Many of you probably aren’t like me long distance-wise, but for anyone who is, I will tell you the secret to free long distance.
Here is my situation:
1. We live in a rural area so we do not have many local phone carriers or internet service providers available.
2. I’m actually a fan of the local phone company because they are local and provide good jobs to the community. They do not, however, offer an unlimited long distance package like the local phone companies do in most other areas.
3. We have DSL through that local telephone company. They have the best service and best value here for internet access.
4. Cell phones do not work in my house. We’ve tried GSMs and CDMAs and they both don’t work here.
5. My loved ones live in far away place like New Jersey and New York.
Let me translate what this means for us:
1. There are no long distance unlimited packages available here.
2. We make a lot of long distance calls.
3. We can’t make long distance calls on cell phones in the house.
4. If we got VoIp or Magic Jack or something, we’d have to still keep the phone line to have DSL to have internet so they can work. We’d have to have two numbers for that. Keeping an extra phone line would eat away at our savings, too.
I have the cheapest long distance service that I could find (Pioneer) but at 2.9¢ per minute, long distance calls still add up.
I have solved the long distance problem with GoogleVoice. GoogleVoice is a free service which enables one to have free texts, multiple numbers rung by one number, free voicemail, etc.
I use GoogleVoice three ways:
1. I text from the house. I am the worst text-er. Lots of people use texts and I have joined the bandwagon, too. I used to not have texts on my phone plan. Even now that I have free unlimited texts, I have no signal in my house and horrible technological abilities to actually send texts. I sometimes text people using GoogleVoice from my desktop computer. It’s free, works in my house and I get to use my real keyboard.
2. I use GoogleVoice to make free long distance calls. I enter in the number and click “call” and they ring my home number. When I pick up, I hear the other phone ringing and GoogleVoice connects me. Yay! Free long distance.
3. I use GoogleVoice differently for my very frequent calls. We all have a few numbers that we call more frequently than others. For me these most frequent calls are to my mom and a friend of mine in Jersey. I have given them local-to-me GoogleVoice numbers that ring into their respective phone lines. So when I call them, I simply dial that local-to-me phone number and they pick up their phone in New Jersey. (Note that GoogleVoice only allows one GoogleVoice to ring into a phone line, so if your loved one also has another GoogleVoice number, it won’t work.)
(Also note that I had to set this up with a verification code and email. It’s easy.)
(I do keep my Pioneer Long Distance available for emergencies, internet outages and calls that I know will only be two minutes. My bill runs about $3 per month. This is doable.)
I realize that I’m probably one of the only people stuck in the stone age with DSL, no unlimited long distance available in my area, no cell phone service in my house and up until a few months ago pay-per-message texts, but if there is possibly anyone else out there somewhere like me, GoogleVoice may be your answer, too.
Posted in Also Known As Logistics and Management in a Large Family, Knowing What to Do to Feel a Little Bit Less Like the Woman in the Shoe, Laura's Cheapskate Secrets, Money Saving and Cheapskate Tips and tagged DSL, free long distance, GoogleVoice by Laura with no comments yet.
Today I came across this blogpost
from Fabulessly Frugal. The gist of the blogpost is that the author called up her mobile phone, internet and satellite providers and had them lower her monthly service charges. She will save $1000 this year from the combined total savings. OK, great, however, while I’m happy that she is saving $1000 per year and that strategy may work for some, it won’t work for all.
The bottom-line of what I’m saying here is that there’s only so much to cut. Yes, there’s only so much to cut. I’ve been struggling with this issue when I read money saving tips from Dave Ramsey, Fabulessly Frugal and similar places. They have great money saving tips, but they don’t work for everyone. They don’t work for me.
We’ll take the example of the above mentioned blogpost.
*We already don’t have satellite and, honestly, have no desire to. We’ve never had a satellite bill during our marriage.
*We have the cheapest phones we can find. We have Wal-mart Family Mobile (through T-Mobile) service. Both of our phones have unlimited talk and text and the bill is about $55 total per month. I used to have a pre-paid, but this is actually cheaper. For on-the-go internet access, I use my kindle and grub stores’ wi-fi.
*Because we live in such a rural area, our available internet services are limited. We’ve periodically gone through the two or three options available to us and have concluded that our internet now is the best deal available to us. It’s not the best price if you compare it to what’s available in metropolitan areas, but for out here it is. The internet is a necessity for us, which is another expense of living out here.
Sure, I’d love to cut from our budget, but where can I cut? We heat exclusively with wood, so we don’t have a heating bill. I’m super frugal with our meals. Our house is small already and cannot be downsized. Our vehicles are older and paid off. We rotate vehicles to save as much gas as we can. I have shopped for the cheapest car and homeowners insurance. I shop in thrift stores and at garage sales when I can, but sometimes I do buy new clothes for the kids because sometimes it’s cheaper. We don’t have many gadgets. We cloth diaper. We dress like ragamuffins sometimes. We hardly eat out. I exclusively hang clothes on the clothesline and do not use the dryer. We use googlevoice to make long distance calls. Kevin cuts the kids’ hair.
There’s really no where to cut the budget.
A part of me gets frustrated over this. Every time I see some money-saving tip, like the one above, and it doesn’t apply. I really have no where to cut.
I’m sure there are others in my situation. I don’t know what I can suggest to you, to cut where there is no where to cut. Let me know if you find out. I’m all ears.
Posted in Money Saving and Cheapskate Tips by Laura with 2 comments.