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Out with the Old, In with the New – Switching Phone Companies

by Debt Destroyer on January 9, 2009

As most of you know, I list my monthly expenses ( here is last month’s) to help track where my family is spending our money.  Not only is it good for us to see where improvements can be made, but posting them online has also allowed me to gather money saving tips from all of you.

THANK YOU!

three-old-time-phones-yellow-pink-orangeOne of the most common areas where readers say we could lower our expense was our “Phone & Internet” bill.  We’ve been paying $115.75 a month to Qwest for quite some time now.  This included unlimited local and long distance calling, a bunch of features such as caller ID & voicemail, and high speed internet (DSL).

Deep down I’ve felt that this was too much, but I was content to not “mix things up”.  Remember, I was the guy who held onto Netflix way longer than I should, so clearly I’m hesitant to change.

Well, you will be glad to know that a couple of weeks ago I did “mix things up.”  But it wasn’t the motivation of saving money that got me to make the switch, it was that I was tired of our super slow “high speed” internet.  For the past few months surfing the web turned into an exercise of our patience.

There were many days where I longed for dial-up speeds.

My excuse for not switching sooner was that I didn’t want to mess up things for my wife’s at-home business.  We are not the most tech-friendly household and miraculously our little network has been running fairly smoothly and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of setting anything up again.  Plus we have a nice phone number and I didn’t want to lose it.

Naturally I was relieved when I called the cable company’s sales dept and found out I shouldn’t have to change anything around, including our number.   The news got even better when they told me that they had a six month promotion for Phone & Internet for only $6o (plus fees & taxes, which were estimated to be $15).

So I’ll be saving $40 for the next six months.

Which is nice because I had to buy a new modem and pay for installation. But the real good news is that even after the promotion ends I should still end up saving $10-$15 a month.

It took two weeks for them to come, but we’ve had our new service for about a week now and  so far I really like it.  The internet is much faster!  MUCH FASTER!!!

I have some issues with the phone service; voice quality is one, but I’ll just pretend we’re on a cell phone.  And no multiple voicemail boxes is the other.  We used to have our message set up as “If you want to speak to the DD family stay on the line, if you want the world’s greatest wedding photographer please press 1.”  Now we had to combine them.

No biggie, but I guess you get what you pay for. Which makes me wonder what I was paying for all those months of crawling around the internet.

Speaking of paying for things, I’ve been told my first bill will be brutal but by February things should settle down.  So I got that to look forward to. I’m not big on resolutions, but it’ll be nice to ring in the New Year with some savings.

How about you, what do you pay for phone & internet? Are there any other areas where you will be looking to save money in 2009?

Until next time,

-DD

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Momma January 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

We switched our service to AT&T Uverse this week from Comcast. The internet is more reliable and certainly faster. The Cable TV features are beyond wonderful, and we’re paying about $55 less every month for phone, cable, and internet.

As with you, price isn’t what caused us to change. It was the 4 to 6 hours or internet outage every single day and the constant drops in network connectivity. My husband works from home too, so reliable internet was a MUST.

Glad you got your new package and you’re enjoying it. Saving money for a better product is always a win/win.

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celticbuffy January 9, 2009 at 8:25 pm

We have our home phone, cable, and internet bundled for about $100/month. We do not, however, have long distance, so I signed up with Skype ($30 per year) and now make my long distance calls over the internet. I did have to invest in a slightly higher quality of headset in order to not keep “cutting out” on people. If we didn’t feel we needed a home phone for the kids I’d get rid of it all together.

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Debt Destroyer January 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Thanks for the comments.

@Momma – Wow! 4-6 hours of outages a day? That is crazy Good for you for switching and saving money.

@celticbuffy – $100 is a good price for all 3, too bad it doesn’t include long distance.

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Cassy January 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

This year I am going to save money on my long distance calls. Instead of paying multiple phone bills, I will use the service of skype for calling abroad. It is quite cheap and easy in usage.

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Surviving A Recession January 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I have been using the cable company for years for Cable TV and Internet Connection. I do not think I would ever leave and go back to the phone company. We were with Sprint and the DSL service was simply slow. I am on the computer all day long…and much of the night. One think I will pay money for is a stable Internet connection, especially at 15 Mbps.

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Ernie Small January 15, 2009 at 3:14 am

i pay about 80 bucks a month for AT&T, internet and phone with unlimited US long distance. i have always wondered if i’m paying too much (everyone says i am, but then again, they always asking to use my phone since my long distance is free and getting me to perform the 3-way calling operation when a phone conference is necessary).

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Krunk January 18, 2009 at 1:58 am

Since you use your phone for business, it obviously differs from individual usage. In my experience, once some gets a cell phone, the land line becomes somewhat useless.

However, I do still have a land line, but it’s free (meaning I don’t pay any monthly fees to any service). I combine GrandCentral, IPKall, and FWD. You can read more about them here:

VoiceStick Replacement – IPKall with GrandCentral
Free Outgoing Calls

IPKall provides a free Seattle area phone number and allows you to receive calls from any VoIP service. FWD (FreeWorldDialup) just happens to be a free service where I direct IPKall to forward to.

You do need your own SIP device. I have a Linksys PAP2 which allows me to hook into my regular phone line giving all my phones in the house access to the SIP device.

GrandCentral provides phone numbers in most areas and forwards them to you designated number(s). It also has a little benefit where it allows you to make phone calls, though it’s a lot more complicated than just punching numbers on the telephone.

Another interesting thing I’ve been meaning to check out is T-Mobile @Home. For an additional $10/month, you can make unlimited nationwide calling at home. That’s assuming you already use T-Mobile and have their cell phones.

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Krunk January 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm

I just heard about this new service: ooma

It’s basically a buy our device, get our basic service for free, which includes receiving and making unlimited calls within USA. They do have a premier service which charges a monthly fee but you get advanced features like 2nd line, 3-way calling, etc.

I was a bit weary about it at first, but they been around for at least 1.5 years: Ooma Launches Free Consumer Phone Service

You can easily pick up the device for about $200 (Amazon currently has it for $220). If the service does indeed last and is reliable, it’s sounds like a pretty good deal.

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