Saving money on phone calls

You can reduce your telephone expenses by using two phone systems:
  • A prepaid cell phone for incoming calls. The cheapest is currently 10 cents per minute.
  • Google's free Call-phone feature for outgoing calls.
Update on 9/6/12: Here's a link to an interesting article that a friend has written about her free Lifeline wireless service, which is available to people who receive certain types of state or federal assistance, and those whose income is below 135% of the federal poverty level.

Update on 10/27/10: Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Gmail Call-phone capability I did not expect. You can call any business that asks you to press phone keys to access menu items. Simply use your mouse to click the Call-phone keys.

In recent decades, phone costs have been increasing faster than inflation. While still using the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS), I had noticed my phone company adding new "fees" or "service charges'' to my bill almost every month. My usage had not increased, but my wallet had grown thinner.

In 2005, I abandoned POTS and connected my phone to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider. At first, they charged reasonable rates for excellent service. For unlimited domestic calls, I paid approximately $28.00 per month, including taxes. However, about two years ago, my VOIP provider also stared adding "fees" and "service charges.'' Eventually, my monthly bill approached $40.00. After I reduced my plan level, from unlimited calls to 250 minutes per month, my monthly bill dropped to about $31.00. Again, this did not last. Additional "fees" and "service charges'' continued increasing my bill so that it again approached $40.00.

A few months ago, I abandoned my VOIP provider and bought a prepaid cell phone, which usually saves money for users like me who make relatively few phone calls.

More recently, I was also able to abandon half my cellphone, figuratively. Google has added a free Call-phone feature to Gmail. Therefore, I need not pay for outgoing calls. I now pay only for incoming calls to my cell phone.

I did need to buy a microphone for my PC. However, I do not feel guilty. Under similar circumstances, I believe even Jack Benny would have spent $12.00 for a microphone.

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