Cheap Phone Service for the Home
Here are tips for getting cheap phone service for your home. These tips can save you money every day.
Whether used for personal or business purposes, the phone chews up a regular piece of our income and there are things that we can do about it.
My approach to frugal living suggests sticking to the basics for my phone. Let's look at things that I've done to lower the cost of calling, whether related to my business or just personal calling.
First of all, I drop phone features that unnecessarily cost me money. The “line guard” or “line-backer” phone line repair insurance is one example. The phone company around here wants $5 a month for this “service” which I have never used, and never had the need to use.
Phone lines in the house are for the most part static. They don’t change and there isn’t much that will cause them to fail. Let’s say that you go 3 years without trouble. That’s $180 dollars saved. That will certainly pay for a repair person to help you out in the unlikely event of trouble.
Getting cheap phone service boils down to this: don’t give the phone company anything more than what they deserve. If they didn’t think that your internal phone lines were nearly failure proof, they wouldn’t offer the insurance in the first place.
The most likely cause of phone line failure in your house will be accident or tampering, and that won’t be considered a failure covered by the insurance.
If you have standard telephone service in your house, you can probably get unlimited long distance service for about $20 a month and save money on long distance calls.
I used to have my phone service through Qwest, and they offered $20 a month for unlimited service. I took them up on the offer, and that was a boon for me since I run a small business out of my home. With customers nationwide, and family members in distant states, I needed cheap phone service.
During a heavy call month, my long distance per minute equivalent rate was about 2 cents per minute. Compare that with the lowest phone call rates I can think of: a prepaid calling card rate of 3 to 5 cents a minute; a prepaid cell phone rate of 10 cents a minute; and, a monthly cell phone rate of 11 cents a minute (300 anytime minutes for $35 a month). You can see that having unlimited long distance calling from your home phone is quite a deal if you make a lot of calls.
Here is another tip for those wanting cheap phone service. This one could save you about $100 a year. Do you need voice mail? You might want to use a telephone answering machine instead of voice mail from the phone company. Qwest is still charging about $7.95 a month for voice mail if you don't purchase a bundled package that is more expensive than basic service. That’s a ridiculous monthly charge for some electronic switching and recording equipment that thousands of people share.
You can drop that charge and reduce your monthly bill by using a voice recorder located in your home. They aren’t as convenient, but you can get all the basic functionality of voice mail for less than 4 months of voice mail charges.
Phone recorders are old technology, but they still work just fine. You get messages and you can retrieve your messages remotely, and that is the basic functionality that most people need and want.
Voicemail is a lot like a vending machine that sells soft drinks for $2 at the rest stops along the highway. You don’t really need it, and what it provides is much more costly than what it should be.
Getting cheap phone service suggests that you have a voice recorder at home to avoid the high monthly cost of voice mail. It's like getting a drink out of the water fountain at the rest stop instead of using the $2 soft drink vending machine.
The only down side to a phone recorder is that incoming callers will not have an opportunity to leave a message during times that you are on the phone. For a residence and many small businesses, this isn't important, however, a business with one line, lots of time spent on the phone, and lots of incoming customer calls should have voice mail for customer convenience.
Getting cheap phone service should never interfere with customer convenience as they are what keeps you in business.
Wireless service for Internet finally made it out here to the boondocks, so I signed up for bundled high speed Internet and telephone service over the Internet, known as “voice over Internet protocol” (VOIP). It gives me unlimited local and long distance calling, and fantastic low rates on international calling.
Now, unlimited long distance calling is what I call cheap phone service.
The only down side to VOIP is that your phone is tied to the Internet service, so if the Internet or your internal phone/computer router is down, your phone is too. That can happen, but with considerable competition among service providers, the phone should be up nearly 100% of the time.
My cell phone doesn't work out here in the boonies, so this let's me have a home phone with unlimited long distance calling and high speed Internet service for the same cost of just a phone with unlimited long distance calling.
This is another of the frugal living tips that can save money in a serious way. I now get more communication value for the money spent, and save over $500 a year.
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