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#762693 - 05/14/12 09:07 PM Phone Bill Reduction Ideas  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 22,605
Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames  Offline
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I'm tackling every single area of my budget. Every item is being investigated. So phone definitely fell in there. Legally I'm required to have a business phone, and we have a house phone.

We have the house phone on Vonage. That is an internet-based solution meaning the signal comes into our house on our Charter internet signal. It then is distributed through a piece of hardware into the normal house phone wiring, so the entire house's phones ring when someone calls - just like normal. That's $18/mo including all taxes.

For the business line I have MagicJack. That is also internet based. A little device plugs into a computer and then a phone plugs into it. That's only $30/year - so less than $3/month. So if someone calls my business line, just that one phone rings. It works fine.

I am thinking of turning the house line over to MagicJack as well. So that would cut down costs. That would mean the total household costs for two phone lines would be only $6/month.

Every bit helps!


Lisa Shea, Low Carb / Video Games Editor
Low Carb Forum
#762715 - 05/15/12 12:14 AM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,708
Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu Offline
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Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu  Offline
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Zebra

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,708
Miami, Florida
With Magic Jack not all phones can call Magic Jack numbers. I was using Magic Jack for my business number only to find other businesses couldn't get through. I changed to a pay as you go plan with T-Mobile and I pay $100 for 1000 minutes that last for a year. If you add more money to your phone before the year is up, the minutes will roll over. I don't get a lot of business calls (yet) so this works out well for me.

For my personal cellphone I used to have AT&T which cost me about $87/month. My plan was:

450 mins/month
unlimited texting
200 MB of Data

Once my contract was up I switched to RedPocket for $50/month was works on the AT&T network. This is a month to month plan - no contract. For my $50 I get:

Unlimited Talk
Unlimited Text
250 MB of Data

I don't need unlimited data since most of the time I'm on a wifi connection anyway.

Other cheaper cell phone companies are - H2O (runs on AT&T network), Simple Mobile (runs on T-Mobile network), Boost, and Metro PCS (using their network).

If you are off your contract you may want to check out these options.

#762752 - 05/15/12 06:36 AM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Feb 2003
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Jilly Offline
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Jilly  Offline
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Verde Valley, AZ
Lisa and Jeanne, those are all GREAT answers! In many people's situation, a home phone line is not even needed. A cell phone for many people is not only enough, but better. Unless your business requires it, yeah. smile

This month and the next few, for me, are going to be really hard for me to pay my $99 ATT cell fee. I have 450 minutes, unlimited texting and unlimited data. I am grandfathered in on the data plan. smile

I've been thinking to switch like Jeanne did, but i might actually have to put this phone on hold for awhile, until my SSI comes through. There is just no money for catfood at ten a pop, much less than cell phone rates. frown

What's nice is the free stuff. I can talk on Skype for free. I now use GoogleVoice, which is also free and easier to use. it seems to have better clarity and drops less.

I also have a free phone coming from the government. It's a phone for people who are low income and have certain illnesses - please PM me or ask in here if you want to know more. For that, I will get a free trac phone and 250 free minutes a month, with an option to buy more minutes as needed whenever. I'll be writing up a review of this service and phone after I get it and use it for awhile.

The Magic Jack system sounds interesting for people who prefer land-line type phones!



#763031 - 05/16/12 09:22 PM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Jan 2004
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Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames  Offline
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Jeanne -

That's interesting, I hadn't realized that the numbers couldn't be reached by some people. I'm not sure how that could work though. They're phone numbers - how could some people not call a phone number? When was this? I'm seeing some online reports that they had technical issues occasionally in past years but that those got fixed. I.e. it wasn't a global problem with MagicJack, they were technical problems with their routing system.

Still, that's a good point to make, that MagicJack is in essence a software solution. So if their software has glitches, it's going to impact the connection working properly.

We don't keep our cell phones by our side as we move around the house. So if I was upstairs in bed and the cell phone rang in my purse, I would never hear it. It would take a fair amount of retraining to have both of us always having our phones right by our side. So that would be our first issue with shutting off the house phone.

The second is that 90% of calls are spam calls to the house phone. So those don't affect any limits when we answer them. It would drive me insane to have my minutes eaten up by spam calls on a cell phone line smile. So I'm willing to pay $20/year to have in essence an unlimited spam call filter. And yes we are on every non-spam list known to mankind, and I report these.

I admit I like having phones just sitting in each room and being able to pick up whichever one if it rings. I don't want to have to deal with remembering to bring my cell phone around the house with me. So at least for now it works best for me to keep that system and make it as cheap as possible.


Lisa Shea, Low Carb / Video Games Editor
Low Carb Forum
#763035 - 05/16/12 10:16 PM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 14,392
Jilly Offline
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Jilly  Offline
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Verde Valley, AZ
I can't not have my cell on me. It's like it's taken over many lower brain functions for me. I text, check the weather, take photos, send photos to people i text, send photos to facebooks, update facebook, check price comparisons, use the calculator, use the gps, check maps, make lists, cross things off lists, read kindle books, use the pedometer, check my email, do a web search...i do everything but make phone calls. I hate talking on the phone. smile

I would give up my laptop and internet connection before giving up my smart phone!

It's better than having a personal assistant! It's the first thing i reach for when going anywhere and i honestly feel naked without it.

#763580 - 05/20/12 01:55 AM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 17
Kay Maxim Offline
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Kay Maxim  Offline
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We have stayed away from internet based phones because we were worried about when there were computer or internet problems. Has anyone had these kind of problems?

#764165 - 05/23/12 01:49 AM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Feb 2003
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Jilly Offline
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Jilly  Offline
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Verde Valley, AZ
Kay, I don't have an internet phone, but let me try to reach someone who has. smile

#764166 - 05/23/12 01:57 AM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Feb 2003
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Jilly Offline
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Jilly  Offline
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Verde Valley, AZ
Kay, if you mean not having the ability to call 911, then having a cheap pay as you go cell phone that is always charged will give you the ability to call 911 any time. There are cheap little trac phones that cost only $9 and include 250 minutes. You keep the phone with you and only use it for emergencies. That way it will never cost you more than that one nine dollar fee.

That's the price at walmart according to my google search today. You get a little Samsung phone and charger.

I don't know if you meant something else though. Like computer problems because of vonage or magic jack phones? Or do you live in an area where your service is down a lot?

Last edited by Jilly; 05/23/12 01:59 AM.
#765369 - 05/30/12 01:44 AM Re: Phone Bill Reduction Ideas [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
Joined: Jan 2004
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Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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Definitely if your internet is down, your internet phone is down. But really, if your internet lines go down as in a physical car crash into a pole or tree down on the wires, then usually the phone lines are on the same pathway and they go out too. We've never had one or the other go out. They all go out together.

That's why we have cell phones for backup smile

Lisa


Lisa Shea, Low Carb / Video Games Editor
Low Carb Forum

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