There has never been a better time to hit the open road and experience location freedom to its fullest. Most of the components of your life and work can be automated to run behind the scenes.
You probably already practice many of these things. The task is to find ways to automate more.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can free yourself from the mundane tasks that create big time sucks.
Empty the Mailbox – physical and digital
The easiest way to manage this is to take inventory of what mail currently gets to your physical mailbox over a 30 day period. Your goal is to get no mail delivered unless it is necessary. Remember, when you are out on the road you must have someone gather the mail and send to you. Every piece counts.
Things like mail in voter ballots, new bank cards, and the occasional birthday card, will still be welcome. But many things can go away and save a few resources along the way.
- Contact all companies that send paper statements and ask to go paperless. All that information is online anyway. Set up your online accounts so you can check remotely. Use a secure program like LastPass to safely store all your passwords. This eliminates the stress of remembering all your login information and keeps you safe.
- If you somehow still receive catalogues, you need to contact them to make them stop.
- Most magazines are available digitally. In some cases, the online versions are more robust or have additional benefits. National Geographic, for example, has several options to consume their information via email and social channels.
- If you are one of the few that still receives a newspaper, you can subscribe to their online version. Sometimes you want to keep up with local news from several towns you have called home. Many allow you to see a few articles without registration. Larger newspapers like the New York Times have fully embraced the online opportunity by allowing you to select main interest topics and receive periodic emails with more detailed stories.
Who wants to sift through a hundred emails a day while you are getting ready to hit the trail? This also requires monitoring for 30 days.
I give a newsletter about 30 days to decide if I am really going to read it. If it sits in the inbox that long I probably am not. I do keep a folder in my bookmarks with links to favorite sites that I can refer to when the mood strikes.
You may also want to set the notifications from your bank, credit cards, and other institutions. I don’t need to know that my bank statement is available, or bill is ready because I am in my accounts on a regular basis.
Sale ads from stores is something that is obviously not necessary. Remember, you have limited space in your RV and don’t need to be bombarded with holiday sale ads or weekly grocery store sales.
Sidenote: We have a Kroger club card because they are across the US under various names (Fred Meyer, City Market, Smith’s and many more). This allows us to rack up fuel points wherever we are.
Lifelong learning is important, but when you sign up for a program, be sure to set your notifications for frequency and types of emails or you may get them all.
Your task is to monitor all your mailboxes for 30 days and eliminate things you do not need and automate the rest. This takes a bit of time on your part but well worth it. I have gone from 100+ emails a day to 10.
Much of the work we do is for small businesses. Some have the policy to pay by check instead of credit card. If you remember in the Mail article, we used to receive our checks via mail and had to have them sent to us. The problem was that our bank was not in every state. Even now, there is no bank that is in all 50 states.
More than once we found ourselves in cities with no branch and had to drive over an hour to deposit checks. They did offer the option of depositing using our phone camera, but there was a limit and sometimes our daily limit exceeded that amount. Then there was a three day delay for the money to show up.
It seems that most major institutions are finally catching up to our lifestyle. You may be able to continue to use a local credit union if they have a robust online banking system.
For peace of mind I set up an online payment system with QuickBooks to handle those clients being invoiced. I also have a PayPal business account for other transactions and a Stripe account and card reader if we are having an event.
All our bills are paid online. You can also use bill pay within your online banking system, but I prefer to have auto payments on things like car loans, car insurance, and cell phones where they give a discount when you set up auto pay.
Services like Netflix or online SaaS programs are all automatic payments. When possible, I will pay for a year at a time if they give discounts which also reduces my bookkeeping.
I prefer to pay my credit cards by logging in to their websites to make sure they receive the payment that day.
Sidenote: Some RV Parks and propane companies require you to pay by check. Just recently I had to go to my bank and get some counter checks because I just don’t have a need for them any longer. Be sure to have a few on hand.
Your task is to consider how you will use your bank while traveling. Can you do everything online? In what states are they located? Do they have limits?
After 30 days you will find you have more time, less stress, and saved a lot of trees.