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I hate paying fees; they cut into our cash flow, and they can cost us big in the long run. It’s amazing how fees are charged for everything these days, fortunately a lot of these fees you can eliminate or control. Here’s 9 fees to cut from your daily life.

Banking Fees to cut out

ATM fees – Avoid ATM fees at all costs and stick to machines where you won’t be charged. Those small fees add up so stick to your home banks machines. If you always find it difficult to locate an ATM from your home bank then maybe it’s time to consider switching banks.

Bank accounts – Some banking fees are ridiculous, I can’t understand why banks charge you money to hold your money. In any case with most bank accounts if you hold a minimum amount within the account then you’ll get the monthly bank fees waived. The other simple solution is to use a no fee bank account or a free checking account.

Overdraft protection – Interest free overdraft protection may sound great but it really is a waste of money. Yes you’ll get protection in case you go below zero but why pay a monthly fee just in case this happens? Honestly, if you’re worried about overdraft protection then you probably have bigger issues to deal with.

Credit card fees to avoid

Credit card yearly fees – Unless you’re a power user and really like to collect points then credit cards with a yearly fee rarely offer you good value. Some cards will waive the first years fee but then you need to cancel it when your free year is up. Just pick a no fee card that offers you benefits that you can take advantage of.

fees to cut

Credit card Interest – Not technically a fee but credit cards charge insane interest rates. Paying off your full balance on time is a must when using credit, otherwise those purchases you made will end up costing you a whole lot more in the long run. If you struggle to manage your credit cards then maybe switching to cash only budget is the way to go.

Foreign transactions – Credit cards charge 2.5-3% on top of the spot rate when you make purchases in a foreign currency. Avoid this by getting a credit card that has no foreign exchange fees

Investing fees to look out for

Management Expense Ratios – The management expense ratio (MER) is the fee you pay when you invest in mutual funds. These fees can run as high as 3.5% which doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but in the long run it could cost you 100s of thousands of dollars. You can’t eliminate MERs completely, but you can reduce them by investing in index funds or ETFs.

Deferred Sales Charges – Some of the mutual funds you can invest in have a deferred sales charge (DSC) attached to them. What this means is, if you sell your funds before a certain date you’ll need to pay a fee just to get your money back. You should avoid any fund that has a DSC associated with it. Note that brokers do not need to disclose these fees so be sure to ask about them.

Brokerage fees – Brokerage fees are a pretty normal thing but if you really want to reduce your fees consider switching to Questrade where it’s free to buy ETFs. That’s right free to buy and you only need to pay the standard commission when you sell.


About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Avatar bigcajunman on November 10, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Remember that with all fees, they can be negotiated, but yes, run away from all fees as fast as possible, it is sucking the money out of your wallet.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on November 10, 2014 at 8:26 PM


      Good point, people should recognize that all fees are negotiable. I just hate paying them.

  2. Avatar CT on November 10, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    This was a solid piece. Prudent advice.


    • Avatar Barry Choi on November 10, 2014 at 11:23 PM


      Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Avatar Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on November 11, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Another one – baggage fees! Im travelling for work now and came across an interesting situation; as I was boarding the plane the airline member announced on the loudspeaker that the overhead bins were completely full (even though only about 60% had boarded) and that anyone looking to store their bags in the overhead bins had to check them. I’ve never seen that before. It is now a race to get on the plane first so that people can find space for their carryon bag that is large enough for a child to fit into. Flying has become such a gong show lately!

    • Avatar Barry Choi on November 11, 2014 at 5:16 PM


      Ha I was saving that one for a “fees to avoid when travelling” post. That’s a pretty stupid rule that your airline pulled on you.

  4. […] from Money We Have lists 9 fees to cut from your daily life. Fees cut into your cash flow, and cost you more than you think in the long run, so it’s a […]

  5. Avatar Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist on November 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    I’d like to add Bell Canada’s touch tone fees – unfortunately, we don’t have a choice if we have to pay that fee.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on November 14, 2014 at 10:50 PM


      I’m betting that’s not even a real fee. They just call it one to make it sound like it’s mandatory.

  6. […] Here are some fees to cut from the daily grind. […]

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  9. Avatar peter on January 15, 2015 at 7:15 PM

    health insurance plans are starting to cap dispensary fees… If your favourite pharmacist charges more than the limit, go elsewhere

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 15, 2015 at 10:13 PM

      Yes that’s a good point, a small change like that can save you a fair amount over the long run.

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