In Which I Save Money on the Phone Bill

I think it’s ridiculous that we’re still paying what I presume many of us are paying to have a telephone in our home. You’d think after 100 years, the price would come down, as it does with much of technology. Seems like the phone company is betting that we’re just used to paying what we pay, and they’re probably right.

Do we really even need a phone in the house, now that we have cell phones with unlimited long distance? Well, I think it’s a good idea. If you call 911 on your cell, you have to be feeling well enough to enunciate your exact location. If you’ve got The World’s Largest Gummy Bear lodged in your trachea, I guess we’ll see you on the other side. With a landline, they know where you are instantly. And here in California, 911 cell calls go to the CHP, not your local emergency dispatcher.

Yes, I know, there’s GPS. But that takes time. And it only gives them a general idea of where you are. They won’t find you in a condo complex; at least, not in time. And by then, their method will be more olfactory than electronic.

I’ll admit a sentimental attachment to my landline too. My Mom & Dad gave me a phone and my own line on my 17th birthday in 1978. I still have the phone and the same number, though the phone doesn’t work very well anymore. I enjoy keeping things for a lot longer than most people do, when it makes sense. Obviously, I’m not using my college typewriter to post these thoughts to Metaphor.

I looked at my home phone bill the other day. $50 a month. Wooly crap. I was paying for unlimited local calling, long distance, call forwarding, caller ID, and wiring maintenance. That’s just too much.

Now I’m paying $20 + tax per month for the home phone. Soon, it will go down to down to $12 + tax. … From $50 to $12, just by getting rid of stuff I don’t need. I’ll tell you how I did it.

I called Verizon today and cut my local plan back to measured instead of unlimited. So my local connection will be a lot cheaper. Outgoing local calls will be 3 cents a minute for the first minute, 1 cent for each additional minute, but with a $3/month credit. I doubt I’ll ever spend anything for local calls.

People who call me, take note: Incoming calls are still unlimited, free gratis.

I canceled all long distance on my home phone. And all the calling features except caller ID, which I’ll keep another week or two, while I transition to using Google Voice. That will make it drop from $20 to $12 + tax.

What’s Google Voice? It’s pretty cool, that’s what. It’s a free service from Google, which provides a phone number you can give to people. When they call it, all of your phones – home, office, cell – ring at once. You decide which phone to take the call on. So you can use the Caller ID on your cell phone to see who’s calling, but pick up the home phone to answer. That’s why I won’t need Caller ID on the home phone anymore.

Google Voice also provides an Internet-based voicemail, which you can listen to on your PC or by phone, or read the voicemail as text in your email. Plus, free nationwide long distance over the Internet, using your PC. That’s why, along with my cell phone, I really don’t need long distance on the landline anymore.

I hope this gives you some ideas for cutting back on the old school tech in your house. 

My next step is to decide whether I should add more minutes to my cell phone. If I do, I give back part of the savings. But I’ll get Friends & Family, which makes all calls with my family members unlimited without using cell minutes. So that’s something to ponder.

Before you go, you did click the link above and check out The World’s Largest Gummy Bear, right? I’m not making that up. And I’m pretty sure, one way or another, it could kill you.

3 thoughts on “In Which I Save Money on the Phone Bill

  1. I can relate, Billie. My brother lives in the country and my cell won't work at all at his house. The problem with cell phones is that they got distracted by making them into music playing camera computers before they finished making them phones. So as phones they don't really work yet. Erik, thanks for the laugh. Maybe McCain is a gummy, Palin is cotton candy, and Obama is an all day sucker. …Yeah, I got nuthin.

  2. I tried to do this exact thing but the problem for us is that our cell signal out here in the country is extremely unreliable – so the pieces of this plan that involve the cell phone won't work for us. I'm still looking at a way we can reduce the landline bill – I agree, it's a lot per month for something we don't actually use all that much.

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