Make Sure the Bank’s Hours Match Yours (51/365)

The bank my parents use keeps some rather unusual hours. A few times recently, I’ve been visiting my parents and wished to accompany them to the bank to sign papers or other such things, only to discover that the bank is improbably closed at what seems like a completely reasonable hour.

This is a common trait among smaller banks – and even a few bigger ones. Often, their hours were set many years ago and have mostly been left unchanged out of a sense of tradition or simply to avoid disrupting the schedule of some of their oldest customers.

Regardless, the odd hours of a bank can cost you money and time. If you can’t conveniently make it to your bank in a given week, then you need to consider a new bank.

Make Sure the Bank's Hours Match Yours (51/365)

How does this cost you money, you might ask?

Quite a lot of routine banking business requires you to visit the bank. Making a large withdrawal for a big purchase? Changing the type of your checking account (perhaps to earn interest, as mentioned yesterday)? Resolving banking errors where withdrawals or deposits that aren’t yours have posted to your account? You’ve got to be able to visit the bank for almost all of these things.

In each case, the costs pop up in both your money and your time.

A large withdrawal, such as the payment for an automobile, can be done via ATM, but it will often take a lot of visits to do so and require you to carry a significant amount of cash with you – a security risk if there ever was one.

If you can’t easily adjust your checking account type to one that bears interest, you’re leaving money on the table. If you can’t turn off things like overdraft “protection” or other fee-bearing costs, you’re handing money to the bank.

The last one is perhaps the nastiest.

Several years ago, I had a withdrawal of about $1,500 come out of my checking account unexpectedly. When I looked at my ATM receipt that evening, I was in shock. Where did the money go?

A quick trip to my bank took care of it. They have long bank hours during the week and even a fairly long day on Saturday. I was able to stop by at my convenience.

If I were using the bank my parents used, it could have been a very long time before I could have fixed that mess. Missed bills, overdraft fees, stress – all of those things could have easily been part of the equation had I not had a bank with very good hours.

Make sure your bank has convenient hours so you can easily conduct business there when it works for you. You’ll save money, time, and stress that way.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.

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