Paying your bills while traveling can be a real headache for folks who don't plan ahead.
For Extended Timers, the big hassle is knowing how to pay the recurring bills for electric, water, sewer, telephone, etc. at the home base. Getting your bills forwarded to you in enough time to pay them without incurring a late fee penalty is often difficult.
Here are a couple of suggestions that we find works well for us.
The old-fashioned way of using checks, stamps, and envelopes still works very well—but many of us retired old folks who love to travel in our RVs have gotten used to a slower pace of life, less stress, and we have developed a lazy streak when it comes to the hassle of paying our monthly bills. With the cost of pre-printed checks and postage stamps going up much too frequently, paying bills the old-fashioned way is not cost-effective, especially if you are on a fixed income.
The better way to pay for recurring bills is to use an On-Line Bill Paying service, which most major banks have now instituted for their customers. Most banks are now providing this service as a "freebie" to keep you as a customer. If your bank still charges you for on-line bill paying, it is time to switch to a more "with it" institution.
How does On-Line Bill Pay work, you are probably asking. First, you need either a Checking account or a Savings account at a bank that offers free On-Line Bill Paying. Then, of course, you need a means of getting on the Internet (which most RVers seem to have these days).
The most tedious part of this process is entering all of the company names, addresses, telephone numbers, along with all your pertinent account information—for each different company that expects a payment from you. Once this task is done, the rest is easy.
For recurring monthly npayments, such as mortgage payments and vehicle payments, you can set them up as recurring payments, and these bills are automatically paid each month on the day that you have specified—without any action on your part.
For other bills, you specify how much is to be paid and when it is to be paid, and the bank handles all the rest of the bill paying hassle. They write a check and mail it or make an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) to your creditors. If you plan ahead, you only need to get on the Internet once a month or thereabouts. (If we are going to be on the road for a couple of months, we set up all of our payments before we leave, so that we don't have to worry about remembering to get on the Internet each month.)
The only pitfall to watch out for is to keep enough money in the account that you use for On-Line Bill Paying!
For many of us, On-Line Bill paying is a wonderful convenience and also saves us some money (gee, maybe enough to buy an ice cream cone or two).
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