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|| News Item: Posted 1999-04-08

Travel Tips: Pay Your Bills from the Road
By Captain Ron

Seven weeks on the road, 7 weeks away from home, 7 weeks away from the office (hey maybe this isn't so bad after all). When you hit the road for this amount of time, the little things tend to pile up while you're gone and will BURY your ass when you get back.

Paying bills comes to mind.

How do you know how much to pay when you're not home to get the bill in the first place? If you have a significant other you could saddle them with this burdensome chore (if you're a real sport shooter though, you're on the road so much there's no chance you could have real caring, loving and meaningful relationship, so this is not really an option).

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How about having your mail forwarded to wherever the hell you are. Not a bad idea, IF you have an office or mail box service where ALL of your mail is sent to. Then about once a week you have them put ALL your accumulated mail (even the junk mail, don't want to miss that Victoria's secret catalog) into a FEDX box and have it shipped to you overnight.

Swell, now you get to sit down and pull out your checkbook and write checks, address envelopes and lick stamps. (maybe there's a better way?)

Yep, there is a better way.

Pay your bills with a charge card.

Your rent or mortgage payments, hospital bills, dentist bills, vet bills, car payments, car insurance, AAA membership, cable TV, titheing payments to the Mormon Church, Water, gas and electricity, phone bills, pager bills, can all be paid AUTOMATICALY with a charge card!

Just check the back of the bill you want to pay for the billing office address or call the 800 number listed on the bill for questions and tell them that you want to sign up for an automatic payment plan. Depending on the company, there are usually a couple of payment options.

1. Automatic payment, the full amount is charged to your card. You don't lift a finger, you don't risk a paper cut, you don't have to pick the lint off the back of the self adhesive stamps, You still get a bill but it's just a courtesy statement to let you know you've been billed.

2. Interactive payment, you call the billing office and give them your account number and authorize a dollar amount to be charged to your card. Really great if you've got some cash flow problems.

No muss or fuss, everything you normally would write a check for is charged to your VISA and then you only have one check to write a month and that's to pay the VISA bill. Hell there's even a way around that. You call VISA and request a telephone transfer payment from your checking account to VISA, the operator will ask you for your checking account number and the banks ADA number (both which can be found on the front of your check) then the operator will ask you how much you want to pay on the account and VOILA! You're done.

WAIT! It gets better, did I mention that I get frequent flier mileage for all these charges? That's right I charge everything to an Airline affinity card and for every dollar I charge, I get a mile. Over the course of a year this translates into 2 FREE tickets (or more importantly, FIRST CLASS upgrades)!

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Should you get the regular pedestrian silver card or go for the hip trendy, yuppie scum sucking, status screaming GOLD card? Gee, they sent me a GOLD card application, I must deserve it (don't flatter yourself, anybody with a pulse gets sent a pre approved application)?

SILVER or "classic" card usually has a credit limit of 5k and an annual fee of $60.00

GOLD cards carry higher limits up to $50,000 (when the hell would you ever run a card up that high?) with get this, an annual fee of $100.00 For the extra $40.00 you get 2 year extended purchase protection, and a lower deductible on your rental car insurance (in 12 years, I've never had to use either of these faux benefits).

Both cards allow you to earn up to 50k miles per year, so there's no advantage to GOLD there.

As my evil twin Bert likes to say "it ain't rocket science" save yourself some dough, get the "Classic" card.

By the way, you should ALWAYS pay off your charge card in FULL, every month! At 17.9% interest, these charge card companies are not your friends. It might hurt a little bit or even be difficult, but in the long run you save money BIG time by steering clear of finance charges.

Look at it another way. You've been watching the meteoric rise in stock market, double digit returns on investments, everybody is making money. Well by paying off your VISA bill every month, it's like getting a 17.9% return!

Ok, so now we've taken care of paying bills while on the road. How about me getting paid while on the road?

Direct Deposit.

Your paycheck is transferred directly into your checking account. You still get a pay stub from your employer to confirm the EFT and it shows up in your monthly checking statement as well.

I can't think of any employer that doesn't offer this benefit. Why would you waste time standing in a line at the bank to deposit your paycheck? If you're not signed up for it, sign up NOW!

Be sure to check to see if your EXPENSE checks can be direct deposited as well.

My step sister with a funny accent, who works for a HUMONGOS sports agency was having a paperwork fit, having her roommate FEDXING her mail to her and then sitting down with the checkbook, filling out deposit slips then endorsing the backs of the checks and then FEDXING them back to her roommate, so she could stand in line at the bank to deposit the checks (that's true love).

(Capt. Ron spans the globe seeking out new adventures and toys to amuse himself with.)

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