The cost of having a phone is outrageous! As a small business owner on a tight budget, I need to make the most out of every dollar I make. Cell phone plans typically cost a minimum of $50 per month, and office land line phones are not much cheaper. On top of it all, there are set up fees, activation fees, and monthly taxes that add up quickly. After years of being locked into service contracts, here is how I was finally able to keep my phone costs at a minimum, while being able to have service in my office and on the go.
How To Save Money On Your Phone Bill
The cost of having a phone is outrageous! After years of being locked into service contracts, here is how I was finally able to keep my phone costs at a minimum.
Skype is an internet software application that allows you to make phone calls online through your computer. It works just like a regular phone, but without having a physical phone. As is, your computer microphone and speakers can send and receive the voice data. If you want to increase your call quality, you can purchase a headset or even a special type of phone that connects into your computer USB port.
Skype famously offers free calls between anyone who uses their service, which is a great way to test it out. However, you will need to purchase a calling plan to be able to call and receive calls from actual phone numbers. The good news is: The rates are surprisingly reasonable! For instance, you can purchase a plan to make unlimited calls to U.S. and Canada for less than $5 per month. Compare that with $50 per month for your cell phone! Depending on where in the world you are located and where you call the most, the plans increase in cost from there, but at the time this article is being written, all of the basic calling plans are under $15 per month.
So, we've talked about making calls with Skype, but can you receive calls too? Well, there is another fee for that, but again, in comparison, it is very reasonable. You can purchase an online number from Skype for a yearly rate of only $60. Seriously, wow.
Let's take a look at these numbers in comparison:
Cell Phone or Land Line Phone @ $50/month for 12 months = $600/year
Skype Phone @ $5.00/month + $60/year = $120/year
That's a savings of $480 per year.
Ok, so Skype works great as a replacement for an office or home phone, but what about when you are on the go? I recently purchased an iPod touch, which is one of my favorite gadgets ever. Not only does it store all of my music, but it can essentially do everything an iPhone can do, except make direct dial calls. From the iPod touch, you can access the internet, and more importantly, you can download apps. Skype makes an app for the iPod touch that enables it to make phone calls through your account. Just download the app, and you have a $300 iPod that does just about the same thing as a $600 iPhone, and you don't have to purchase any expensive cell phone plan! Plus, it will satisfy your tech urge.
Pre-Paid Cell Phone
The only caveat to the system I'm describing is: Your calling will be limited to areas where you have internet access. Skype (and the Skype app for the iPod) cannot work unless you have wireless access. For me, this is almost never. I am always in a place where I can be connected. However, for those rare occasions, a pre-paid cell phone fills the gap. You can put $20 on your account for minutes that expire in 3 months, or if you use it more often, purchase $100 that expires in an year. I consider my pre-paid phone an 'emergency phone', and to be honest, I never need to use it!
Using Skype in combination with my iPod Touch has saved my business hundreds of dollars per year. This system may not work for everyone, but if you are on a tight budget looking for ways to pinch a penny, this could be the perfect solution for you. The most amazing part of it all is that there are no contracts! I'm not locked into a monthly payment from here to eternity. With this calling system, I feel like I'm in control.