Make managing and protecting your finances while away from home much easier by following our helpful tips and advice, and avoid any nasty surprises when you return home.
Managing your finances
• Plan your vacation. Proper vacation planning can prevent unpleasant surprises when your credit card bills start arriving. Travel and reservation websites make planning easy, so use a multi-company website that allow you to check out fares and reviews of different flight, hotel, and transportation options to find the best option at the lowest cost. Company-specific websites can also prove useful.
• Arrange to have your bills sent electronically. Not only will this step allow you access to your bills while you are away, it will protect sensitive billing information.
• Set up Internet banking. Contact your bank about setting up Internet access to your bank account. It is not only a time saver, but it also allows you to access your account remotely. You can pay your bills and review your account transaction history. Many banks also support electronic and automatic bill payment.
• Use smartphone finance applications. Many banks now offer smartphone applications that run on Apple and Android devices. These applications can receive alerts regarding account activity, initiate payments, and provide real-time access to your account. Mobile apps will give you financial peace of mind with many offering a real-time review of all your accounts in a single application. You can see current account balances, how money is spent, investment performance, and other useful information.
One caution if you are traveling internationally. Check with your cell phone company on the cost of data in the foreign countries on your itinerary. International data charges can be very expensive if they are not included in your plan!
• Use credit cards rewards and services. Many credit cards include automobile rental insurance coverage when paid for with their card. In addition, many personal automobile insurance policies include rental car coverage. In addition to rental car coverage, they may also provide trip interruption insurance. Moreover, all your travel may earn points redeemable for additional travel services or other prizes.
• Invest in your Individual Savings Account (ISA). Take full advantage of making periodic investments in your ISA. Set up automatic investments to ensure that your savings program will continue regardless of your travel plans. And be aware that ISA allowances run from tax year to tax year so you will need to ensure you have reached your cash isa limit for the year by early April.
Protecting your finances
• Use cash for some transactions. Use cash for smaller transactions or in cases where credit cards are not accepted. Using your credit card less often protects it from theft.
• Notify your credit card company of your travel plans. If the credit card company knows when and where you are traveling, they will not lock the account if they start seeing transactions from unusual locations.
• Ask the post office to hold your mail. Check with your local post office, but mail piling up is a sign the home is empty. If the local post office does not offer the service, ask a friend to pick up your mail and check on the house.
• Verify alarm company information. If you use an alarm company, make sure all your information is up to date.