Every Dollar Counts. Saving On Fees at Home and Abroad.


How often do you walk into the street and throw a couple dollars down the sewer drain? What if I told you essentially you might be doing that every single month. Would you believe that you could be tossing away $100 to $1000 dollars per year? I bet you could think of a couple items or experiences that money could buy. Hell for me that is a round trip flight to California right there. Fees are everywhere and many people are paying anywhere between $10 to $50 dollars per month in basic bank fees. On top of the basic fess there are added convenience charges on withdrawals outside your home bank, and of course foreign exchange fees when accessing your money while abroad. Sure there are many other fees: Interest fees, NSF fees, over limit fees and while I could write an entire blog post on this all,  I want to focus on fees that you may be spending monthly on basic banking and exchange fees while abroad and how you can cut or eliminate them and use that money for anything else. ( responsible Christine wants to chime in and say use any extra savings to pay down debt, but travel Christine wants you to extend that trip or take a holiday with those savings) So follow these few easy steps to start saving some moola!

How to save on monthly bank fees:

  1. How much you are paying? Hunt down those fees on your bank statement.
  2. Call your bank and see if they offer rebates on these fees if you  have multiple products or accounts with them. Nothing to lose here so pick up that phone.
  3. If your bank doesn’t have a way to cut or remove those monthly bank fees you might want to consider switching banks! (Sure, It’s a pain but the long-term savings are worth the time…remember…this could be your VACATION money!)
    • Know your way around online banking? Tangerine and PC financial are a couple Canadian banks that have low or no monthly fees!
  4. Stop. Where are you withdrawing your funds from? Those two withdrawals at the bar last night might have cost you close to $8. You just GAVE $8 to that machine for standing there! That’s just madness.. plan and take out cash before you go.

How to save on transactions fees while abroad:


  1. Chequing/Savings – How much does your bank charge for withdrawing cash while outside your home country? With my banks this is between $3-$6 per transaction with an extra foreign exchange fee averaging 2.5% which doesn’t include any fees you may be charged as a service or convenience fee from the machines which have nothing to do with your home bank. While you can’t cut the cost with accessing cash from your account while away you can reduce this cost by calling around to see which banks offer the best deal.
  2. Credit Cards – Try to get one without a yearly fee unless you are really reaping some reward benefits. You can be charged interest if you do not make payments while away on outstanding balances so keep that in mind as well as cash advance fees etc.. Most cards (in Canada anyway) have a foreign exchange fee per transaction of about 2.5% in addition to costs the machine charges. IF you are using your card while away (not for cash withdrawals) for the most part you will be paying the 2.5% per transaction..unless you go with this gem. Amazon Rewards Card by Chase. If you travel and do NOT want to pay that stupid 2.5% get this card or do some research and try to find one with the least amount of fees*.

So there you have it. A little research, some phone calls, some patience and you might just save yourself enough for a little vacation.

* Chase Canada Credit portfolio was recently acquired by Scotiabank…hopefully they don’t make changes to the no forex fee. Keep your eye on the small print if you do decide to sign up.

All information on my blog is from personal experience only and should not be used to replace advice or information from your personal adviser 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *