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Seek Alternatives to Save on Your Monthly Phone Bill

If you are looking to pay off debt or just to trim your household budget, one good place to look to make further cuts is your home telephone service.  With so many options currently available, you may find that you don’t even need your home phone service or the expense.

My home phone service typically ran $30 to $33 a month, and that didn’t include any extras or even long distance.  (I used a prepaid card from Costco to pay for my long distance at 2.2 cents per minute.)  I looked into alternatives, and found a home service that only costs $3 per month.  You can do the same.  Consider the following options:

Your cell phone.  Many families have eliminated their landline and simply use their cell phones for all of their phone calls both at home and away from home.  Crunch the numbers to make sure this will result in a savings for you, or consider moving to a plan that offers a family option if you don’t already use such a plan.  If you rarely use the phone, you may want to switch to a pay-as-you use plan rather than a monthly plan.  Every family’s situation is different, so you have to choose what works best for you.

magicJack.  magicJack touts low prices–$40 to buy and $20 annually after that.  There are a few important issues with magicJack that may trouble some users.  The hardware must be installed on your computer, and your computer must be on to allow you to receive calls.  (If the phone is not on, calls will go to voicemail.)  In addition, some complain that there is only limited tech support available from magic Jack.

Ooma Telo.  Ooma Telo works much the same way as magicJack with a few important differences.  First, it does not install anything on your computer, and your computer does not have to be on to use it.  You also have the option to keep your current phone number for a fee.  Ooma Telo is more expensive than magicJack; the device can be had for between $179 and $199, and the monthly fee is $3.  It also has 911 capabilities.  This is what we recently switched to.  While I have had no problems with it, a few of my callers have complained that the phone cuts out randomly.

Vonage.  Vonage also offers home telephone service through your Internet.  They offer a 3 month starter plan for $9.99; after that the cost goes to $25.99 a month, which is still a bit cheaper than conventional phone service.  For that fee, you are allowed unlimited minutes of free local and long distance calls.  There is also a 300 Plan that gives you 300 minutes of local and long distance calls for $11.99 a month.

With so much competition for your home phone service, there is no reason to continue to use your local phone company and pay their high bills.  Instead, take some time to research the many options that are available.  Amazon offers plenty of online reviews to peruse to help you make the best decision for your family.  Also, consider whether you can make 911 calls with alternative phone services.  For a few hours of research, you may find yourself saving hundreds per year; that is a smart use of your time.

Filed under: Home Expenses, Personal Finance, Savings

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