The Curious Autodidact

January 31, 2009

Saving Money on the Monthly Bills: The Telephone

Filed under: helpful hints,money saving ideas — Honilima @ 11:12 pm

Ring, ring—that’s the phone, but which one you ask. Whereas many of us were raised in a house with perhaps two telephones today it’s not uncommon for people to have two cell phones a land line and multiple voice mail boxes to monitor.

Voice mail, caller ID, and three way calling can be nice features but what would life be like if you live without these?

The phone company wants to make money. Their support staff, who fields the customer calls, is trained to be helpful but also to answer your questions a certain way with the bottom line foremost. For instance I called to ask if our DSL service would be had without a phone line and I was told no. A few days later I called back another day armed with the phrase “DSL raw” and was told there was no way to lower the bill. I had greeted the operator with kindness and went into the “can you relate to me” mode asking if there wasn’t some way I could lower the bill that like so many families we were trying hard to cut back our monthly expenses. By the end of the call I learned there was something they called “stand-alone DSL.” Ordering this reduced the bill by half. You may well have to use the various words to get down to the kernel of truth stay calm but kind and determined. The utilities are required to offer these simplified services but they certainly don’t promote it.

Because I have a cell phone and can use the MAGIC JACK for VoIP calls (our address is registered for EMS) the only reason we could see for a land line was in a natural disaster since we have a regular phone plugged into the computer. The Magic Jack has voice mail and notifies you by e-mail when you have a message waiting, pretty clever indeed.

If you want to keep a land line ask for a “naked” land line, usually this is just a simple phone line and costs between $10-15 a month, get an answering machine (most have message retrieval like modern voicemail) and call it good. I’ll bet most people you want to talk to call you on the cell phone anyway. Sit for a few minutes and think these changes through. If you have many people in the house it may require a meeting to explore the pros and cons but everyone will feel involved and valued in the process of saving money.
Another win-win!

Ben says, a penny saved is a penny earned

Ben says, a penny saved is a penny earned


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