Moving to another country to start a new life abroad is a huge step. Thousands of new expats begin again every day. The experience is different for everyone, however, some issues are universal.
The planning stages of such a move is one of them. Whether you’re relocating with the entire family for what could be years or embarking on a solo effort, there will be various steps you will need to take before you leave.
Your mailing address for instance. Chances are you will still need to have access to your U.S mail while you live abroad. Not everything can be redirected.
Keeping a U.S address is beneficial for expats for a number of reasons. From keeping your bank account to important documentation for voting and taxes, having the means to still receive and manage your U.S based correspondence is important.
Regular readers will know where we are heading with this – a virtual mailbox will solve all of these issues and more.
However, today we will look at the steps you should take to reduce your mail alongside signing up for a mailbox service.
If you are about to become an expat, these actionable tips will help ensure that only important mail reaches your mailbox service.
- Related Content: Mail Forwarding Services: Ultimate Guide 2022
5 Steps to Reducing Your Mail Before Moving Abroad
1. Redirect what you can
Most mailbox services construct their plans around a quota system. The less you pay, the fewer items you can receive each month. The number of scans available is also connected to the amount you pay.
This means that to make the service cost-effective, you should go through your various contacts and where it is possible to have mail sent to your new address abroad.
Ensure that family and friends are aware of your new address, (a quick Facebook post can take care of that one).
Any services that you use (however infrequently) that require an address as part of your account, change to your new address.
You should also ensure that the email address they have for you is current and correct.
A lot of the time you can request that your preferred method of contact is email. Thus reducing the chance of any unwanted mail.
2. Go paperless
Another way of reducing mail sent to your mailbox service is to opt for things such as paperless statements and bills. Banks, utilities, some government services offer this now.
You can still choose between using your virtual U.S address and where possible your address abroad as the main contact location, however, with paperless correspondence you will receive your bills and statements via email instead.
Not only that, but you are doing your bit to help protect the planet. Paperless correspondence is far greener as well as more convenient.
You do of course have to ensure that you check your mails regularly so as not to miss anything.
You should also “white list” such emails so that there is no chance of them going to your junk mail.
The end result will be less strain on your mailbox quota each month.
3. Remove yourself from mailing lists
We appreciate that there is a lot to take care of if you are about to move to another country.
However, with the right planning and preparation, you will have enough time to go through the various newsletters, etc that you are signed up to and remove yourself from the mailing list.
That free newsletter you subscribed to 7 years ago and still arrives quarterly without being read. Now’s the time to contact the publisher and stop it from being sent.
We all have examples of this when you think about it.
Whether it is being signed up to the events of a local restaurant, or still receiving updates from the college you graduated from in 2010, by taking the time to log in and cancel these, you will reduce the incoming mail to your mailbox provider.
4. Cancel subscriptions and other unneeded services
Mailbox mail quotas aside, this should be a priority anyway. What is the point in paying for subscriptions and services that you will not be able to use abroad?
You’ll often be throwing money down the drain if you do not cancel these.
Magazines and other services that send items through the post to your home address should all be canceled as part of the process of moving overseas.
For example, it is not cost-effective to have a magazine sent to your virtual address and then forwarded to you.
Take time to ensure that any services you can not benefit from while abroad, have been canceled before you leave.
5. Know your quotas and features of the mailbox services
Finally, make sure that you are aware of the various quotas of the virtual mailbox service you use.
Some may seem like a bargain until you realize that your plan is not adequate enough to meet your needs. The price of going over your quota various considerably between providers.
Also, check the features of the service. Most will automatically filter for junk mail, removing and recycling such items without them being scanned into your account.
You make also be able to do this for other types of mail that you receive so that upon receipt it does not eat into your allocated amounts.
Essentially, by making sure that the service and plan you signup for is best suited to the amount of mail you receive, you will be winning.
Clearly, there are many benefits to a virtual mailbox service for expats. However, to get the most out of it and make it more cost-effective, you should minimize your incoming mail before you leave on your travels.
To find out more about the best mailbox services currently available, head here.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂