One of the most important tasks you will need to do as a travel nurse is decide on a way to manage your mail from the post office. Even in the digital world we live in today, it is nearly impossible to completely avoid physical mail. There are several options that vary in cost and convenience. We did a lot of research online to find the best option for ourselves and would like to share that with you and how we came to that decision.
First I want to start with the most common options:
- Have a friend or family manage and forward your mail
- Request a change of address with the post office every time you move
- Sign up for a mail forwarding service
If saving money is your number one priority, the first two options are your best bet. However, there are some major drawbacks to those options. Having your mail forwarded to someone you trust to handle it or having them collect it from a residence you have kept is asking a lot. Your family or friend may be willing to do it, but they also may be getting themselves into more than they bargained for. You are not only asking them to “collect” your mail, but also manage it. This includes sorting, storing, and forwarding. We personally would not want to be responsible for someone else’s mail and decided we didn’t want to put that responsibility on anyone else for ours.
The other money saving option is to simply request a change of address with the post office every time you change assignments. It only cost $1 to do online and with a few clicks, you’re good to go…..sort of. A change of address is only valid for six months. You can extend it but only for another six months. If something is sent to that address after that time, it will be returned to the sender. It could turn into a nightmare in a very short amount of time if you forgot to do it for an address.
The last option is the most expensive, but also the most comprehensive. Mail forwarding services offer a very practical solution for a relatively small fee when you consider the alternatives. There are many companies out there but I am only going to discuss the one we chose: Mailbox Forwarding.
Your first choice is to decide on one of three plans: basic, professional and premium. We went with the basic plan for $14.95/month. This plan includes:
- Allowance of 40 mail items per month; 25 cents each additional
- Allowance of 10 items scanned per month; $1 each additional
- Free shredding and recycling
Let me explain how all of this works. You are allowed to receive up to 40 mail envelopes per month. That may not seem like much, but we have NEVER come even close to going over that. If you think about what you receive in the mail, 90% of it is either junk, utility bills, or bank and credit card statements. Mailbox Forwarding automatically shreds junk mail and does not count that toward your 40 per month limit. You will not have any utility bills as those are all paid for by your travel agency. You can sign up for electronic statements via email for any credit cards and bank accounts. There really isn’t much left that won’t fall into one of those categories. What is left is usually very important: tax documents, nursing licenses, government documents, etc.
Now for the exciting part. Mailbox Forwarding lets you view your mail online. This was the deciding factor for us as this was not an option with any other company when we signed up. With the basic account, you get ten free scans per month. That may not seem like a lot either but I’ll tell you why it’s also more than enough. When you log into your account, the front of every piece of mail you receive is automatically scanned. Most of the time you can tell by the front of the envelope what is likely inside. Most of the time it’s something you don’t need or don’t need right away. On the rare occasions you can’t tell what it is or if you need to know what it is and need access to it immediately, click to have it scanned and everything inside the envelope will be available for viewing the next day.
I have given a very brief overview of how Mailbox Forwarding works and the features available. For more information and to get started, check out the Mailbox Forwarding website. If you sign up for an account using any of the links on this page, you will be helping support TravelNurseHelp. Stasha and I have made the decision to promote only products and services that we use and truly believe in. It helps us sleep at night but we understand there are many options out there that may be just as good or better. If you have any experience with Mailbox Forwarding or know of other great options, please share in the comments below.
* All mail forwarding services require that you sign form 1583 and have it notarized before they can begin forwarding your mail. You will have the option to download this form when signing up for an account with Mailbox Forwarding and you can have it notarized at your local bank.