Feb 14, 2015

A visit to the Birmingham Home + Garden Show, February 12 - 15, features many ways guests can "go greener" in their homes and gardens - and that extends to saving some green during their leisure time.

Frugal living guru Christie Dedman, (guests may know her as the Birmingham Bargain Mom), will be at the show daily to share tips on modern ways to save money on groceries and family expenses - and just in time for Spring Break, ways to save on travel.

Direct from her blog, here are Christie's Top 7 Tips for saving money on ATM fees while you travel.

On our getaways we've hit Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Las Vegas, Kansas City, St. Louis, and more! Try to function in those cities without cash and you'll be in a serious bind! Cash is needed for transportation, parking, tipping, and even food and drink.

So what are you to do if you're in a city that doesn't have an ATM or bank from your hometown chain? Check out these tips for saving money on ATM fees while you're traveling!
  1. Plan ahead - Stop by an in-network ATM or your bank before venturing into a foreign ATM area - a.k.a. another city or state. Plan ahead for all of the tips, fees, etc. It may be hard to calculate all the expenses, but get enough to survive. (Of course, play it safe if you plan to walk around in larger cities with cash).
  2. Read the message - All ATMs should display a fee message at the beginning of the transaction. READ IT. Don't just skip over it. Some "fees" are as high as $5 in certain areas. Feel free to cancel the transaction if that price makes you sick. If you do decide to go ahead with the transaction, make sure you get the receipt. See number three for the reason why.
  3. Don't forget the receipt - There are some banks and credit unions that offer foreign ATM usage fee reimbursement. If you didn't hear about that feature from your bank manager when you opened your checking or savings account, ask them about it before you hit the road. (Plus that's get information to have even when you're running around town).
  4. Never pay fees again - Grocery stores, Walmarts, Targets, and drug stores are everywhere. Stop by and purchase gum, a drink or candy, and then hit the "cash back" option when you're paying with your card. IT's cheaper than paying an ATM fee. However, you've got to be careful, some stores, like Dollar General have been known to charge a 1% fee if you ask for cash back. So make sure you read the store signs, etc. (Also, look for minimum purchase signs if you're using a debit card).
  5. Investigate - Don't just deposit your money anywhere, do some research. Ask about your financial institution's fees, including ATM and foreign transaction fees, overdraft fees, and more. You can use Find A Better Bank to get some guidance on what you may need in a bank.
  6. Mobile friendly ATM fee zapping apps - There are four apps for smartphone users that will help locate free ATMs. Allpoint, MoneyPass, CO-OP Network, and MasterCard Nearby are all available for iOS and Google Play devices. 
  7. Give online banks a try - Online banks are a great way to avoid ATM fees. Most online exclusive banks reimburse all ATM fees because they do not have a brick and mortar set-up. Research online banks here.
Chistie will grace the Fresh Ideas Home Stage at the Birmingham Home + Garden Show February 12 - 15, 2015. Check out our Stage Schedule for more information. Don't have tickets yet? Make the Birmingham Bargain Mom proud and get yours for a great price - right now you can get 2-for-1 tickets on our Facebook Ticket Deals!

FEBRUARY 12 - 15, 2015.