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3 Ways To Save Money On Your Phone Bill

The world of communication is rapidly changing before our eyes.  We are in the midst of what is being called convergence, (the merging of technology and media).  Before long the computer, TV, phone, and Internet will all be merged into one appliance.  During the last two years, the cell phone has become not just a means of making phone calls, but also a very common method of surfing the Internet, using e Mail, watching TV, and listening to music on demand.  All of this in the palm of your hand!  Dick Tracy would be jealous of what we have.  Today, However, I want to address some simple steps that anyone can take to cut their monthly home phone and wireless phone costs.

1.  Cash In On The New Wireless Flat Rate Plans

In recent days there has been a widely publicized price war between AT&T and Verizon, both companies rolling out unlimited talk and data packages for their smart phone users.  These unlimited use packages make using these gadgets more affordable than ever before.  These new rate plans launched on Monday of this week are worth taking a look at, especially if you are someone that consumes a large amount of minutes on your current wireless plan.  In my own case, I have an AT&T account and was able to go online on Monday morning and see that the new unlimited calling and data plan is now available.  To convert, all that was required was to click on an upgrade button.  In my own case, I have unlimited data on my iPhone but don’t see the need for unlimited calling minutes at this point.  Just as with any other financial decision, you must run the numbers to determine what make sense for your own situation.

2.  Drop Your Traditional Home Phone?

Many people have given up having a traditional home phone line and instead simply make all of their calls on their cell phone.  With the new flat rate plans, this may make more sense now than ever.  I have opted to keep a phone line in my house in addition to the four cell phones we have on our family plan.  I guess for me I like the security of knowing that I can dial 911 and the operator will know my location instantly (although it won’t be long before cell phones will do that too).  There are also those occasional important phone calls that I want a better quality connection without any risk of the call being dropped.

3.  Internet Based Phone Services 

Make and receive phone calls using your computer.  Calls are free to other Skype users.  Calls to landlines are about 2 cents per minute.  Skype now has a handheld wireless phone, which works anywhere there is a wifi connection (your home, a local coffee shop, etc…).  One major downside of Skype is that it does not provide your location to 911 and you can not keep your current phone number (the others listed below allow you to retain your phone number in most cases).  You can also add Skype to your iPhone! (see video below)

Phones From The Cable Company
For about $25 per month you get unlimited local and long distance calls (available through your local cable provider).  Usually includes enhanced 911.

Costs $25 per month and includes unlimited calling to the U.S., Canada and land lines in Italy, France, Spain, UK and Ireland. International rates are $0.04 to Germany, $0.18 to India and $0.10 to South Africa.  Includes enhanced 911.

Magic Jack
Costs just $40 for the first year and $20 per year thereafter.  The international calling rates are a somewhat higher than Vonage, but an excellent option for those making calls predominately to the U.S. and Canada.  Magic Jack does offer enhanced 911 services, but does not have phone numbers in all area codes yet.  Depending on where you live, you may end up with an odd area code.

This is a more deluxe service with quite a few nice add ons from what you would get with a Magic Jack setup.  For a one time cost of $250 you have a free phone forever! (international calls are at an additional cost).  Some of the nice features with the OOMA include call screening, multiple line options, the ability to answer your home phone calls from your cell phone, and the option of blocking phone numbers (e.g. a telemarketer that is harassing you).  No more monthly bills, you never have have a bill again!  Includes enhanced 911. 

After doing the research for this article, I made the decision to drop my phone service with the cable company and purchase an OOMA.  I will let you know how it works out.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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