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How do you manage bills/water when you are out of town for a month or more?

How do you manage bills/water when you are out of town for a month or more?

Mar 14th, 2012, 05:25 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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yestravel - as far as the system cost, I really do not know. It does not seem to be a difficult installation and I imagine what plumbers charge in your part of the country will determine that. Around here it is $100 just to show up.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Mar 15th, 2012, 06:15 AM
  #22  
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Stu, they broke your cat??

HappyTrvlr, that sounds like what my friends had. Worked great for them.

You know what, I'm going to stay home!
TDudette is online now  
Mar 15th, 2012, 07:46 AM
  #23  
 
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>>Stu, they broke your cat??<<

Yep - cat stopped eating. Had a respitory problem plus couldn't poop. Lost 1/3 of his body weight. Our housekeepers didn't take him to the vet. After we got home I spent the next 3 days shuttling him from the daytime vet to the nightime vet so he could be monitored & IVs maintained. Didn't think he would survive - but he did. That was when we fired the housekeepers.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 15th, 2012, 09:35 AM
  #24  
 
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I've been thinking about this issue, too. I tend to use Amex as much as possible when overseas. (I'm surprised at how many hotels and shops do take this card in Italy and Spain..)

So how to pay that (possibly substantial) bill every month if one is on, for example, a 3-month overseas stay?

I'm assuming that one can pay this by US check at an Amex branch in an overseas city (??)

But what about smaller cities that may not have a dedicated Amex office, but do have an Amex rep at a travel agency. Can one pay bills there? For those using Amex, how do you work this?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 09:50 AM
  #25  
 
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I now pay my credit card bills online, directly from one or other of my checking accounts. Does Amex not allow that? Of course, I suppose that violates "no online banking".

Before I switched to this method I left signed checks with the friend fielding my mail. She was a trusted friend...
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 10:04 AM
  #26  
 
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A very low tech solution (and the simplest)is to just prepay what you estimate the bills will be plus a $100 or so safety. All utilities allow you to overpay and to have a "credit" balance for your account.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 10:53 AM
  #27  
 
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@bardo1 - that's fine if you're only gone for a month or maybe two, but not for longer trips.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 11:13 AM
  #28  
 
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Auto Pay. Set it up once by sending a voided check along with a filled out form (ask for it from utility company). It can take a month or two to set up. From then on it will be automatically taken out of your checking account every month. We have it for utilities and when we had a mortgage did it for that also.
onetwo is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 12:41 PM
  #29  
 
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I prepay as many bills as possible usually utilities,cable,maintenance on co-op .For the bills that I do not prepay, I check the balance due on line and then email info to a very trusted nephew . I leave several presigned checks for him to fill in and mail in the preaddressed envelopes that I also leave.
For trips overseas my post office holds my mail for as long as I am gone.and then delivers it to me when I return from my trips.They have held it for as long as 45 days.When my trips are in the USA they forward all mail to me once a week to the address tha I have given them.
In the winter I completely winterize my home by turning off all water etc.



.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 01:40 PM
  #30  
 
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All of my bills (including credit cards) are simply withdrawn from my checking account or put on my credit card automatically each month. It's easy to setup online, BUT most (or all) of those can also be setup over the phone/by mail/in person.

My family live very close so it's easy for someone to stop by every couple of days to pick up the mail and drop it off in the house. That means that someone is in the house every few days to make sure nothing looks out of whack.

I've never turned the water off at my house, but I only travel for 2-3 weeks at a time and someone is in the house every couple of days to drop off mail. Leave the heat on at a decent temperature (45 is NOT enough of a buffer incase the power is out overnight) and the pipes should be fine. When I travel in winter I generally turn the heat down to about 55-60 and open the doors under my sinks so those pipes get more airflow. I generally check over the pipes that I can find and make sure that nothing looks stressed or leaky before I go. If I had any concerns that a pipe looked weakened/stressed or was leaky in the least then I'd call a plumber and definitely turn the water off before I left.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 01:46 PM
  #31  
 
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like onetwo, every credit card bill, homeowners insurance, medical insurance premium, newspaper, phone, electricity, gas, water, gym membership, ISP, etc is paid automatically - drawn against our Morgan Stanley brokerage account. About the only necessary payment that isn't automatic is our gardner, twice yearly property tax, and quarterly payment of estimated income tax. We pay our gardner in advance & the taxes in advance if we plan to be gone when they are due. We frequently are gone for 6 weeks, return home for 6 weeks, then gone again for 4 weeks. This has been going on for 14 years and so far no problems - except for the cat.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 15th, 2012, 01:54 PM
  #32  
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ekscrunchy, another interesting suggestion. Thanks!
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Mar 15th, 2012, 02:41 PM
  #33  
TC
 
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IowaRedHead; We were on holiday in Mexico a few of years ago. We go for a month at a time. While sitting on the beach a woman told the story of how a small water valve under her powder room sink had failed during a week-end trip. In the two days they were gone, her entire finished basement filled with water nearly to the ceiling! It was a major disaster. I kept thinking and thinking about her story -- we had never shut off our water supply. I finally sent an email to my neighbor and asked her to go to our house and shut down the main water supply. Which she did. Returning home, I turned the main supply back on and about 5 minutes later we noticed water dripping from the ceiling in our finished basement. Turns out that we had a pin hole in one of the pipes -- a water circulating pipe, I might add. If we hadn't had the neighbor turn our water off, our house would have floated away in the month we were gone. I still thank that stranger on the beach for making me parinoid enough to take precautions. We never leave home without shutting down the water main now.
TC is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 05:45 PM
  #34  
 
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>>We were on holiday in Mexico <<

You sound like you might be from the UK

>>We never leave home without shutting down the water main now.<<

That wouldn't work here in California. Lawns, flowers, trees would wither & die without water 2 times a week in the summer months.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 15th, 2012, 08:14 PM
  #35  
 
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For bills that are fixed amounts, we leave envelopes with a posit on them as when they should be mailed.

The real issue is credit cards which you need while traveling. You should not only pay your bill in full but as someone mention add some extra. That way you cover the minimum bill for the next month.

We are lucky, one SIL loves to stay at our apartment in Manhattan when we are gone and takes care of everything.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 08:21 PM
  #36  
 
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"That wouldn't work here in California. Lawns, flowers, trees would wither & die without water 2 times a week in the summer months."

I live in North Carolina and much of mine (not trees) did die in the drought a few years back. Now I have drought-tolerant plantings. I've always let my lawn die off in the summer - grass wasn't intended to grow in this climate and I'm certainly not going to water it twice a week, here or not.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 03:11 AM
  #37  
 
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We've been talking about similar issues as we have a month long trip coming up. Utility bills we can - I think - prepay which will cover the period we're away. We've never considered turning off the water but after reading this maybe it's a good idea.

The post office here in Australia will hold our mail (no limit on how long) but our biggest problem is what to do about the junk mail and local papers which come twice a week, thrown on to the front lawn whether you want them or not. We will ask a neighbour or friend to collect I suppose.

If my husband mows the lawns just before we go it should last until we get back and not look too jungle like.

There are companies I have seen advertised in caravan magazines who will forward your mail anywhere you go. This is ideal for the many 'grey nomads' who caravan their way around Australia, for months or years at a time.

Kay
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Mar 16th, 2012, 07:47 AM
  #38  
TC
 
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Stu....I live in beautiful Minnesota and we are away in the dead of winter, so no, the lawn isn't an issue. However, I would rather have dead landscaping than a flooded home.

The poor woman I mention above, had to have all the walls in her lower level removed and rebuilt after the water damage. In addition, her nasty home insurance company was sticky about the fact that the house was "left empty without sufficient care". (For a weekend! Really!) They balked at paying her claim. She finally won out, but it was a hassle. You know insurance companies, they will look for any way to keep from paying a claim.

Might you consider a way to keep the lawn water active, while shutting down the interior water?
TC is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 11:27 AM
  #39  
 
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Why not just use online banking, It is so easy . All my bills come in online and I pay online. We don't have a mailbox rather a slot in the front door. It is big enough to accomodate small packages. sINCE ALL THE bills come online the mail is mostly charity requests and magazines and JUNK!! We have 2 seperate water meters for house and lawn sprinklers. We have a very convenient outside shutoff valve for the inside water supply.I do turn the hot water heater off and unplug the garage door opener. We do turn off the pool pump as it is inclined to burn out if the basskets are full and it isn't getting water thru it. It only takes a great dose of chlorine when we get home to clear the water again in less than a day.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 02:13 PM
  #40  
 
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We always over pay our bills. Credit rating is a+ . To some this is odd, but my hubby was self employed and never knew what our income would be so we got in the habit of overpaying should there be a dry spell. Not for all, but our mortgage was paid when we retired early.
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