6 Tips to Save Money on Your Phone Bill

I love saving money on my phone bill. It’s one of the easiest bills to cut. Here are some ways to trim the phone bill.

Cut out Call Waiting

I think this is one of the most annoying phone features. When I’m talking to someone, I don’t want my call interrupted. And I like to give my callers the same courtesy. We’ve never had call waiting, and we never will.

Cut out Caller ID

I know some of you will groan at this one, but we don’t have caller ID either. If we get a telemarketer, we just hang up. If we really want to know who’s calling, we wait until the answering machine picks up.

If you are really serious about cutting costs, consider cutting the phone line protection. How often does a problem with the line really come up? And at $5 a month, you could probably pay for any problems with the money you save every month over the course of the time you pay the phone bill.

Drop the Long Distance

We use our cell phones for long distance. We have the cheapest family plan that includes free calls on nights and weekends. Since I only use my cell phone as an emergency number for the kids’ schools, we usually accumulate a decent amount of rollover minutes, so I always have extra minutes to make long distance calls.

Before we used cell phones, my husband and I bought long distance minutes through OneSuite. At the time we paid 2.9 cents a minute, which was better than we could do with a calling card. And the minutes were good any time of the day, any day of the week. It’s a pretty good deal, I think.

Consider Dropping You Land Line All Together

We’re not ready to do this yet, but I know people who are very happy using only cell phones. Be sure you consider all the ramifications of getting rid of your land line though. What happens if you forget to charge your phone? And keep in mind that if you call 911, the operator may not be able to pinpoint your location.

Use an Internet Phone Service

A service like Vonage is very affordable. For $24.99 you get local and long distance service. That’s what I pay for local service only on my land line. I have never tried an internet phone service, so I don’t know if they deliver what they promise. If anyone has any experience good or bad, feel free to leave a comment, so the rest of us can be better informed.

Bundle Your Services

Some phone companies offer great discounts if you have more than one service with them. We get a pretty good deal on our phone service, because we also buy DSL through our phone company. If we wanted to, we could even bundle satellite television into our bill. It doesn’t hurt to call your phone company to see what they can offer.

So go ahead. Take a look at your phone bill. If you haven’t really taken a look at what you’re being charged for every month, chances are you can find a way to cut your bill a little…or a lot.



Author

By , on Oct 2, 2007
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{26 Comments}

  1. Kimberly:

    Great article. I actually looked over my cell phone bill for months before I realized that I had both the wrong plan as well as the wrong carrier – AT&T was only interested in keeping my stuck in my contract. I finally gave in and broke my contract and started shopping around for a phone that suited someone who wasn’t a big talker, but needed something dependable. I decided on Net10 prepaid and its been a dream so far. Without a contract, I have the flexibilty to change phones and plans based on use and price and not be locked in. The calling network is pretty dependable and while the selection of phones isn’t the best, it is better priced than any I’ve found. The best thing about Net10 though is the incredible savings – more than $70 a month over my $110. Not to mention 300 minutes at activation and being able to purchase Net10 at Walmart or Target so its so easy to find. Net10 finds!

  2. desoto:

    1. Drop your landline and try Ooma. We’ve had it for nearly a year now and it’s fantastic! It’s voip (broadband connection required), but no monthly fee! You buy the box which pays for itself in just a few months. Free nationwide long distance. it does not require a computer to use.
    2. Use Google Voice for free calls to Canada from the U.S.

  3. Les:

    If I call my local phone company to see what they offer it will always be the most to next most expensive plan. I have to go to their website to see their least expensive plans because the sales staff will never tell me about them.

  4. Maratei:

    I’ve been using Skype for several years now, and I absolutely love it. We have it on my husband’s laptop as well, and the neat thing is, if we’re somewhere with a wireless connection, we have a phone. The only downside is no 911 calls, but all you need is a charged cell phone or a regular phone hooked up for that- the line doesnt even have to be active.
    Anyway, it has caller id, voicemail, speed dial, all sorts of stuff- even a firefox extension that lets you dial phone numbers directly from a website. All sorts of stuff, and extremely easy to use.

  5. Dianne:

    Does anyone use VoIP with satelite internet. I heard it didn’t work because it had a 7 second delay.

  6. Stacy:

    I use Skype and really like it. It cost $29.95 a year… Yes a Year!! to make calls anywhere in the US and Canada. To be able to recieve calls it cost $30 a year!! So for basically $5 a month I have internet phone, I killed my land line and save about $45 a month by cutting back my rate plan with my cell phone. Saving me about $80 a month all together.

  7. Akire:

    This is a well written article. I just wanted to share that we totally drop our landline (but kept our cell phones) to save more and subscribed to Onesuite voip service (SuiteAdvantage).

    Now we use an ATA device for Onesuite VoIP (so we don’t need to turn the pc on) and cost us only $2.95 (incoming calls are free) monthly. Dropping your landline altogether is ahuge savings by itself but we don’t want to rely on voip technology so we kept our cell phone as a back up and use it when internet or voip is not applicable. Now aside from voip, we also use Onesuite prepaid card service and thats all in the same account. Very convenient I must say.

  8. Lynnae:

    @Willow – Thank you for the great information! I never even would have thought of those issues, but they could be a real problem!

  9. Lynnae:

    @Money Blue Book – I agree that everything is going mobile. There may come a day when we drop the land line, but I’m not quite ready yet. :)

  10. Willow:

    Regarding internet phone service – I would not choose this method as my primary phone source. I do tech support for a large service provider, among their services internet phone service is available. The drawbacks – if the electricity goes out, or the internet lines are down, you have no phone. If your service provider gets into a dispute with another service provider, you may not be able to complete calls. If your equipment crashes (which happens more frequently than you want to know), then you’ll be out of service until it’s replaced. It doesn’t matter who the manufacturer is, your modem or emta is a disposable piece of electronics and if it lasts 18 months, consider yourself lucky.

  11. Dropping my land line was the best thing I ever did. Everything’s going mobile and portable these days anyway.

  12. Lynnae:

    Hilda, that’s great information. Thanks!

    Pam, donotcall.gov has worked really well for us, too. Unfortunately I got on some political list, and I get political calls all the time. Never my husband. Just me. I’d rather put up with the political calls than pay extra for call waiting, though.

  13. Pam:

    I live in a rural area and get terrible cell phone coverage at home, cutting the land line is not an option.

    However, 18 months ago I cut back to basic phone service. I don’t really care about call waiting. If it’s busy, they’ll call back. I’m not a pushover for telemarketers. I tell them “I’m not interested and I’m hanging up now.” I’ve registered at http://www.donotcall.gov and the only marketing calls I get are my credit card company, charities, and political.

    It was a little difficult to get used to at first, but I’m used to it now and refuse to pay extra for additional services.

  14. Hilda:

    I used 10-10-811 for international long distance calls. It costs a bit more than phone cards but very convenient for times when I don’t have a phone card on hand.

  15. These are some really great tips. Thanks alot.

  16. Lynnae:

    Great information, everyone!

    @Plonkee – what a great deal!

    @Kyle – I’ve never tried 10-10-811, so I don’t know if it’s a great deal or not.

    @Cliff – I agree that it’s important to like whatever phone service you have. We’re fortunate to have Qwest, and I’ve only had good experiences with them.

  17. Cliff:

    I have used Vonage and it is a great service. It is much cheaper than regular telephones and has more services. The only problem is the high speed internet costs. With DSL you are sometimes, as it is with AT&T, required to also have a land line from that company. So you already pay for a phone line. In my case AT&T DSL and the cheapest phone line cost me around $35 a month before taxes. Cable internet is $50-60 stand alone. On top of that I would have to pay for Vonage for a total of $70-80 per month before taxes. In the end it is cheaper to have DSL and an AT&T phone line. However, the service with Vonage is so much better than any experience I have ever had with AT&T that it would be something worth paying for.

  18. We dropped our landline when we moved in 2005 and haven’t missed it for a second. We use only our cell phones and have cable internet. It’s really been a great decision for us, and has saved us a ton of money.

  19. Great tips. I recently dropped the phone line protection and now should drop the call waiting. Don’t need it, but man it is nice to able to screen your calls sometimes.

    What about dailing 10-10-811 before calling long distance, I heard you get a great rate with it. Anybody do it?

  20. At the moment I’m trying out a rebate mobile phone deal. If I remember to send the bills in, I get all my call rental rebated. I’m not the most organised person in the world, so this may not work out. To counteract this, I picked the best tariff for me and most importantly, I’ve read the tariff carefully. If I can do it, I’ll end up spending nothing for a year’s worth of mobile phone.

  21. We also have Vonage $14.99 plan. We get the caller ID and voicemail that I really feel I need (since I hate the phone generally as a rule) and all for really cheap. We get more stuff for way less than the phone company (was about $40). However, Vonage might drop calls sometimes like cell phones do, so beware.

  22. Lynnae:

    Thanks, JB. That’s really great information! I’m glad it’s working out so well for you!

  23. JB:

    We’ve been using Vonage for about a year and the service has been great. One tip— they have a $14.99 package that they don’t really advertise as much since they want everyone to sign up for the unlimited $24.99 package. The $14.99 package includes a base number of minutes (I think it is 500) and then charges a flat rate of 3.9 cents per minute for each additional minute over. At thta rate, you could use roughly another 250 minutes before you’d actually end up at $24.99. Needless to say, we’ve had the plan for a year now and have never gone over the 500 base minutes, so we’ve saved $120 by signing up for the $14.99 plan. From looking at your past phone usage you should be able to determine if you would be better off with the unlimited plan or the $14.99 plan. The $14.99 plan still includes all of the features such as caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, etc.

    On a related note—be sure to do some careful research if you go with one of the smaller voice over internet providers. My parents also use VOIP but rather than going with Vonage, they’ve tried some of the carriers with rock-bottome prices and the phone service and customer service were less than desirable.

  24. I’ve considered dropping my land line…practically no one calls me on it except my mother, telemarketers, and people calling for the person who had this number before me! I have a bundle right now, so if I dropped my land line, I will have to pay $5 more for my Direct TV (which I am also considering dropping) and $5 more for my internet. So if I dropped the landline, I’d save $20 a month. However, I might need to beef up my cell plan, because I’d have to talk to my mother on the cell…I need to figure out if that would be cost effective or not.

    I don’t have the option of dropping call waiting/caller ID/service plan. Basic local service here includes 3 features, you can choose from a list of about 20 features, but you pay the same whether you pick 3 to use or not. Those 3 happen to be the ones I chose, but call waiting never happens because no one calls me on that line.

  25. Lynnae, I LOVE going with ONLY cell phones…they all have call waiting, caller id, etc…at no extra charge. I am waiting for our bankruptcy to finalize so we can get new cell phones and we will be getting rid of our land line once again (well, not completely because we need it for the DSL…but yeah…not for use anyway) The best way to do cell phones is to shop around, if you start at one that is running a great deal you get the info and go to another one that has a good deal on phones and work the two together pick the one that you like the best or that has a feature you like the best and work them to give you a good deal all around!!!

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