The best way to ruin someone’s day is to grant him or her with an unexpected fee. Any kind of fee will do the damage, from a $60 parking ticket to a random $8 fee on your checking account; it’s the principle of those fees more than the amount. Fortunately, if you know which battles to fight, you don’t always have to pay those fees.

Parking Tickets

The worst. The absolute worst. So you paid your $2 for an hour in the parking garage, and somehow, you still got a ticket. Do. Not. Delay. I repeat, do not plan to “take care of it later,” or just hope it disappears. First, go directly to the parking attendant, and get explicit details of what to do. Get his or her name, or badge number. Let them know you are serious. After you fight that ticket through the proper protocols, follow up within a week. Even when parking companies know you did the right thing originally, they want to squeeze you dry, and if given the chance, you’ll get a $30 late fee on top of the $30 parking ticket. Not to mention the $5 processing fee, and of course the original $2 you paid for parking. If all else fails and you’ve lost your pay stub or the DMV has the wrong address or you suddenly have a $100 bill from a collection agency, call the parking company immediately. Don’t blindly hand over $100 for a measly two hours of parking. Once it reaches the hand of the collection agency, you won’t be able to get the entire case waived, but if you demand to speak with a manager of the company, they will probably cut it down significantly.

Bank Account Fees

This is the best one of the lot. We get super annoyed at our banks for randomly charging fees, especially because they’ve got so much money already. It’s fortunate for us that they have so much money, because a few measly $12 fees aren’t going to, ahem, break the bank. Even if you bounced a check, there’s a good chance of reimbursement. Head over to your bank, or call them, and complain. Where did this fee come from? Why is it here? How can I avoid it in the future? Can you remove it from my account? Before you even get the chance to ask the last question, they’ve probably already begun the process to remove the fee. There are always ways around these fees, all you have to do is ask!

Baggage Fees

Did you know that you might be able to get around baggage fees at the airport? It’s true! While the tourist family of the year next to you pays a whopping $80 for their suitcase of shoes, you can actually get your bag on the plane for free. The first way is to ask to waive it. Try to scope out a veteran employee and make a beeline for that desk. Schmooze your way through check in, then ask for a baggage waive. If the flight is not full, and they can do it, they normally will. These people are here to make your day, not ruin it! The other tip is to check your bag at the gate when you’re on a full flight. Nobody wants to force people to check their luggage, so you can “volunteer” to leave your luggage to be checked at the gate. And voila! No baggage during the flight, no dealing with the baggage conveyor belt, and no baggage fees.

Overage Fees – Phone Minutes/Messages

The phone service industry is ultra competitive, especially with the hype surrounding every new iPhone. As a consumer, you have more power than ever before, as long as you know how to use it. Say you go over your messaging or minutes, and you’re slammed with $1 per minute or per message, and a $10 overage fee. Do not accept it. You pay good money for your service, and they shouldn’t have the right to make you hang up the phone without saying goodbye just to save a minute here and there. Call your provider, and nicely inquire about the fee. Sometimes they will give it to you straight and you can ask if they’ll remove it, while other times they will simply remove it altogether without you having to ask, just to avoid an angry customer.