Logging into your bank account and finding a negative balance is one of the most agonizing experiences. Was it the eight-dollar morning sandwich that made you lose it? Or perhaps you wrote a check and neglected to account for it; it has just been cashed. Whatever the cause, you now have to pay additional costs for overdrafts.

Here’s everything you need to know to stop paying overdraft fees and avoiding overdrafts forever.

What is An Overdraft?

When your bank processes a transaction but you don’t have enough funds in your account to cover it, you have an overdraft. For instance, if you had $50 in your checking account and used your debit card to make a $60 purchase, you would incur a $10 overdraft.

If your bank decides to make the payment for you even though there isn’t enough money in your account, the transaction may still go through when you have an overdraft. Until you deposit enough money to pay the overdraft, you will have a negative account balance. Additionally, overdrafts incur costs even if it might not seem like a huge concern.

5 Ways to Prevent Overdraft Fees

Keep Track of Your Bank Accounts

The simplest method to prevent overdrawing your account is to be aware of what you can afford. Make it a routine to periodically check your balance to see where you stand. If you neglect to make a bill payment or other transaction, you don’t want to be caught off guard. You may also configure low-balance notifications to notify you when the balance in your account drops below a specific level. You can spend money more wisely if you always know how much you have available.

Setup Alerts

You can set up alerts in online banking that notify you when your balance reaches a certain threshold to prevent allowing it get so low that an overdraft is feasible. For instance, if your balance falls below $50, you can get an email or text. Then, you can add money to your account to prevent overdrafts.

Enroll in Overdraft Protection

You can choose to enroll in overdraft protection if you would prefer not take the chance of having your transactions denied. In order to cover any overdrafts and avoid paying an overdraft fee, you must link your checking account to another account. The money will then be withdrawn from your backup account in the event of an overdraft transaction rather than debiting your checking account.

Put Money Aside for Emergencies

You will need to find another way to add money to your account if you incur unforeseen costs but don’t have enough on hand to pay for them. It is advisable to have some money set aside to meet the costs. Sometimes, but not always, it could be more affordable to take out a short-term loan than to pay several overdraft fees. Consider applying for no denial payday or installment loan if you determine after doing some research that you would save money by avoiding several overdraft fees. Try to save aside some money each pay period in case you have unanticipated expenses, to avoid overdraft penalties, and to avoid taking out loans.

Use Direct Deposit

Paychecks should be deposited directly into your account so that you can access your funds right away.