How To Get [Basically] FREE Home Phone Service!

by J. Money -

save money w/ ooma telo home phone service

[This is post #1 in a 3-part series on how to save money with your cable, phone, and internet bills. And also how to FAIL at it the same time.]

This post is going to be bitter sweet. On one hand I found a KILLER way to save some dough on our home phone line and am super excited about it (it’s basically FREE now for us!!), but on the other hand I might have just screwed myself and potentially paying more.

(Wait, didn’t he just say this trick SAVES you tons of money? How could you pay more when you’re actually saving? Ugh… read on…)

The Challenge Everything mission continues…

For those who have been following along, you know I’m on a crazy mission where I’m challenging ALL my bills no matter big and small or how much I love the service I’m using or not. I’ve cut our car insurance bill down by $30 a month so far with this strategy, and I even dropped our iPhones forever and switched to Republic Wireless to save a cool $100 every month too. I didn’t think I had the balls to try it, but here we are a month in without the iPhones and so far I haven’t died yet ;) Though, I must admit I’m still in Android culture shock…

The next item on this challenge list was to cut down our cable/phone/internet bill. Only instead of calling them like a normal person first, I thought I’d game the system and try and figure out ways to save BEFORE I made that dreaded call so I knew what to ask for to further impact the savings. Plus, I can think of 1,008 more things I’d rather do than call our cable provider (Verizon) anyways. Like, say, poke my eyes out with hot skewers or jumping into a large lake full of piranhas. Naked.

So I sat down with the wife and we chatted about what we absolutely needed to keep, and what we wouldn’t mind getting rid of. And that list looked like this:

  • We need internet or J$ doesn’t have a job
  • We need like TV because it’s fun entertainment and we’re not hardcore enough to drop it (yet)
  • And we’d also like to keep our home phone for emergencies and convenience (and for our boys to use it to talk to grandma/grandpa instead of our phones which they’d prob break! Haha…). But not for $30+/mo anymore like idiots. (It’s amazing how fast your mentality changes when you stop to look at what you’re actually paying for stuff. Especially with bills you’ve kept the same for literally 5 or 10 or even 15 years! Just because it made sense then doesn’t mean it still does now!)

Basically we wanted everything we already had, but for much cheaper ;) And perhaps not as many TV channels cuz honestly how many of them do you actually watch anyways? (Like 1/20th)

So the genius I was thought:

“Hey! If I can figure out a way to get our home phone cheaper, then we can just call Verizon up an cancel it and save $30 off the bat! And then drop some TV channels and save even more! Easy peasy!”

So off I went scouring the internets looking for ways to grab less-than-$30/mo home phone service, and I stumbled across SLEW of options I had heard about but never before considered. There was MagicJack, Vonage, Skype, and what would soon become my new favorite, Ooma. All of which I believe uses the internet to power your line, thereby being able to drop the costs significantly. With MagicJack having the worst reviews I have ever seen EVER online btw, wow…

Here’s a pretty kick-ass comparison of them all if interested: Which is best?

This “internet trick” is called VoIP (Voice Over IP, or “Internet Protocol”) and is the same way Republic Wireless is able to offer such insanely low cell phone plans too – apparently it’s what all the cool kids are dong these days ;)

My Land Line Replacement Choice: Ooma Telo

After reading all the reviews and itching to test out the best one, I ran with Ooma because it turns out most of my blogging buddies who still have land lines happen to use them too. And if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! Plus, they were ranked #1 for VoIP by PC Magazine, as well as a #1 best seller on Amazon too. And all their reviews were decent-to-amazing, and miles beyond that of MagicJack (Vonage’s was good too, but they charge a monthly fee which Ooma doesn’t, so….).

I reached out to Ooma to get a review box to test out and keep (the power of being a blogger, eh?) and a few weeks later I was up and running and using Ooma as my new – cheap as HELL – land line. The dial tone sounds a bit strange (it’s like a jingle every time you turn on the phone, haha…), but other than that I honestly can’t tell a difference and have no complaints whatsoever.

The best part? It literally costs $3.00* a month!! That’s a 90% savings if you’re coming from a cable/internet/phone provider that charges $30 like ours. And the only reason you have to pay the $3.00 is ‘cuz of taxes – like to cover 911 calls/etc. Ooma’s service is actually free – all you have to do is snatch up their “Telo” box which currently costs $129.99 on Amazon. A steep amount at first glance, but when you consider it would be paid off in 4-5 months and then you get almost FREE monthly service forever, it paints a different story ;) And if you’re lucky to buy it when they’re offering one of their $30 off rebates, you can even scratch off another month.

[*Taxes are different in each state so the # can be a little lower or higher depending on where you live]

And it’s so easy to use a caveman can do it:

how ooma works

I think it took me approximately 7 minutes to read/attach/and then move on with my life ;)

ooma phone setup

That’s the GOOD part to this story. Ooma can save you $27+ every month!

The bad part? Apparently you cant just “cut out” services from your cable provider like I thought you could :( I mean, you CAN, but if you have a bundle with them, you’d actually pay MORE every month because they discount all the services you use when you have a lot of them, so when you drop one from the package, the others (in this case, internet and tv) go UP! And to the point of it making your bill even *higher* than had you just stayed put with your home line.

ARRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

That means that EVEN if you found a killer new service to use like Ooma, you just can’t cut the cord w/ your cable provider. A minor detail that would have been helpful HAD I JUST CALLED THEM FIRST. I guess they’re well aware of us cost cutting hackers…

So what’s the next move?

Well, for starters I’m keeping my Ooma. I love how easy and seamless it is just like our old phone line (you can still use your *same* phones btw too – the only difference is a box is now involved instead of a telephone chord), and at $3/mo it’s a freakin’ steal. And since we DO plan on leaving our nasty “cable bundle” at some point in the future, it’ll be 1/3 less stuff to figure out when we finally pull the trigger. Though, technically, yes – we’re now paying for two phone lines instead of one, ugh.

But of course I didn’t just leave it at that ;)

I DID end up calling Verizon and getting my bill worked on AND lowered (it was pretty fun to call them ON the Ooma phone, haha…), but I’m going to save that for part #3 of this mini-series. I still have to tell you all about how I tried to hack our TV portion too and how I also figured out something awesome there, while at the same time FAILING once again… It seems I’m on a roll over here ;)

Stay tuned for our next post! If you haven’t seen any of the previous “Challenge Everything” articles yet, you can check them out here:

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UPDATE: I’ve been getting some emails and comments about how we don’t “need” a home phone and how it’s crazy to keep one, yada yada yada, so wanted to address it real quick and mention a few other reasons we’re keeping it around.

I agree completely – at this point in technology having a home phone is definitely a “want” vs a “need” – which is why I never called it that above ;) We consciously choose to keep a home phone around out of convenience and emergencies and other reasons such as:

  • Having a back up for when our cells die (I’m always forgetting to charge mine!)
  • A more comfortable experience talking vs on a cell phone which yes, we’re all used to, but still not as good as a regular ol’ cordless (at least in my opinion)
  • Our kids like to call grandma and grandpa and no way we’re giving them our cell phones for that!

So, yes – we could live without a home phone. But we choose not to. Just like some of you choose to spend money on perms or nails or your cabbage patch collection I could care less about. This is the beauty of “personal” finance – it’s personal ;)

UPDATE 2: Part II of this 3-part series can be found here.

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley August 27, 2014 at 6:29 am

Good job with the land line. But dude! Cancle that cable! You can watch a lot of shows on the interwebs or through iTunes or Netflix or Amazon prime for way less. We cancled cable a couple of years ago and don’t feel at all deprived.

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2 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 8:02 am

Oh, believe me, I’m slowly figuring this out ;) Just have a road block currently in my way while will be blogging about soon.

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3 Jay @ ThinkingWealthy.com August 27, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Is your road block the same as mine?

One word: Sports!

More words: I just spent even more money upgrading my subscription for the SEC network (Go Gamecocks!) and NFL Redzone… it’s a yearly ritual!

Jay

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4 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

Haha… No, different roadblocks actually but partially similar – only on the part of my wife and not me ;)

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5 IV August 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

Well, that is if you don’t like to watch any sports or don’t mind watching many shows a year after they aired. Basic cable is not much more than paying for Amazon Prime, Hulu+. and Netflix.

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6 Simon Cave August 27, 2014 at 6:41 am

Hey J, I’m sure you can get rid of the TV, there are so many stuff to read and watch on the Internet nowadays ;)

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7 Tony August 27, 2014 at 6:42 am

Nice stuff J$. I’ve been doing the same this month. I switch my cellphone bill to the Sprint Framily plan with my family and I’m paying $40 a month roughly for my iPhone.

I plan to get Ooma fairly soon and this was a great explanation of it. I have Verizon too, but we never got the phone with our package making it cheaper up front.

Later dude.

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8 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

Even better! Perfect situation to pick up Ooma then :) Great job on $40/mo for the iPhone too – that’s damn good.

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9 Brian August 27, 2014 at 7:42 am

I save $30/month by not having a home phone.

I understand the emergency argument, but what made landlines great was they would work when you didn’t have power. If you don’t have power now, you don’t have internet because your cable modem needs power, so that doesn’t solve that emergency issue to me…

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10 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 8:06 am

Oh, very true on that – agreed. For us it’s more about our cells dying (or forgetting to be charged up) when needing to use the phone. And, even more so, just the convenience of home phones – esp with little kids around. The last thing you want to do is hand them your smartphone to call grandma with and then have it thrown across the room cuz they think it’s funny ;)

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11 Brian August 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

That’s the truth. Kids do love to throw phones for no logical reason. We are lucky that our little guy doesn’t throw our phones or ipad because he “gets” facetime as a concept.

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12 Jay @ ThinkingWealthy.com August 27, 2014 at 8:00 am

Nice job. Have you ever explored using Google Voice? Great service! Although, I’d rather not have a home phone since I have a work and a personal cell.

Jay

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13 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 8:06 am

I have google voice! I use it for some work and consulting calls – def. cool one :)

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14 debs August 27, 2014 at 8:05 am

We have Ooma. We always hear great. Sometimes those on the other end of the line complain but it seems to be hit or miss. We haven’t figured out what the common factor may be when this occurs. Anyways, it’s not enough to dump it. We love the $3.98 we pay per month in Canada (including taxes). We bought our Ooma at Costco. Before we bought it we switched our internet (which was bundled with phone) to Tek Savvy which is great. We had a lot of problems with Primus internet before (dropping internet connection) and zero problems with Tek Savvy now. We pay $47.40 to TekSavvy. Don’t know if it is available in US or not.

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15 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 8:08 am

Haven’t heard of TekSavvy personally, but I’m glad you found a better provider that works :) We’ll have to see if this Ooma here causes any trouble as time goes on, but so far so good!

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16 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life August 27, 2014 at 8:09 am

I scrapped my landline altogether a few years ago. Though, if I had a family, I guess we might need a home phone.

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17 Brian @ Debt Discipline August 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

Any issue with an Alarm system? I have a dirty little secret to share. I work for a company and as part of my benefits get free cable/phone/internet. Shh don’t tell anyone.

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18 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

Alarm system? Not sure I follow… we don’t have one of those in our house.

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19 Brian @ Debt Discipline August 28, 2014 at 7:53 am

Okay. Houses with security or alarm systems require a phone line for call back when alarm goes off, just wondering how that would work with this set up.

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20 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Ah gotcha… I have no idea, but someone in the comments below mentioned this for ya :)

“Some, especially older ones use signalling.on the telephone line which is required to work right which do not work with Ooma or any of its VOIP competitors. Many systems now are wireless. Obvious concern there is does company monitor some sort of keep alive signal or does a simple cell jammer mean you are breached and noone is coming. The other reason to have a circuit over just cell.”

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21 Laurie @wellkeptwallet August 27, 2014 at 8:45 am

Can’t wait to read the next part in this series!!! We pay $90 a month for our internet/landline because there’s only one provider in the area and they’ve got us all over a barrel. Would love to kick them to the curb!!!

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22 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

Hopefully it helps you! It’s interesting how many cool options are out there when you stop to look around :) (And test stuff out)

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23 a terrible husband... August 27, 2014 at 8:55 am

Love Ooma. We don’t have a home phone but I’m thinking of adding Ooma to have a # that’s not one of our cells, voicemail, etc., and something for the kids to call the Grandparents, too. Of course, that’ll just add $$ but I just lowered my cell phone bill by $90 per month by teaming up with a cheap friend for a family plan on AT&T…. :)

So there’s that….

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24 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:14 am

Hah! Sneaky sneaky

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25 Elisabeth August 27, 2014 at 9:09 am

I haven’t had cable television since 2004 when I moved out of my parents house at 18. Cut the cable – you can do it. My friends pay over $100/month for cable television. Thats well over $10,000 I have saved so far by not having cable.

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26 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

I agree it’s smart financially, but it’s not for everyone. I actually enjoy watching tv an hour every night to unwind a bit, and my wife even more. She’d divorce me if I cut everything out completely ;)

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27 Elisabeth August 27, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Oh, I totally unwind an hour or two every night with TV also – after upgrading to Netflix. There are SO many more options than on cable TV, it’s commercial-free, and it’s VASTLY cheaper.

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28 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

Agreed – wait to see Friday’s post ;) Though I do actually enjoy commercials like a weirdo? Only on TV though – I can’t stand them on Radio – always so SKETCHY sounding!

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29 [email protected] August 27, 2014 at 9:09 am

Nice!

I thought you said you were going to buy a magic jack!

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30 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

I did? Haha… if so, it was right before I got to the nasty reviews ;) It was super tempting to get cuz it’s so cheap!

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31 [email protected] August 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm

No, sorry. What I meant was…

“I thought you were going to say you bought a magic jack!”

I have read the reviews also and they are bad. I guess that’s what you should expect when you spend something like $19 per year on phone service =)

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32 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

Ahhh gotcha. Yeah, believe me it was plan A when I first went to their site! The power of spending a few mins and researching though, boy…

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33 Kassandra @ More Than Just Money August 27, 2014 at 9:24 am

Take it from me, DON’T buy the Magic Jack! It’s a pure waste of money…I don’t even know where ours is at this point because I got so frustrated with the poor quality of reception. And what is with the cable – buy an antenna and join the rest of us once you can get out of your existing bundle/contract!

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34 Kassandra @ More Than Just Money August 27, 2014 at 9:24 am

I forgot to end my comment on a positive note – high five for the Ooma :)

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35 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:17 am

haha… you’re like me, wanting to stay positive – love it :)

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36 [email protected] August 27, 2014 at 9:41 am

I have the Ooma Telo too…you really can’t beat $3 a month for home phone service. I think the older model of the Ooma was totally free, not sure how that works but apparently you can still get the older model somewhere. I’ve never had cable t.v and only cable internet so didn’t have the problem with cutting phone service. Cutting cable t.v is not hardcore! =) Oh back to Ooma…I’ve heard that it can be a hassle to port your old number over to the Ooma service, did you do that and how was it? I didn’t have to go through that process, just got a new number.

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37 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:24 am

That’s a great question! Forgot to mention that above – no, we didn’t keep our old number just cuz it’s only 1 year old anyways since we moved to a new state, and the only ones who really use it is our family (so we just gave them our new one). I would have probably maded the xfer if it was free, but didn’t want to spend the $30 or whatever it is to port.

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38 Mrs. Frugalwoods August 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

I need to be better about calling our various peeps and finagling better deals. We don’t have too many bills as is, but internet is the big bad expense for us.

You’d be totally fine without cable, I promise! We watch a ton of stuff on YouTube (how-to vides, home improvements tips, and funny dogs!). We also have a Roku box, which I highly recommend–one-time expense of $30 (at the time we bought it) and nearly endless shows. Love your challenge everything mentality!

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39 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:24 am

You’ll see our dilemma in a cple days ;)

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40 superbien August 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

Nice job on going VOIP!

Re Brian’s content about home phones being powered still during a power outage: generally true, but not necessarily. Telcos see copper wire as outdated tech so it’s disappearing and not being replaced.

I agree about cable – cut that bad boy out! I found that cable Internet virtually costs the same as cable Internet + cable tv… Until I found Clear wireless internet ($50/month), which I used to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. I switched but found the reception could be spotty – I called FIOS and they matched the $50 price for Internet, and I’ve had that rate for several years now, even with 3 house moves. (Note: Sprint bought )

That said, I’ve heard about FreedomPop, and that it only costs $4/month for 3g/4g service. Not sure how well that could work for streaming Netflix. (J$, I think that’d make a great blog post…)

[Correction: FreedomPop is $20/month for 10 Mbps. I currently pay FIOS $50/month for 50 mbps.]

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41 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

When I asked Verizon how much internet was on its own if I cut out cable/phone they said $90! Crazy…. I’ve heard of freedompop but haven’t researched much, so I will – thx!

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42 jestjack August 27, 2014 at 10:02 am

Interesting article….keep up the good work! Let us know how you make out with the internet/cable situation. Pretty sure you have the same company as I do….the company everyone loves to hate…Comcast, I’m currently in a battle with them over being without service for days and then being charged for repairs…to their equipment. If Verizon brought Fios thru…I’d start service the very next day. Wow $3 for Phone serve. My brother had Majic Jack as he was trying to save a couple of bucks and it was AWFUL…hope Oomma is better…

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43 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

that seems to be the word on the street with MagicJack… I feel like they were the pioneers originally though? So at least they have that going for them :)

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44 Mom @ Three is Plenty August 27, 2014 at 10:02 pm

They were never pioneers (unless you count *really* crappy service and malware/spyware on your computer pioneering…) They never got QoS right, which resulted in crappy calls…

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45 Sam August 27, 2014 at 10:02 am

I make calls overseas. What do you think of Ooma world plan package? For domestic, it is around $3, but to call overseas looks like I need to sign up separately. Anybody have any experience with it?

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46 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:29 am

Huh, great question. I didn’t look into it myself because I use Skype for all my international calls. Either on the computer if it’s a work one during the work-week, or the Skype app on my phone for other times. And it’s free! :)

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47 Becky @ RunFunDone August 27, 2014 at 10:07 am

J, I’m confused about your need for a landline. Get an otterbox for your phone so that the monsters can’t hurt it. Then try to explain to me how a landline is helpful “for emergencies.” What sort of emergency requires a landline? A murder? Nope, you’d already be dead, no need for a phone. A fire? Um, you’d be out of the house away from your landline. An injury? Your cell phone would work just fine for that.

My point is, the only time my cell phone doesn’t work is when I’m far, far away from my home. It always works at my house…which is where a potential landline would be hooked up. I mean, I know that now it’s “only” $3/month, but it’s something that you simply don’t need!

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48 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

Well it’s good then that I never said it was a “need” ;) It’s definitely a “want” that we consciously choose to keep out of convenience/comfort. I like being able to use a normal phone to make calls instead of my cell all the time. And when it dies cuz I forget to charge it, I can just pick up the home and use it. Or when I’m an idiot and break/lose my cell phone – bam! Still got my home phone! When was the last time you lost your home phone?

So it’s more out of convenience that we keep it than a need. If we were going balls to the walls here trying to win a competition to save money then yeah – it would be gone. But for life it’s a luxury we’ll be keeping around on the cheap.

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49 Becky @ RunFunDone September 4, 2014 at 12:43 am

Well, I have to admit…sometimes I lose my phone and then have to use skype while I try to find it! :)

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50 Done by Forty August 27, 2014 at 10:22 am

We’ve got the same problem with our TV & wifi service. If we cut our DirecTV out, we certainly will save something…but then we’ll also lose a bit of our savings, too.

Have you ever tried the calling feature through gmail (coupled with google voice)? I use that for just about all my calls now. And the price ($0) is right. :)

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51 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

Interesting! No, I haven’t tried that out. I have a google voice # but don’t pay attention to it much until someone calls me on it :)

It does remind me of a trick I read at some point though that said you could turn your old iPhone sitting at home into a landline somehow. Or, at least a back up # to use as a home phone. I kinda liked the idea (i could try an sell my phone but the camera’s broken on it so not sure what the market would give me for it) but I’d still prefer to use our home handsets for everything. So much more comfier than talking on a cell phone all day long.

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52 Shane C August 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

I’ve heard alot of things about Ooma and had been tempted to get one myself and give It a whirl. However, I noticed the commercials for BasicTalk that Walmart sells for roughly $10 and decided to give It a try Instead. (Yes, I was going the cheap route! lol) I’ve been very Impressed with It so far, Granted, the service will cost a bit more then Ooma. In my case I pay between $12-$13 monthly which is still super affordable and all calls, Including most international areas, are unlimited.

I do agree with the assessment regarding MagicJack. Have used their device and wasn’t too pleased with It. Too many complaints from others that I was echoing, they couldn’t me well enough, or constant static off and on. However, I have used their IOS app and It actually works pretty good. I haven’t tried the Android version. Guess I’ll add that to my growing list of things to do.

I’m also Interested In the the next part of your mini-series and what you were able to accomplish with Verizon. Hopefully some nice tactics I can put to use with my service with them.

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53 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

$12-$13 a month is still better than $30! So I’d still consider that a win :)

The next post will drop on Friday – hope it helps!

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54 Michelle Marcus August 27, 2014 at 10:51 am

So what happens when your Internet is out? That’s why I won’t do it.

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55 J. Money August 27, 2014 at 10:59 am

Then it won’t work. And you pick up your cell phone :)

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56 Shannon @ Financially Blonde August 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

I have never heard of this, but our landline has been the last prickly item for us here and I would love to find a different solution. We actually have Verizon for our wireless as well and have found them very helpful in cutting costs for us, so sounds like something we need to try out.

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57 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Perhaps I could make it to week #2 of being your favorite person again :)

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58 Jen @ Jen Spends August 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

We’ve been with Vonage for years, but the price has slowly crept up and up and up. I think our actual plan costs $12.99 per month, but with taxes and fees, it’s closer to $20. One of the many reasons we keep a “landline” is for calling my husband’s family in England inexpensively, and I’m also really really bad about keeping cell phones charged. The upfront cost of Ooma kind of made me balk, but MagicJack seems to have its drawbacks, too (the fee for transferring a number chief among them).

We ditched digital cable long ago, but decided to keep basic rather than doing the antenna thing. The biggest portion of our bill is high speed internet, and the cable is $12 per month. We were recently gifted a new TV for our anniversary, and I’m amazed at the channels we get with just basic! I need to buy my own modem so we can get rid of the $5/month rental fee. We currently pay $80/month for high speed internet + basic cable.

Anyway, I say do what works for you. People who are really in dire straits should do what it takes to cut back on extras, but if you like your cable and can afford it, why not?

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59 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Have you tried Skype yet for international calling? Anytime I’m out of the country I just use the Skype app on my phone to call home and vice versa. You need to be connected to wifi/internet so you don’t run up data/roaming/etc, but it might be an option And it’s free :)

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60 Brian August 27, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Check out Nettalk too. I think it is even cheaper because the initial hardware cost is less (around $40) with a smaller footprint (smaller than deck of cards) and it only costs $2.50 or so a month. ($30 per year)

I’ve used it for several years now and it works great. You pay even less if you pay up front for multiple years.

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61 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Cool, thx man – hadn’t heard of before :)

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62 Beth August 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I was on the verge of canceling our land line as well BUT…I have recently had to deal with a child care issue. My kids are 5 and 9. I learned at the last minute that my 5 year old cannot go to the after school program due to his age and now I have no where for him to go from 3:00 until 5:00. If I do not find a solution there is a strong possibility that my kids will have to ride the bus home and be there alone until I get there (All in all – it will probably be for 1.5 hours). IF this happens we will will need that phone for emergencies and calling me to check in! ….the joys of being a working mother! :(

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63 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Oh man, sorry to hear – that’s no fun! Yes, home phones can be important for that type of stuff no doubt. Maybe you can try one of these alternatives we’ve shared here today to at least save more if you’re keeping it around? (And not tied to a dang cable bundle)

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64 Ben @ The Wealth Gospel August 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

I think you’re smart to have a landline if the boys want to call their grandparents. And at only $3/mo., who’s stingy enough to damn you for that?

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65 Mom @ Three is Plenty August 27, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Just so you know – home telephone service from Comcrap/Verizon has been VoIP for years, and long distance service *long* before that…. they just hide it well from you with their fancy boxes. It’s not a new service, and I’ve been using it since the days of DSL. We use callcentric for our VoIP service, but you can use many different companies, depending on the services you want/need. We used to use Lingo (one of the first “consumer” VoIP services).

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66 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Comcrap – HAH!

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67 Jason August 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

I have an old Ooma Hub on the original contract. Since I don’t accept the new TOS, I don’t pay taxes :) I’ve been looking at Freedompop. It runs on Sprint’s Data network. Voice service is VOIP if you have a phone. They have internet hotspots too. I want to say the unlimited plan is a reasonable price. Now whether you have enough signal where you use it would be the big issue. Gamers will of course want to keep their wired internet but most others won’t know the difference. Of course the TOS has something about excessive use which could lead to throttling. My opinion is keep wired internet if you stream video or use other big data. Consider keeping voice signal supplied on your cell carrier because it works more places, especially roaming. I also think it wise to have a non-cell provided telephone that is connected to a wired circuit -telco or ISP. Too often emergencies happen and the cell network gets jammed up. One last thought: Consider backup power, even an ups for your Ooma and network equipment.

Someone asked about an alarm system…. Some, especially older ones use signalling.on the telephone line which is required to work right which do not work with Ooma or any of its VOIP competitors. Many systems now are wireless. Obvious concern there is does company monitor some sort of keep alive signal or does a simple cell jammer mean you are breached and noone is coming. The other reason to have a circuit over just cell.

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68 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Solid info man, thanks for passing it along

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69 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank August 28, 2014 at 5:33 am

I’ve been a user of Ooma for more than a year. So far it’s so good because of the low monthly service fees and I am able to make phone calls anywhere inside the US plus it supports fax machines!

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70 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Oh that’s cool! Didn’t know about the fax stuff!

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71 Kalen Bruce August 28, 2014 at 6:58 am

That’s an awesome way to save, but yeah the bundling crap sucks. That’s why we just have internet. We get a call every couple weeks offering to bundle and add cable, but it’s just a trick! Bundling is terrible when you want to cut things to save money.

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72 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Apparently so. Though if you DO want all 3 I guess it’s decent. But only if you call every 6 months and ask for your bill to be lowered cuz it always gets pushed higher and higher for no (what seems like) good reason!

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73 Syed August 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I experienced the same thing recently as my contract was almost up with verizon. My bill was about to shoot up by $30/month so I called them and re-negotiated a new contract which is actually $10 lower than before with a slightly lower TV component. I’ve been happy with verizon but once this bundle contract is up, we will most likely cancel cable and get an Ooma like yourself. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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74 No Nonsense Landlord August 28, 2014 at 11:27 pm

I saved a ton by going to Magic jack. And kept my old land line number. Now the cable is next on the chopping block.

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75 Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet August 30, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I tried the Ooma and noticed there was a 1-2 second delay with all the calls I made. Not a big deal but big enough to make for some awkward conversations. I didn’t keep it long as it persisted and customer service’s only suggestion was to hook up the Ooma directly to the modem, which meant no one else could use the internet while I was talking on the phone

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76 J. Money September 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

That’s pretty annoying, I would have dropped it too at that point (and will in the future if that occurs, but so far it hasn’t – even once! whew)

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77 jbiggs @ thisjustmakescents.com September 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

My has been flawless as well. I set my modem to “bridged” mode through a hack I found on the internet. I’m using DSL. Seems to be much cheaper over cable and FiOS but haven’t done much research to prove that out, only personal experience.

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78 Karen @ Money Saving Enthusiast August 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Good challenge, friend. Very interesting! I’ve been wondering about the Republic Wireless. $100 a month is a big savings. A major zing to the budget in a good way.

Our contracts are about to expire so I may have to talk with my husband. I think it’s smart to keep the land line. I just saw on the Dr. Oz show that it’s easier to locate someone calling 911 if they use a land line.

I hear ya on the TV too. I like all of my cooking shows, talk shows and sports.

Thanks for the nudge. I always get one when I check in here.

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79 J. Money September 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I think you guys will like it :) Worst case you pocket the savings over the months and then start back fresh with another carrier again. Would be annoying, but not the end of the world.

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80 DivHut September 2, 2014 at 2:50 am

Ooma is awesome for anyone who wants to keep a “landline” phone. We have been with Ooma for one year and it has been a pleasure paying about $4 a month instead of $35 with AT&T. I wrote about my experience a little while ago titled, “I Saved $372 On My Home Phone” http://divhut.com/2014/05/i-saved-372-on-my-home-phone/

I can honestly say that after using it for a full year we experienced 0 issues of any kind and the call quality is perfect. I highly recommend as I use a home phone a lot and do not have an unlimited plan on my cel phone. This way I can save on my cel minutes. Help spread the word about Ooma!

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81 J. Money September 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Cool – glad you’ve found it great after so long! So far so good here too, but we’re only in month #1 :)

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82 Justin B September 11, 2014 at 4:14 am

Hi J$,

I pay $30/mo. for my 12M DSL and my Ooma works great over the 12M connection. I was using phonepower.com VoIP before the Telo but their intro rate turned into $15/mo. Now I have the Telo and am paying only $3.67/mo. That really only saved me ~$6 over the intro rate and about $12 over the rate they were going to give me had I kept phonepower. ROI not so great but still feasible. Also the Telo goes on sale quite frequently so it can be had for around $100.

Also, the Telo and your internet can be powered via a battery backup aka UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply, making it safe(r) for during power failures. Most ISPs have their head ends on battery backup. Of course, during an extended power outage this would be an issue. Hopefully, the cell phone would be in the pocket by then.

I have a wife who cannot ever find her cell phone and a small child so for my budget this particular thing has been deemed a necessity.

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83 J. Money September 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Interesting about the UPS – never heard of that before!

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84 jbiggs @ thisjustmakescents.com September 13, 2014 at 9:02 am

A lot of people haven’t. I work in IT so I’m you’re man if you need any tech advice! Hit me up!

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85 Elizabeth September 12, 2014 at 10:15 am

I didn’t take the time to read through all the comments, so I’m sorry if this has already been suggested. (I’m also a bit behind on reading your blog because I suddenly got crazy busy, but that’s a different story).

One of your reasons for keeping the landline is so that the kids can call their grandparents. I want to suggest what my kids do. I’ve got a 3 year old and a 9 month old. We use Skype to call the grandparents every Sunday. It keeps their attention longer because they can SEE the grandparents and show them a new toy or make funny faces at them. Then it also isn’t a big deal when we finally get to visit each other because it’s not just a who is this random face, but I remember who this is.

I did have to have a tech chat with my mom to get her set up, but since it is easy to use, it wasn’t too challenging.

We cut our landline a couple of months ago. A few times when one of us forgets to charge our cell phone we regret this choice, but so far we haven’t had any problems.

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86 J. Money September 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm

YES! Great point! Oddly enough we used to do that a lot and for some reason went back to just phones again… We’ll have to start it back up again – fortunately they already know how to do it! :)

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87 jbiggs September 13, 2014 at 8:38 am

Nice post J$. We use the Telo as well. We pay $3.67 a month. Honestly, my wife and I just feel safer with our home phone. The chances of my wife finding her phone at any given point are near zero.

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88 Chris September 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Can you use this when your computer is turned off and also we don’t

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89 Rose March 27, 2016 at 11:16 am

yes you can use the computer when using the phone service which is another bill service we all have to use Ooma phone service, although 4.00 and a lil over is not too bad considering at&t phone service is way too much, which we don’t have to have the internet.. and that’s good too..

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90 Chris September 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm

(continued) also we don’t have cable. Does that have anything to do with it? Thank you.

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91 J. Money September 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Yup, the phone still works regardless of computer. All you need is internet :)

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92 Donna October 20, 2014 at 11:31 am

Wow… I’m a little disappointed that I left a comment about using Magic Jack Plus… and how much I save by using it and cutting my landline. I was just sharing here on my personal savings, although I see that Magic Jack is not a favored service by you and what you read on reviews. I didn’t read the reviews for Magic Jack Plus before trying it because I personally knew people who used it and loved it. That is why I wanted to offer another opinion about the bad reviews you read to show that some people are very satisfied and it’s a great savings! You’ll always see more bad reviews than good ones online… because people who are satisfied don’t need to complain. However, after coming back here to read up on newer comments, I see that my comment was removed. Oh well, I guess I shouldn’t waste my time anymore commenting and sharing information that gets tossed for disagreeing with the bad reviews some say about a product that I’ve been satisfied using despite the reviews read online.

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93 J. Money October 20, 2014 at 11:46 am

It was removed? Unless it contained spam or hurtful words towards anyone, I wouldn’t delete a comment. *Especially* one that offers a new opinion on a subject – we love that here! :) Maybe your comment went to spam by accident or something? Either way I’m sorry to hear, but glad you came back to share again. If MagicJack works for you, great! I’m sure it does for people or else they’d have gone out of business long ago. I say rock whatever helps you and continue sharing on your thoughts.

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94 Peter January 9, 2015 at 4:52 pm

We’ve had Ooma for over two years now, and we love it! It has saved us hundreds at this point.

One thing about Ooma that’s kind of cool is how even though you’re paying a lot less (we pay about $4.50/month vs. $43 for landline we used to have) you actually get a lot more functionality. With Ooma we now have online voicemail, call forwarding, blocklists, .mp3 downloads of voicemails, and on and on.

Ooma also recently announced some cool integration with some home automation tools, like the Nest Thermostat – which we also have. Basically the Nest can tell when you’re away from the house, and allow the temp in the house go up or down to save you money. When the Nest thermostat goes into away mode, soon it’ll be able to talk with your Ooma phone system , and let it know you’re away. If you have the Ooma Premier subscription it can then forward your phone calls to your cell so you never miss a call.

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95 J. Money January 31, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Woahhh that’s kinda cool!! Never heard of that before!

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96 SL April 21, 2015 at 11:40 am

One perk of having a landline that is NOT included in Ooma (actually I don’t believe it would work with cable either – we still have a real land line) Is that in case of a power outage a landline continues to work. If there is a storm or extended power outage you may not be able to charge a cell phone and being to contact people is important. With a REAL landline (plugs into a phone jack not an outlet..) your phone will continue to work as the electricity is independent. I think particularly for people with kids that is important to remember. I know its hard to shell out money for ‘what ifs’ but I tend to feel for things that can be important safety-wise in a ‘what-if’ (and not totally crazy and unrealistic like zombie apocalypse) can be better to spend for now then not have later…

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97 J. Money April 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

Hah – good point actually. This has happened once so far with us, and you’re right – the phone stopped working. Fortunately the cells were charged and the outage only lasted a handful of hours around bed time, but if it was a long one it would be more troublesome.

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98 "Mad" Max Speedwell September 9, 2015 at 9:47 am

Well… I did it… I hacked Ooma… maybe. Went to Search Tempest and took a 3,500 mile trip around Craig’s List. Didn’t have to search all 3,500 miles. I found a few Ooma boxes at low prices ($50, like new!”). Assuming a used Ooma box would be “provider approved”, it would be possible to pay for Ooma in less than two months ($27 x 2 = $54). Of course the Ooma hardware does use a few pennies of electricity each month…. Did also find Google voice, plus phones for $100. A service the seller stated he preferred to Ooma.

Not the next step, but a future step… hacking my hotel bill. Long story short… my wife & I spend about thirty or more days each year in hotels. We would prefer to save that horrible expense. One day I was moving rigid foam insulation board and at the same time happened to recall a magazine article from about 1958 (ok, I’m not a “Spring chicken”). A light bulb moment! Should cut our hotel bill by 60%! I have most everything in place to implement the savings, now I just need to dedicate a few hours (150 plus hours) to realize the savings. Somehow I need to get that “hotel hack” up & going. Despite the high cost, it would break-even at about four months! Woo-hoo!!

-“Mad” Max Speedwell

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99 J. Money September 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Haha, rock on… Just saw an email come from you that I’ll check out in a few, but I love that your brain is always on and looking for those savings! You can always try to restore an old RV or something too to live in instead of hotels maybe?

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100 Rose March 27, 2016 at 11:09 am

THat is not true that ooma is totally free..I have ooma and they charge me a fee every month..and so free means free as in paying nothing once we buy their equipment, we stll have to pay them everyone. So don’t off like we don’t pay after we buy their boxes cause we do have to pay Ooma each and every month and Ooma is always going up on our bill..Mostly every month Ooma charges a different higher amount from our account. OK yes, Ooma is not totally free..that is so false advertising..

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101 J. Money March 28, 2016 at 11:50 am

That’s why is said it was “basically” free :)

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102 earlwallace October 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Great article! I have been using ooma for over a year on a low bandwidth Uverse line and it is nice. The ooma box adjusts voice quality with bandwidth availability making consistently good voice quality. I do want to advise DO NOT give up a landline if you have one. Our cell towers and internet went down during a bad storm and the power was off for days. The landline has its own power source which came in handy for possible 911 calls and pure convenience. I have 2 voip services along with cell phones and the landline.-earlwallace

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103 J. Money October 6, 2016 at 10:00 am

Yeah, def. a con when losing electricity. At least it’s usually far and few between? I always figured I could go in my car and charge up my cell phone in those cases, but you never know…

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104 Dale October 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Hey J$ and family penny pinchers!
An option for around the house ‘phone’ is getting an android phone without cell service. Then use the TextNow app which does voip over your home wifi, or any good public wifi. It is pretty simple and easy, and totally free (minus the phone). Don’t buy the Sprint network based cell service though, unless you live in the one place covered by that network, or unless you want to buy a new cheap phone (as little as $10 for the phone, and $13 for one month of cell service), then cancel the cell service but keep the phone and use it just on wifi.
At home we use callcentric voip, it’s been near 10 years on that. It’s about $10 a month total including the calls we typically make. I should maybe cancel it, but it’s got our original home number ported to it, and it does voice mails to email, so it’s good for being mobile. It was about $30 to port the original home number to it. It does do the e911 service. . Oh, I bought a voip adapter, Grandstream Handytone, that was $30 or so. Before that I had a hacked voip router for $40?
Sh!t, so I’ve spent about $10*12*10 = $1200 on home phone service in the past 10 years. We’ll have to have a home meeting about this…..
At home, to avoid family fears about power outages, I keep a UPS running the cable modem and the voip box. It lasts at least 6 hours, and if the power is out that long then the cable service is usually down by then too anyway.

Dale

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105 J. Money October 31, 2016 at 10:36 am

Creative! Thanks Dale :)

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