Penny Pinching – Telephone Bill

Saving Money And Budgeting Tips For Your Telephone

  • Local Telephone Service
  • Long Distance Telephone Service
  • Cell Phones

Local Telephone Service

While local telephone service can be affordable for most of us, it can quickly get expensive if you add all of the options offered by the telephone companies.  Asking yourself a few simple questions and making very little sacrifice, you can make some significant savings and pinch pennies.

1. Common services that are added to your phone bill.  Determine if you really need all of these features.  Each one you eliminate will pinch pennies and save you on your monthly bill.

  • Avoid using the directory assistance.  This service is added to your phone bill each time you use the service.  Many times the charge is overlooked because it is not an obvious charge on your bill.  Look the number up online at WhitePages.com or use your telephone book and do it the old fashion way.
  • Call waiting is another service that is not really necessary.  In the typical household, how many many of your calls must be answered immediately?  Plus, most people have a cell phone.  If the call was that important, chances are that person has your cell phone number and could reach you on it in an emergency.
  • Call forwarding is yet other feature that the phone company often bundles.  I had this feature on my phone and I can not remember ever using it.  You may be paying for this feature and not even realize it if you bought a bundled plan.  The same goes for 3-party conference calling and last number called service.
  • Voicemail – You can drop the voicemail monthly service and buy a phone that has an answering machine included.  The price of the phone will pay for itself quickly and you can check your messages from anywhere with a traditional answering machine by simply calling your number and entering a code you set up.

2. Long Distance Telephone Service

  • Long distance providers is a very competitive market.  Shopping around with the different providers for your area can lead to some really great savings.
  • Long distance service through your local provider is typically much more expensive than going through one of the competitors.  While it may be tempting to take one of their “bundle plans”, avoid these because they typically have hidden costs associated with them.
  • Determine how much long distance calling you do.  If you do a lot of long distance calling, you will most likely want to go with a fixed rate plan.  Some carriers offer unlimited long distance calling for a set price that is a great deal if you do a lot of long distance calling.  On the other hand, if you do not do a great deal of long distance calling, look into the pay per minute plans.  While these are more expensive than a fixed rate plan, if you do very little long distance calling they will save you money on your monthly bill.

3. Work with your telephone provider to find the least expensive plan that will work for you.

  • Many phone companies have economy plans for people that are trying to cut costs.  Give them a call and see what all they have.  This is especially true if you have a cell phone that you use to make many of your local or long distance calls.
  • Do away with that second like that you use for fax or Internet.  If you have DSL you don’t need a second line to receive incoming calls and be on the Internet.  If you have dial-up, several free software packages are available to day that will allow you to receive a call while on the Internet.

4. Be sure and Check Your Bill – Reviewing your monthly bill can lead to some big savings.  Many phone companies charge for services that you are not aware of and unless you look at your bill, you will be spending money on things you do not realize.

  • Paper Billing – In the new age of “going green” and the price associated with mailing out paper statements, many phone companies have started charging to send you a paper copy of your statement.  Eliminate this charge by going online or giving them a call and ask for an electronic version.  If you want a paper copy, simply print out the electronic bill on your computer.
  • Renting Phones – If you are renting a phone from you provider, discontinue it.  You can spend very little and have a phone that has the same features.  Don’t get sucked into the sales pitch “If you rent the phone from us, we will replace it for free should something happen to it”.  It is not worth the monthly cost when you can purchase a very nice phone for under $20.
  • Unauthorized Calls – It is very common to be charged for calls you did not make.  Review your bill and if you see a call that you are being charged for incorrectly, contact your carrier and have that charge removed.
  • Check to see if you are being billed for maintenance.  This typically covers repair of telephone wiring inside the house if something goes wrong.  You can cut this charge out as it rarely goes bad and if it does, phone boxes and wiring is very cheap to buy at your local hardware store.  This is something you can do yourself.

Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas on how to pinch pennies and save a little on your telephone bill each month.