BOSTON (CBS) – I started doing this particular series several years ago and every year I am amazed at the stories I hear from listeners. People do not learn from others mistakes. If we see a “wet paint” sign, we are apt to touch it to see if it is dry! And so it is with finances!

“Dumb money moves” waste your money. Often it takes some planning on your part to avoid the dumb moves. That’s all, just some time. But we are all so intent on instant gratification that most of us have no patience. So we’ll spend the week looking at dumb moves and even dumber money mistakes.

Credit Card Fees:  You are charged a fee if your payment does not arrive on time to meet the card’s deadline. At one time, you had 30 days, now it is at 21 days for most cards. And these late fees add up. They are maxed by law at $25 unless you exceed your spending limit or are habitually late, then its $35.

Then there is the cash advance fee which is a minimum of $10 plus the 3% interest charge and then there is the oops you are over your limit fee which is about $32. Most of us can avoid all of these fees!

If you normally pay on time but do incur a late fee, call the credit card company and ask them to waive the fee and the extra interest you were charged. Most will do it if you are a good customer.

What about the banks? ATM Fees; sometimes you can’t avoid these but they add up. Over your limit on your checking account? Busted! Some fees are over $30. Dip below the minimum balance and a debit shows up on your banking statement.

There are late fees on mortgages, student loans, car loans, business loans. Those late payments may show up on your credit history and could affect your credit score. And possibly even the interest rate on your current credit cards.

Look closely at your bills, like the one for your oil delivery. They may say “due in 10 days” and if you’re late they will assess a late fee as well.

Cell Phones:  If you are late paying your bill most companies will charge you at least $5.

No excuses for racking up late fees at your local library. Even the smallest towns of the Commonwealth allow you to log on and renew your books and DVDs.

Hotels:  Stay away from the mini bar. Pack your own snacks. This is so easy!

Also, check your bill before you leave to see if you have been charged for services you have not used. There may be no way around them but worth a try. I was recently speaking at a conference in a resort hotel and I was charged $12 a day for the resort amenities. When I complained that I had been working the whole time I was there they removed the fees.


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