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Old 10-14-2017, 02:43 PM   #1
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Mail and Bills

When you are on a long trip, how do you handle your mail and bills? I've been doing more and more of the electronic pay stuff but I really don't like the fact that they have access to my checking account and they can get paid no matter how much the bill is...

I've set up a few to bill my credit card (love the points) and it's a little more convenient for me. BUT, some of them want to charge a percentage of the payment as a "convenience" factor which can mount up.

I recently saw something that enables you to have a "service" open up your mail, digitize it and send it to you as a PDF.

I've paid ahead some of the bills that do not have the ability to do anything electronically (the water bill at the house in Georgia) so i can carry a month credit.

Of course, I have the post office HOLD mail for me while away and they have a new service that gives me a picture of the front of each one of my "things" that will be in my mail box. Kinda cool. new service they just started. It's called USPS Informed Delivery.

"You subscribed to this service with USPS(R) New Products & Innovation, PO Box 23972, Washington DC 200263972."

How do you handle yours?
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:29 PM   #2
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It depends on how long we are away for. Utilities, insurance, monthly rental condo fee, as well as condo real eastate Taxes get charged directly to our checking account. I pay all the credit card bills on line, but not automatically. I schedule payment from checking account for day before due date. Ditto with home real estate taxes. For those that will bill credit card, and not charge a fee, I do that; cable bill, & Verizonwireless and get the points.

When we’re away for 2 weeks or less, I have post office hold mail & deliver when we return. When we’re in FL for 6 or 7 weeks in one place, I use USPS Premium Mail forwarding. Every Wednesday, our local P.O. puts all our mail in a Priority Mail box, and we receive it on Friday. It’s a bit pricey, registration fee each time, and a charge per week. I have friends who spend months in FL, and they just do a temporary mail forward, and get individual mail forwarded and delivered to FL, slow, stuff gets lost, but no charge.

If you are moving around a lot, or full timing, above solutions won’t work. There are several companies that will receive all your mail, options to package & ship, scan, etc. They may also provide you a legal residence address for taxes and vehicle registration. See Good Sam and KOA’s web sites. There are others too.

If you have a local UPS Store, you can get a P.O. box there, and have all mail and/or packages sent there. When you are traveling, you can have them pack everything up and ship it to you for a fee.

My goal is to move to reduce the amount of paper mail to a minimum, get electronic bills where possible. Having been the victims of credit fraud on several ocassions, I also check all credit, banking, and investment accounts daily.

The USPS Informed Delivery is pretty neat, I’ve been using it for several months. It’s glitchy and slow at times, and only scans flat mail, no magazines or packages. It’s not available everywhere yet.

Some of the full timers should be able to provide you personal experience with specific mail forwarding services.
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Old 10-14-2017, 07:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdonoghu View Post
It depends on how long we are away for. Utilities, insurance, monthly rental condo fee, as well as condo real eastate Taxes get charged directly to our checking account. I pay all the credit card bills on line, but not automatically. I schedule payment from checking account for day before due date. Ditto with home real estate taxes. For those that will bill credit card, and not charge a fee, I do that; cable bill, & Verizonwireless and get the points.

When were away for 2 weeks or less, I have post office hold mail & deliver when we return. When were in FL for 6 or 7 weeks in one place, I use USPS Premium Mail forwarding. Every Wednesday, our local P.O. puts all our mail in a Priority Mail box, and we receive it on Friday. Its a bit pricey, registration fee each time, and a charge per week. I have friends who spend months in FL, and they just do a temporary mail forward, and get individual mail forwarded and delivered to FL, slow, stuff gets lost, but no charge.

If you are moving around a lot, or full timing, above solutions wont work. There are several companies that will receive all your mail, options to package & ship, scan, etc. They may also provide you a legal residence address for taxes and vehicle registration. See Good Sam and KOAs web sites. There are others too.

If you have a local UPS Store, you can get a P.O. box there, and have all mail and/or packages sent there. When you are traveling, you can have them pack everything up and ship it to you for a fee.

My goal is to move to reduce the amount of paper mail to a minimum, get electronic bills where possible. Having been the victims of credit fraud on several ocassions, I also check all credit, banking, and investment accounts daily.

The USPS Informed Delivery is pretty neat, Ive been using it for several months. Its glitchy and slow at times, and only scans flat mail, no magazines or packages. Its not available everywhere yet.

Some of the full timers should be able to provide you personal experience with specific mail forwarding services.
I pretty much gave up on toting a laptop and now I use an iPad PRO! Bit difficult sometimes as not every website LOVES their browser. I loaded google, firefox, and a couple of others so I could at least get to them. Thinking I should make the investment in a decent laptop.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:38 PM   #4
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I do almost everything on my iPad Pro. It can also serve as a hot spot for laptops when needed. I’m an Apple guy. Have a 6 year old MacBook Air that still works great, fast, and travels on our motorcycle trips, so rugged. Only downside is low resolution screen by today’s standards. I broke down and bought a new MacBook Pro retina 13” last year. Faster, smaller, and higher resolution screen.

When we’re in FL for 7 weeks, I subscribe to high speed cable internet, as Campground has basic cable TV. Have my own cable modem, and wi-if router. Main TV has an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV (better than Apple TV), plus a Tivo DVR for HD over the air recording. Also have an Amazon Tap connected. We can stream movies, music, etc. Just as connected as being home.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pdonoghu View Post
I do almost everything on my iPad Pro. It can also serve as a hot spot for laptops when needed. Im an Apple guy. Have a 6 year old MacBook Air that still works great, fast, and travels on our motorcycle trips, so rugged. Only downside is low resolution screen by todays standards. I broke down and bought a new MacBook Pro retina 13 last year. Faster, smaller, and higher resolution screen.

When were in FL for 7 weeks, I subscribe to high speed cable internet, as Campground has basic cable TV. Have my own cable modem, and wi-if router. Main TV has an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV (better than Apple TV), plus a Tivo DVR for HD over the air recording. Also have an Amazon Tap connected. We can stream movies, music, etc. Just as connected as being home.
I'd like to hear some of the details about your getting cable internet! IF Direct TV would work in High Def with the portable antennae, I would do that for TV... BUT, they are changing their signals and the standard DEF signal is going away in the near future. The only way I can get DTV is with one of their 18" dishes or spring for the mounted system on the RV itself (big bucks).
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:44 PM   #6
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Cable internet is only going to work if the Campground gets its TV feed from the local cable company. Some use satellite providers, that won’t work. The wiring has to be up to snuf to get a decent internet signal. Where we are in FL, Comcast provides basic analog cable to the Campground. I found that if I call, and tell them my “homeowners association” provides bulk cable, they let me open an account, and add internet service. I avoid mentioning Campground, as that seems to confuse the call center reps. It’s only going to make sense if you are in the same spot for an extended time. I could go to one of Comcast’s customer centers and pickup a cable modem, but would pay a rental fee, and have to return it when we leave. I checked which cable modems they support, and bought one. Added an Apple AirPort Extreme router, & plugged in a 4 TB hard drive for file storage and computer backups. The setup is always in the RV, on a UPS, so I power up the UPS when we’re in FL. As we’re here twice a year, and stay for 6 or 7 weeks, it works for us. I get Comcast’s Xfinity Blast Service, consistent 80 MPS downloads, and 12 MPS upload speeds. I could get more, or less bandwidth, but have found that’s plenty. We’re able to securely access the internet with 2 iPhones, 2 iPads, 2 Macs, 2 Apple TVs, an Amazon Echo Dot, an Amazon Fire TV, Ooma IP phone, Tivo DVR, and a Samsung smart TV. We’re probably not your typical RVers. I have an extensive tech background, so it’s pretty straight forward to me.

I used to work out of the RV, turning the garage into my office. I had an internet phone from my company, so my extension rang in the trailer, one would never know I as not at my desk in NJ. Now we have an Ooma internet phone that I move from home to the RV. Call the home number, it rings in the RV.

I would not use Campground or public wi-if for anything that requires security like online banking, bill payments, etc. I use my own network if we have one, or cellular.
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