Reducing Phone Expenses

Some people continue to simply pay their phone bills month after month without putting much thought into how they can save money.  Here are some things to consider if you want to reduce expenses.

Do you really need a land line? If you have a cell phone and a land line at home, ask yourself if you really need both.  Cancelling your home phone service can reduce your monthly expenses by $20 to $50 every month.

If so, explore your land line options.  If you feel like you need a phone at your house, look into a service that can be linked through your Internet connection.  This technology is called VoIP (Voice over Internet Provider) service. Vonage and Magic Jack are two very popular VoIP options that have low annual costs. Do some research to see if this is an option that's right for you.

Evaluate your cell phone service.  As far as cell phones are concerned, there are definitely ways to cut back here as well. Many companies offer discounts for agreeing to family plans. You will usually have a base price, and then additional lines may cost around $10 per line. It’s not always easy to choose the right cell phone plan. There are many options for minutes, texting and other services. Paying for too many minutes will add to the cost of your monthly cell phone bill, but that isn’t as expensive as exceeding your allowable minutes. Track your minutes for a couple of months, just as you would track expenses on a budget.  Then see if you can adjust your bill accordingly. Understanding your texting habits can also uncover opportunities to lower your cell phone bill. Many plans charge about 10 cents per text, offer packages of 100 texts, or offer unlimited texts at a cheaper per text rate. If you don't text on a regular basis, you may be better off without a texting package.

Reduce use of fee-based services.  Sometimes it's not the actual phone service that costs so much. It's the extra fees that start to add up. One way to reduce fees is to use free directory assistance. Calling 4-1-1 information service from your cell phone can cost a dollar or more, but you can get the same information for free by calling 1-800-free411 or 1-800-GOOG-411. The Google option will even send the information via text message, which can be quite helpful. You just have to text G-O-O-G-L, and type in the name and zip code that you are looking for. Also be careful about signing up for extras like road-side assistance if you are already covered by AAA, your car dealer, or some other policy.