Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Save Money On Phone Bills?

Whether it's a cell phone or a landline, we have grown so accustomed to them that we fail to notice if we are paying too much every month.

Most people are paying about 16 or 17 dollars more every month than is necessary. In fact, the CUB says last year, Illinois callers overpayed their phone bills by more than a billion dollars.

That figure certainly caught my attention. No wonder phone operators love their cash cow and are reaping in profits regardless of recessionary times. But I am not keen to sponsor the fat bonuses of these executives.

How To Save Money On Phone Bills?
Since we are already struggling to get by on our income, why not save money on phone bills? It is easy to accomplish because unlike other utilities, phone customers have many choices available.

If you have a cell phone and hardly receive calls at your home line, then the latter is surplus to requirement, especially when the only time it rings is due to cold calls from advertisers. However, handphone batteries do run out and you don't want that in an emergency.

The less drastic approach is to keep the land line but terminate other services like "Number Portability" or "Universal Service." Also, don't bother wasting money on Caller ID or call waiting if your handphone is the main mode of communication.

Now that you have cut out the frills, zoom in further into protection services. Check if "Equipment Maintenance Protection" is on your bill. Phone companies will like you to use this service as people tend to forget about its presence. But the EMP's cost is not justifiable since retail prices for phones are so cheap these days.

Next, you can eliminate "Inside Line Protection" from your account. Line Maintenance may be a good idea if you are going to move in to a new place, but if there are no problems after a month, go ahead and axe that item. You'll save over the long run without it, even if you do have to pay for a service call.

For those who use their landline regularly, cutting out the frills may instead inconvenience you. Hence, I recommend that you sign up for a suitable package of features. But before committing, you should ask your sales rep to give a dollar for dollar comparison.

Sometimes, best value doesn't always mean cheaper and may not be appropriate in your case. For example, you don't need a long distance carrier but the best value package gives you free LD minutes. Even if there is a dollar value of $5 to $10, it is sitting idly in your account every month.

I will rather go for pre-paid LD cards to make a call on the go. The rates on those cards can range from 0.03 to 0.05 cents a minute if purchased in a $20 increment. When you get low on minutes, just recharge the minutes on the card.

There is no need to buy phone equipment from the phone company. Installment billing options may be attractive, but in general the phones they offer are overpriced. In my case, I get phones for my family at Wal-Mart.

Finally, read over your bills every month. I guarantee you will find surprises from time to time (hidden charges, unknown overseas call, etc) and you must immediately clarify with your phone company.

By implementing the above steps, you should be able to save as much as 15-30 dollars a month, or around 200-300 dollars a year by cancelling some services.