This is a guest column by Steve Zussino.
How I reduced my families phone bill to less than 10 dollars per month
Communication is very important for my family. My wife and I live in Victoria, BC and our families both live in Ontario and we speak to them many times a week. It is also important to keep the connections we have with our friends all over the world.
My wife and I run a website that publishes grocery deals and printable grocery coupons and we need to stay in touch with manufacturers and grocery stores and with our editors.
When shopping for a home phone line it was important that a great long distance rate was included for the frequent out of province calling.
When shopping around for the best rates, I visited with two companies, Shaw and Telus.
Here are the prices for the competition (from their websites)
- Telus: $26/month standalone for the home phone service and $0.04/min calling within Canada, to the U.S. and 50 international destinations.
- Shaw: $39.95/month as a standalone service and $0.04/min long distance anytime within Canada and to the U.S. and 50 other specified countries.
Steps used to keep our telecommunication costs low:
1. Use an inexpensive VoIP service for long distance.
We chose to use Skype with their SkypeOut service. This costs us $32 US / year. This gives us unlimited long distance to anyone in North America and cheap rates when calling Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. It is very easy to signup.
2. Find a cordless phone that is VoIP compatible.
We hate talking on a headset and we enjoy using a cordless phone. I purchased a phone that was compatible with Skype and can be used with an existing land line connection. These phones are readily available at major electronic retailers. Our phone cost approximately $80.
3. Find a low-cost home phone line.
Now, I am sure at this point you already can see that I have less than seven dollars left per month for incoming phone calls. Well, the beauty of Skype is that you can have a virtual phone number to redirect to your skype name.
For example, we registered the phone number for the 250 area code using VirtuFon’s WorldFon service (http://www.virtufon.com). This service allows you to own a local phone number in one of 34 countries. They forward that phone number to your Skype address. Our phone is setup to accept Skype calls so someone calling that phone number will actually be talking to us using VoIP and Skype.
Cons of using VoIP
There are some problems as to using Skype or other VoIP services completely.
No emergency calls
VoIP service providers are not bound by regulations to offer emergency 911 calls, so not all of them offer it. This can be fixed by using a cell phone as a backup.
VoIP Voice Quality
Using VoIP can sometimes give you delays, weird sounds, noise and echo.
Internet Connection requirement
Since VoIP depends on your broadband connection, if the connection goes down, your phone line goes down as well. The formula is simple: with VoIP, no Internet means no phone. This can be very annoying at home, and catastrophic for your business. Always have a backup plan!
Back to you, can anyone beat this price for home phone service?
About the Author: Steven Zussino, Founder of Grocery Alerts Canada – home of grocery deals, product reviews and money saving coupons. He enjoys personal finance and saving money in beautiful Victoria, BC.