|If you can't avoid the temptation to go get drunk on the beach this spring, you can at least avoid the financial hangover afterward.|
Nobody wants to ruin a spring break experience with an OD. And we're not talking about drugs here, but rather the bane of every low-net-worth person: overdrafts. The biggest culprit, for Weiss, is overusing debit cards, which are subject to holds that tie up money in users' bank accounts even if they don't end up spending much on a particular transaction. "I hate debit cards. I really, truly hate them," says Weiss, who points to gas stations and hotels as the most problematic of merchants. "You go to a hotel and give your debit card to hold the room and they will put a hold on your account for everything they expect you to spend, including the minibar. Or when you first swipe the card in order to pump the gas, the machine doesn't know if you're filling up a Harley or a Mack Truck. These 'holds' may then take as much as a day to clear. " As long as these holds are on your account, any auto payments you have set up or checks you have written previously could easily send your account into negative territory and slap you with an overdraft fee. Thankfully, Weiss points to an easy way to avoid the problem: Use a credit card. 2. Overusing the ATM
It's important to remember that good financial behavior at home still applies when you're on the road, and in most cases it's even more important, Weiss says. "There is a lot of advice out there that people should use cards, because if you have money in your pocket, you'll spend it," Weiss says. "But when you're going to the ATM all the time you open yourself up to spending more than you intended, you put yourself at risk of fraud every time and you forget to keep records." Some banks even charge fees for making too many withdrawals in a month, and when you're out of your home area the chances are much greater that you'll occasionally have to visit unaffiliated ATMs that charge their own fees and expose users to fraud. The solution? As Weiss said earlier: Use a credit card.