Beating an overdraft fee is simple if you know what to do

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

Checking account balance: nine cents.

If this sounds like your financial condition, you’re probably waiting for that paycheck on Friday, expecting your parents to come through with that big fat 20-dollar bill, or you’re busy making friends, just so you can dig through their couch cushions for change.

But just when you thought that you might have to ask your girlfriend or boyfriend to pay for last night, you get a very nice, very thin letter from your bank.

It politely reminds you that a check from your account came through and it was bigger than nine cents. In fact it was much, much bigger. Like around four dollars.

Damn that McDonald’s dollar menu, you think.

The letter then says the bank is pleased to announce that they have also tacked on an overdraft fee to your ailing account. So now you’re down $3.91 for greasy burgers in addition to the overdraft fee, which can be up to 30 dollars depending on where you bank.

For those of you keeping score at home: Your bank won’t discuss the score, but you know you’re $33.91 in the hole.

Suddenly that twenty-dollar bill from your parents doesn’t sound quite so big, and you’re wondering how your mother is going to handle it when you’re forced to quit school and enter a life a crime.

Hold on!

Before you put on that old, smelly ski mask and pick up that cap gun, take the time to read the below tips. You might get out of an overdraft fee, or at least avoid one in the future.

Either way, you’ll have the kind of knowledge that will make you the life of any party. Or at least keep you out of the slammer.

1. Don’t panic.