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Paying the bills at home while traveling

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Apr 21st, 2009, 06:20 PM
  #1
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Paying the bills at home while traveling

How do you pay your home utility bills when on an extended trip ? We are planning to be gone for about 5 or 6 weeks beginning in June so when I pay the May utility bills, I will send double payment. I suppose most of you have it automatically deducted from their bank but we've never done that. I'm interested in learning what others do.
hokeypokey is offline  
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Apr 21st, 2009, 09:08 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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We just pre-pay anything that isn't an automatic payment. Our credit card allows us to set up payments in advance, so we do that too.
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Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:37 AM
  #3
 
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We have arranged with our city (which is also the utilities provider) to have our bills automatically deducted from our checking account. We do this with some other payments we know we'll have to pay, e.g., car insurance.

What are you planning to do with your mail while you're away? If a trusted friend is collecting your mail, you could also give that friend a check made out to the utility company and sign the check, and then let the friend fill in the amount when he/she receives the bill. Or you could take your checkbook with you, have the friend call you and tell you the amount due, and just mail in a check from wherever you are.
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Apr 22nd, 2009, 09:23 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: May 2008
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I take my laptop, if traveling within the U.S., and receive/pay all my bills on-line. That way I can pay on the due date, and not use automatic withdrawals.
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Apr 22nd, 2009, 12:59 PM
  #5
 
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I don't use automatic withdrawals, but I do pay my bills on line. When I'm going to be gone, I just enter the payments before I go, but put in the appropriate dates as to when I want the bills paid.
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Apr 22nd, 2009, 01:28 PM
  #6
 
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We pay at least double the month before we go. The nice thing is we are usually over paying so we have some credit for the bills that come in after we get home. We have done this with success for a 12 week trip.
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Apr 23rd, 2009, 08:24 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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As others have replied, I have set-up my checking account with automatic bill pay for the companies that I pay regularly (phone, gas, etc. etc.)..... there is an area on the bill pay site that allows you to customize the amount you wish to pay and the date on which you want the payment sent and if you want to be notified when.. (1) you have NOT received a bill from a company ... and (2) when a bill has been paid. If you have any questions, call your bank for clarification. My bank does not charge any fees. I have been doing automatic bill pay for over a year without any problems at all, so I am confident that my bills will be paid when I take my next VERY LONG trip!

Good luck!
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Apr 23rd, 2009, 02:11 PM
  #8
 
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I have automatic bank draft set up for as many bills as possible - utilities, cable, telephone, insurance (my mortgage is paid off, but used to be on bank draft). If I'm only going for one or two months I send a double or triple payment to my lawn care service. I leave pre-written and signed checks (except, obviously, for the amount) for my credit card bills with the friend fielding my mail. I am considering putting the credit card payments on automatic before my next long trip, as the penalties for late payment have gotten so bad (and Citibank is mailing my statements later and later! Sneaky!). My longest trip to date was 10 months, and everything worked out.
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Apr 23rd, 2009, 06:34 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I also use online billing. The only things I have set up as automatic pay are those that are exactly the same amount every month, for the rest, I normally go online each month and make the payment for the amount required.

If I'm going to be gone during the time frame my bills come in, I simply go online and set up the payments before I leave for estimated amounts. I have a pretty good idea of what the amounts will be, most vary less than $20 each time.

If I'm short a touch, it's not usually a big deal (the electricity isn't going to be shut off because I estimated $53 instead of $60) and I just pay the difference upon my return.

For the credit cards, I pretty much know how much I need to pay, so I just pay it. If I'm not certain, I pay a bit more than I estimated and let it go towards the next month's payment due. Sometimes, I'll even pay enough to cover my car rental expenses on the card before I leave - that way I don't have to worry about it when I get back.
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Apr 24th, 2009, 10:02 AM
  #10
 
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I use online bill paying with my bank. Most banks allow you to set a date when the payments will go out. You can estimate your bills and when they are due and have payments sent automatically while you are on the road. Your bank will also estimate the arrival date on your bills (faster than sending by mail).
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