I get excited about re-occurring monthly savings, so today was a good day. I had been paying about $60/month for 2 lines with a monthly Verizon family cell plan, but rarely ever used the 550 minutes given to me. My wife and I generally use about 300 minutes per month. Today, I came up with a plan that will cut that in half AND offer me more functionality.
I haven’t had a land line in two years, and really never wanted to go down that path ever again. Additionally, monthly service VOIP (such as Vonage) never has really appealed to me because I couldn’t foresee using it enough to justify the $25/month charges. So here’s my two-part plan to cut my monthly bills from $60 to $30 and actually get more service.
Part 1: Switch to a New Pay-by-the Minute Prepaid Cell Plan
I’ve decided to transfer my Verizon numbers to Net10. Net10 is a Tracfone brand. And Tracfone is an MVNO (runs off of other big networks like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint). Basically you pay 10 cents per minute with no daily airtime fees if you use your phone. It’s just 10 cents per minute for all domestic calls (text messages are 5 cents each to send and receive). I’ve heard coverage with Tracphones are pretty good. The clincher for me was that there are no daily air-time usage fees. A lot of the other prepaid cell plans charge you $0.99 or more for each day you actually use the phone in addition to the per minute charges. With these plans, if you end up using the phone daily, you’re typically paying more than you would be with a standard monthly service plan.
I’m now using a Net10 LG900G. It costs $29.99, and comes with the 300 minutes (you are basically getting the phone for free).
Part 2: Buying an Ooma
Ooma is a VOIP system that charges a flat up-front price for the equipment, and then you are never charged again. There are zero monthly service charges. All you need is high speed internet to hook it into, and then it can be used with a regular landline phone. The cheapest available today is the Ooma Telo for $76 on Amazon. What’s great is you get your own phone number and you don’t have to be online to receive calls on your phone.
How Ooma & Net10 Combined will Cut my Bills in Half
I will never use more than 300 cell minutes per month between the two phones, which means I shouldn’t go over $30 ($15 per person) per month on the Net10 plan. With the Ooma being $200, I will break even within 7 months with Ooma and the two phones on Net10 (vs. my previous cell plan). After that, Ooma is basically free, and my only phone expenses are the $30 per month for my minutes with Net10. I will have effectively just cut my phone bills in half!
Additionally, I will be Able to now Enjoy the Following 6 Benefits
- No more cell phone contracts, so if Net10 isn’t any good, I can easily go elsewhere without a significant expense.
- No more accidental overage charges, or having to worry about my minutes (Net10 shows you the minutes and service period left on your cell phone screen).
- I’ll have a VOIP and won’t have to worry about my minutes. The Ooma has been said to have better clarity than landlines (and definitely better than a cell phone). The reviews on Amazon look pretty good.
- You can’t transfer numbers with landlines, your Ooma number moves with you.
- I will now be able to use a home fax line again, if I need to.
- With the Ooma, if I need a second line, I can get one for fairly cheap ($13/month, I believe).
I’ll report back with reviews on each of the services shortly.
Save Money on Phone Bills Discussion:
- What clever ways have you been able to cut your phone bills?
- Have you tried Ooma or Net10? What are your thoughts?
- Are there any other phone services out there you couldn’t live without?