13 Things You Shouldn’t Ever Pay For


In our daily routines, we get used to doing everything a certain way. This includes paying for things that we don’t necessarily need to be paying for. You could be spending hundreds of dollars a month on things you can get for free, or don't need at all. See if there's anything on this list that you can cut out of your budget!

 

Banking


Major banks almost universally have fees for their checking and savings accounts unless you meet certain requirements. Whether you meet those or not, you should never be paying for fees associated with having a bank account. If you do find yourself paying monthly maintenance fees, switch to a local credit union, local bank, or one of many online banking options, like Aspiration.

 

Credit Reports


Make no mistake about it, the major credit reporting agencies in the U.S. will try and trick you into paying for your credit report. Don’t do it. By law, you’re allowed a free credit report from the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months. You can get more information here. If you have a major credit card, chances are that you can access your credit score through your online account login anytime as well.

 

Cable TV


It’s amazing how high the cost of cable TV still is given the multitude of content and streaming options online. The traditional cable TV model is on its way out, giving way to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. It’s just not worth paying $85 a month and up when you can get a ton of high-quality content on Netflix for $8 a month. Amazon Prime members also get thousands of hours of entertainment for free as part of their membership!

 

Standard Computer Programs


Depending on what your needs are, it’s making less and less sense to pay for software programs like Microsoft Office. Even if you do use your computer for business, Google’s document, spreadsheet, and presentation apps are almost at the same caliber and are totally free. It’s also easier to collaborate on stuff and share docs online. Many standard programs often have open-source equivalents that are also available for free. 

 

Samples


Are you from the school of thought of “try before you buy”? That’s fair, but you should never be paying for samples. You can find tons of great freebies on this very site and sites like Samples.com. Often times you don’t even need to go to the store to get your free samples!

 

Related Story: Is Your 2019 Budget Too Risky?


 

Extended Warranties


Extended warranties are, for the most part, a classic upcharge scheme that rarely pays off for the buyer. Stores love to take advantage of the vulnerability that comes with making a shiny new purchase and try to convince you that you need to protect it. The fact is, the warranty rarely pays off and usually expires well before the time you would need to use it anyway.

 

Birthday Food


Your friends and family aren’t the only ones giving you presents on your birthday. Turns out you can get a bunch of free food from restaurants as well. Check out this list of places that will send you free food offers during for your birthday.

 

Kids Meals


Life is truly better as a kid. Case and point: there are many places that will give you your kids’ meals for free when you purchase your own food. It’s delicious for them and great for you because you’ll never have to pay for your kids’ meals when you go out to eat. This article will help you sniff out the best spots.

 

Bottled Water


This one is a no-brainer. There’s no need to pay for bottled water. Buy a cute, reusable water bottle and start bringing it with you in the car. There are even collapsible ones that are super portable and easy to carry when empty.

 

Rental Car Insurance


Remember the problem with extended warranties? The same logic applies here. Rental car companies make their bread and butter off of the extra charges they tack on (take note: it’s not just rental car insurance where they try and get you), and it all started with the rental car insurance packages they offer. In most cases, your existing auto insurance already covers you for rental cars. Additionally, many credit cards automatically insure you on a rental when you charge it to their card. Obviously, you should double check on your personal situation, but most likely you don’t need the rental insurance.

 

Travel Insurance


Here’s another insurance charge you should never pay. Travel booking sites like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and pretty much all of the major airlines will recommend that you insure your trip. What they don’t tell you, though, is that there are very few instances (usually extreme situations) in which you’ll actually receive any benefit from that insurance. It’s not worth the extra cash.

 

Gym Initiation Fees


Gym initiation fees are one of the bigger mysteries in life. Why do people pay them? If you want to join a gym, there are plenty of options for places to go that don’t have initiation fees. If you love a place that does, try and negotiate with the manager there. Most likely they’ll be flexible and waive it. If not, most gyms have sales frequently throughout the year when they waive their fees.

 

New Clothing


This may seem like a more radical concept to most, but it makes a ton of sense. There are so many trendy, chic secondhand clothing shops where you can get great, fashionable clothing for a fraction of the price of new clothing. Fashion is designed to change frequently, so that’s why we spend so much on new gear. You don’t have to, though. While you’re obviously not going to never buy new clothes, try and supplement some of your clothes shopping with secondhand goods.

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