I’ve shared a list of things TO DO to save money. Now here’s is a list of things NOT TO DO if you’re interested in saving money. According to this article, these things are all just a waste of your member’s hard-earned money:
- Cell phone insurance. It’s just not worth it due to the high deductible and the fact that the cell phone company can send you a refurbished phone instead of a new one or a completely different model than what you had.
- Credit card insurance. Insurance will pay either the minimum balance or the entire balance should you lose your job, become disabled or die. But the monthly premium is expensive and you’re far better off if you put that money toward paying off your balance instead.
- Cancer insurance. (This always sounds so tempting when the AFLAC salesman makes his yearly visit.) It’s much smarter to buy comprehensive coverage than pay for insurance for just one disease. Plus there are usually lots of qualifying restrictions and in some cases, it can negate the cancer coverage you have with your health care provider.
- Convenience checks. I’ve advised people to stay away from these before. They’re SO tempting when you get them in the mail. If you use it, it’s really like a short-term loan and the interest – normally ranging from 18-24% – is a killer. Find another way to get the cash you need (but avoid using a cash advance on your credit card as well).
- Withdrawing from a foreign ATM. Foreign as in not your credit union’s, or on your shared network. You’re very likely to get hit with two fees – one from the issuing bank and one from your own bank for going outside your network. Plan ahead or purchase something at the grocery store and ask for cash back.
- Extended warranties. Once again, don’t fall for this expensive option. Consumer Reports has found that if you actually need a repair, it generally will cost about the same as the warranty. Or the item will break outside the warranty period. The only exception is for laptops or tablet computers.
And if helping your members is more important than your bottom line:
- Buying checks from your financial institution. (Does anyone still use checks?) Unless they’re free, they’ll normally be cheaper if you buy them from an outside company. Plus, you can get dogs or fun designs that way too.
- Pre-paid debit cards. (Great for the issuing FI, not so great for the consumer.) These come with fees and a cost to activate. Avoid at all costs, especially since they don’t help you develop a credit history.
Why not make January Financial Education month at your credit union? Share these tips with your members. They’ll thank you.