There are so many little things we have to do before hitting the open road. And if you lived in the same home for many years — this might mean that you never transitioned to online billing and account management.
Fear not! This guide will help you think through all the accounts you’ll need to consider changing to e-billing and statements, in addition to a few tips. Let’s get started!
First, Take Inventory
Gather up every piece of mail you receive for at least a month. It’s always a good idea to start this process at least 3 months before you set sail so that you can be confident the paper mailings have stopped completely.
Now that you have your stack of mail, start dividing it up into categories: utilities, credit cards, bank statements, periodicals (newspapers, etc), junk mail, and “other”. (Pro tip: If you find you receive a lot of “junk” mail, check out our tips for reducing unwanted paper mail.)
Now, let’s tackle each category:
Next, take action!
Your plan for utilities will vary based on your plan for RV life. For example, full-timers who sold the house, are likely going to cancel service and therefore don’t need to worry too much about getting paper bills. That said, keep in mind utilities will still mail statements after the accounts are closed, so you want to be sure you receive those!
For each utility, check the paper statement for a website. For example, your electric company will likely have a website and the option to enroll in “auto-pay” or “paperless statements” or something similar. Go to the website found on your paper statement and start exploring your options. You should also be able to call them directly and ask the customer service team for help with setting up online bill pay.
Credit Cards and Bank Statements
This is a big one. You definitely don’t want bank account and credit card statements flying through the mail if you can help it. Here are some tips for transitioning to paperless billing and online account management for banks and credit cards:
- Go to your bank or credit card’s website. If you don’t know the website, it should be on the back of your debit/credit card. It should be easy to find their paperless billing and online account process from the home page.
- Remember, if you’ve never done online banking or credit statements, you might need to register for an account first.
- Consider enabling text or email notifications for specific actions. One Kamper Mail employee said they enabled text alerts for any transaction over $1 so that they would always be notified when a charge was made to their bank accounts, or credit cards.
- Make sure you update your mailing address. Even with online statements and paperless billing, you may want to update your mailing address to your chosen mail service just in case they do happen to send you something.
This one is straightforward. With online-everything, you should be able to easily transition your subscriptions to “digital only”. For example, if you’re a Washington Post subscriber, download the app to your phone and create a login. Also, make sure you update your subscription directly with the company, to ensure the paper products (magazines, newspapers) stop arriving at your home. You may even save some cash by transitioning your print subscriptions to digital!
After you take your inventory of all the mail you receive, you might find that you receive more junk mail than you ever noticed before. The ValPak, or credit card and insurance offers — it’s all “junk” mail that can be reduced or stopped completely. Check out this post about how you can take action and reduce unwanted paper mail.
This one is a bit different because you’re always going to need updated car and RV insurance, and possibly other insurance policies for all your worldly possessions. This is one instance where you are going to want to ensure you turn on paperless billing and opt into e-communications from your insurance company, but also update your account address so that your updated cards are always sent to your travel-friendly address. For example, if you are a Kamper Mail subscriber, you can update your mailing address on your account to your KM mailbox address and you’ll receive them in your forwarded mail.
Of course, everyone’s mail situation is unique. There are several other categories of mail that you’ll need to update, such as retirement savings accounts, or maybe previous employers. Check out these other posts that might be helpful for catching all the “other” situations we run into in RV life: