The telephone has changed dramatically in recent years. The rise of the smartphone has made the corded, home-bound devices of the past seem like relics -- even though they were virtually the only option a few short years ago.
The rapid shifts in this realm have made it essential to review your phone services regularly. If you haven't evaluated the services you're paying for lately, it's possible you're being charged every month for things you don't need.
Here are four potential ways to reduce your monthly phone bill.
1. Go cell phone only
If you rely on your cell phone more often than your land line, canceling your land line may save you hundreds a year with only a minimal impact on your phone habits. But it's important to ask yourself a few questions before you commit to going cell-only. Do you have adequate cell phone reception at your home? Will there be hassles involved in losing your land line's phone number? What will you do if your cell phone goes missing? But if you can find satisfactory answers to questions like these, canceling your land line may be a viable option.
2. Seek a land line contract
If you are committed to keeping a land line in your home, home office or business, some service providers will reduce your monthly fee if you enter into a term contract. Terms vary per provider, but one- and two-year contracts are typical. The longer the contract, the lower your monthly rate is likely to be. Also ask your phone company if there are other options for cutting your bill. Tell them you want the lowest rate possible and see what they offer.
3. Look into a phone connect device
If you wish you could cancel your land line, but still want to keep your existing home phone number and have the option to use a ordinary telephone at home, consider a phone connect device. These portable and plug-and-play devices allow you to wirelessly connect to and make calls via your cell service provider's network from a cordless or corded telephone in your home. You don't need a land line for these devices to work, but you do need existing cell phone service from a provider that offers this type of device, such as AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. You may have to pay upfront for the device and a monthly fee, but depending on what you're paying for your land line now, it may still offer a net savings.
4. Review your voicemail and other services
Some land line providers charge as much as $25 per month for voicemail service. Consider cancelling that and using answering machine software instead. Many option for this are available, such as Fonawy, EZVoice and IVM Answering Attendant, and some of them are free and downloadable online. These programs often come with features like caller ID, automatic answering, conversation recording and call notification. While you're at it, also think about cancelling any other extra services you have with your land line, such as call waiting, last call return (*69) and call forwarding, as these fees can add up quickly.
Like so many things related to saving money, altering your phone service should involve careful consideration of what you really need and what you can live without. But once you've taken the time to review and change things, the pleasure of saving each and every month will be your reward.