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Easy Ways To Save Money Part 2: Get Rid of Your Home Phone Service

 

Easy Ways to Save Money Part 2

Voice over IP Phone System

This is part two of my series on ways I have been saving money that have been easy to adjust to.  This one focuses on home phone service.   I have written others about easily saving money on electricity and changing your mobile phone provider.

If you still have regular “land line” phone service at your home, you are probably wasting some money–it is time to “cut the cord!”  Specifically if you have stand-alone phone service from Verizon or some other dial-tone provider you need to think about making changes.

These days people usually fit into four categories of home phone service:

1) People who have totally gotten rid of their home phones and rely strictly on cell phone service.
2) People who have home phone service from a stand-alone “Voice-Over-IP” (VOIP) provider (such as Vonage or Obihai with Google Voice – The adapter is about $49 on Amazon.)
3) People who have bundled phone service that comes from their cable TV provider (Comcast, Verizon FIOS…)
4) People who still have old-fashion copper wire service to their homes

Lets have a look at each category to see how they can save more money:

People with no home phone service

The folks in the first category are content with their cell phone service and don’t see the need for a special phone to their home.  These folks might still be able to save money by switching to a cell phone provider such as Republic Wireless that has a lower monthly rate than AT&T and Verizon (Republic Wireless is $19.99/month for unlimited data, voice and texting–you can read my Republic Wireless review here).  At any rate, more power to these people because they have recognized that for them it is more convenient simply to have no home phone number at all.  This is definitely a growing group of people who most likely ported their old home phone number to their cell phones.

People Who Use Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) For Their Home Phone

I fall into this category.  I have been using Vonage for my phone service for over 10 years now.  The idea is that you use your existing home internet connection to make your phone calls.  As long as you have a halfway decent internet connection, this works very well and you can definitely save lots of money with  full featured phone service.  The gist is that they send you a box and you connect it to the internet in your home.  Your phones are connected to the box.  I can tell you that Vonage is very low cost and has great plans.  If you make lots of international calls you will certainly save good money.  I have written a review of vonage (and get a free month, plus free activation) that tells all about my experience which has been mostly very positive.  This is also a very good option for the college dorm.

A second, even cheaper VOIP option is to purchase an Obi100 (or better) adaptor and to hook it up to your home phones. You pay for the adaptor once and from there, you home service comes through Google Voice, which is free for calls in the USA. This is slightly less reliable than Vonage. See my full review of the Obi experience in my blog post “almost free home phone service“…

People Who Use Bundled Phone Service

This category of people will have the most difficult time saving money.  It is very common for the cable TV providers to sell their services as bundled “triple plays”–you get phone, internet and television together for some set price and you’re tied to a 2  year contract.  I definitely have some experience with this, because until recently, I actually had a triple play, even though I never once used the phone service it provided (since I was happy with my Vonage service).  It turns out that they rope you into the triple plays because if you unbundle the services and just go for say TV and internet, you will pay more than you would if you got all three services.   If you are in a contract, there isn’t much you can do–but if your contract has expired, then I do have a suggestion or two.
First of all, don’t get into a contract again.  Be very careful when you call to negotiate that you do not get a new contract.   I cannot emphasize this enough.  Your current provider desperately wants to keep you, so you have that as a negotiating tool, especially if you have more than one provider in your area.  Keep your eye out for deals, and search websites like slickdeals.net to see if you can find any special offers.  Most of the time these offers renew your contract, but if it is an attractive deal, then probably take it.
In my case, I decided I didn’t want cable television anymore.  I was sick of having hundreds of channels of stuff I never wanted to or had time to watch.  I was paying about $120/month for a Verizon FIOS triple play, but I also had netflix and was able to watch movies and tv shows over the internet with a special device called a Roku Box (if you have a WII or an X-Box you’d be able to do the same thing). I found that I was watching shows and movies on Netflix much more often than I was watching anything on cable TV.
So I decided to get rid of the TV and phone service.  With FIOS that brought me down to about $74/month.  But I also had offers from Comcast for $20/month for a year of similar service.  So now I save $100/month and am not really missing the TV.

People Who Still Have Old-Fashion Copper Wire Land-Line Service

People in this category should consider any of the three choices above.  You stand to gain more features and a much more flexible phone service.  If you have concerns about whether these other solutions would work for you, you an always try them out while keeping your traditional phone service.  Once you’re comfortable then pull the plug on your copper wire land line phones.  People who have alarm systems that are wired to your phone service may have an extra consideration–you will probably want to contact your alarm provider to see what they suggest.

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