending that extra cash needlessly, and you’ll need to plan ahead, but if you’re responsible enough, you could end up saving big cash when all is said and done.