Managing Money, Mail & Paying Bills When Living Life Untethered


by Adam Snyder


On December 7th, it will be three years since we put our "stuff" in storage and have been living life untethered. During that time, Pat & I have traveled across the US numerous times, and been to China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, India, Portugal, Spain, France, Croatia and Montenegro. Many people want to know what we do about money, mail and paying our bills, and here's our answer.


Paying Bills and Getting Money


LivingLifeUntethered 101: Pay your bills online. All major banks have websites which allow you to pay most bills electronically, as well as to transfer money between accounts, even between third party high interest savings accounts.

Another great option is to put regular payments – like health insurance or car loans – on automatic billing to a credit card. You may not want to do that for irregular bills. Because you’re traveling, it’s important to check credit cards and cell phone bills carefully, which, of course, can also be done online.



To receive money from your clients or anyone else for that matter, try to have them pay you electronically by setting up an account online. The most popular websites to receive (and send) money are Venmo and PayPal. Bank transfers also work well, so when you travel, keep your bank information handy – account number, routing number and swift code. We try not to have paychecks sent to our mailing address, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.


Maybe the most important piece of advice here is to get a good credit card. The website, Bankrate, rates them all for you. Some provide points to hotels, airlines, airport lounges and other perks. Others provide cash back. Also, some pick up the fee when you use an ATM card not attached to your bank. This is an especially great bonus when you're traveling outside your country and need cash. Unlike the days when you made rent or mortgage payments through your checking account, you’re going to be charging a lot of your housing – hotels and Airbnb’s, for example. So figure out what credit card works best for you.


Getting Mail


For us, the most logical thing to do was to change our mailing address to a family member's home. They go through our mail with us periodically, and then forward whatever we need. They put up with our junk mail and looking for important letters like those containing the $1 million checks. Haha! If you don’t have trusted postal angels like we do, check your country’s rules for mail holding and forwarding. The US Postal Service will only hold mail for 30 days, and forward it for just six months.


You can also pay for a mail forwarding service. They offer things like opening and scanning your mail; check depositing; and shredding. We can’t recommend any because we don’t use them, but google, “managing mail when traveling,” and you’ll find them. They’re “the virtual mailbox” services, and some are even geared for people traveling in RV’s. Prices vary, so best to research for your own needs. But be sure to check the reviews. You don't want just anyone going through your mail.

All pretty easy, right?!





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