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Saving money on phones. If you are paying for high speed internet you do not have to also pay much for your dedicated house phone.

I recently switched to OOMA phone system. This company sells a black box that gives you dial tone and connects your calls by converting the audio sounds normally passed via a phone to very compressed digital messages. Because the digital messages are so compressed they hardly slow down your internet. About 6 years ago I tried an another system (these systems are called VOIP, [Voice over internet Protocol]) it slowed down my internet terribly when I made a call so it was useless for me. But this one does not and the voice quality is quite good.

Why switch? For $10 a month they give you two phone line capability and one phone line capability for 0 per month plus you have to pay taxes and regulatory fees for the lines but that is only a few bucks a month depending on your location. You do have to buy their black box which cost $200 but right now there is a $50 rebate. You get free domestic calling and their international rates are very reasonable. And if someone overseas also has OOMA the call is free.

I was not going to give up my one traditional phone line but then a neighbor pointed out to me that I still had my cell phone as a back up and OOMA will ring any phone number you designate and your in house phone automatically all the time or just ring the secondary phone number when the internet is down. It is your option. Of course land lines are very reliable so you might not want to give that reliability up but you can keep the land line and get rid of all the expensive options on it. For me my cost went from about $100 a month to about $16 so I will save the $150 in about two months. Oh and the OOMA black box also has a very good answering machine. They also have call screening. Just check it out at ooma.com

In a previous post I also mentioned how I had switched my cell phone from major cell phone provider to a prepaid service TracFone. Purchased 3,000 minutes for two years and a cell phone for about $250 buck. So I want from $50 per month for that to about $10. Since I am not a heavy cell phone user this worked for me. The service is sometimes not available and the phone is certainly not an Iphone but I basically just wanted a phone to use occasionally. So it works for me.

The details: I went to their website tracfone.com and purchased a decent phone with all the buttons on the screen. The phone came with triple minutes so I purchased 1000 and got 3000. For an additional $40 I extended the minutes from one to two years. It does emails and gives a full keyboard so you can type text messages. You can also browse the internet but the screen is so small why bother plus it eats up minutes and is definitely slower than a high speed connection.

I also got rid of my fax line and switched to internet fax. It took a little getting used to but now it is almost or more convenient than a traditional fax machine. Most of the software I use generates PDF files and they are easy to fax and easy for the recipient to print. So I do not have to print out a page and then go and manually load it on the machine and then send it. And the internet fax server sends me an email message to let me know it has gone through or not. If your software does not generate PDF files you can generated them with a printer driver that looks like a printer to your software but it creates PDF files. I have been using BULLZIP pdf driver. I down loaded it from the internet. They ask for an optional donation but do not actually charge you. I have been using it for months with no problems. It enables me to email and fax documents that before I could only print. VERY HANDY!

With the above changes I am saving close to $170 a month by basically putting all my communication on the internet and switching to a cheaper prepaid Cellphone service. If your have a reliable high speed internet connection you might want to consider this also

PS: I do not work for or have any financial connection to any of the products or services mentioned above.


Bernie Littman, Owner, e Learn Aid.com

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