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4 calling tips

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Stack of phonesOn the fourth day of Christmas (personal finance style), my true love gave to me… 4 calling tips

That’s right folks - gift time has come early. On the fourth day of Christmas your true love (well, close enough) is giving four great tips for saving money on telephone bills.

1. know yourself

It’s very difficult to work out the best combination of phone packages if you don’t really understand your calling habits. And by that I mean your actual callling habits, not the ones that you think you should have.

I don’t really use the phone that much. I probably speak to family members once a month, and contact my friends primarily via text message (SMS) or leaving very short voicemail messages to them. I spent ages with a phone package that gave me an hour of local calls a day, because I thought that I should phone my parents more often. Not a good idea.

If you mostly use a phone whilst out and about or to text, but rarely have long conversations, get a mobile phone package with a good text bundle, and the bare minimum required for an land line.

On the other hand, if you like to speak to your mum for an hour every day, get a phone package with plenty of free minutes.

Things you might want to consider are:

  • where do you use the phone
  • how many different people do you call
  • where do they live - overseas, long distance, round the corner
  • how much time you spend on the phone

2. know the market

In the UK, you can get mobile phone deals that net you free line rental for a year, with inclusive minutes, and only a 1 year contract. In some areas of the US, you don’t need a land line to get fast internet access - you can have a dry loop connection.

Take your time to shop around for your phone packages. If you don’t know what’s out there you won’t be able to find the best deal for you.

Things to consider include:

  • who are the major companies?
  • what is the mobile phone reception like in my area?
  • can I get a good deal on a bundled package?
  • am I better off going directly to the phone company or through a third party?
  • should I get a calling card for international calls?

3. know your packages

Once you’ve established the best packages for you, take your time to understand them, especially for the services you use less often.
I was caught out when I changed mobile packages recently. On my old package small data downloads (checking email for example) were very cheap, so I assumed they would be on my new package. Yeah, not so much.

You might also discover that something you haven’t tried before - such as 3 way calling - is bundled in for free. If that’s the case, why not give it a go?

Some things to consider include

  • Is it cheaper to make local calls from your land line or your mobile?
  • How many free minutes do you get?
  • Is checking voicemail free?
  • Are there any data charges?
  • Is directory enquiries free, nominal cost, or semi-premium rate?
  • What bundled services do I have.

4. know when to stop talking

If you really want to save money, realise that you don’t need to spend your entire life wedded to the phone. Use the right communication tool for the job. Sometimes that might be email, sometimes IM or chat, sometimes a letter, and you might even want to consider talking to someone face to face.

On the fourth day of Christmas (personal finance style) my true love gave to me…

  • 4 calling tips
  • 3 paid credit cards
  • 2 guaranteed ways to financial freedom
  • and the best way to manage money.

Check out the fifth day of Christmas at I’ve paid for this twice already… tomorrow and all the rest:

  • 8 Maids a Milking @ rocket finance
  • 7 Tips When You’re Swimming (in debt) @ working for financial freedom
  • 6 Streams of Income @ moolanomy
  • 5 Golden Rules For Snowflaking @ I’ve paid for this twice already…

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33 comments for “4 calling tips”

  1. For directory enquiries, it is often cheaper to call the mobile providers own service. For example O2 run a directory service at 118402 - and its the cheapest one to call from an O2 mobile.

    Also check the price of non-geographic numbers (0800, 0845, 0870 - they are all the same price on O2 - 20p a minute - which sucks). Thats where http://www.saynoto0870.com comes in real handy.

    Finally, its a rumor - but I’ve heard the best time to negotiate contract deals is in January….

    Posted by Angell | December 13, 2007, 1:49 pm
  2. I have another phone tip: When talking on the phone with someone, concentrate on the conversation! I have a couple of friends (and my wife) who are always watching tv, doing something else and either can’t follow the conversation, have really long pauses (and then apologize by saying sorry I was trying to do something) all while talking on the phone.

    Drives me nuts!


    Posted by FourPillars | December 13, 2007, 2:29 pm
  3. @FourPillars:
    I prefer people to be either on the phone, or doing something else - whether I’m one the other end of the phone, or the something else. Multitasking does not work well, as a rule.

    That’s a good point. I try to use a landline for my directory enquiries numbers, but I think that mobile providers are generally the cheapest from their own networks.

    Posted by plonkee | December 13, 2007, 3:19 pm
  4. Skype can also help cut your bills pretty dramatically if you and the person you’re calling already have fast internet and microphones. When my then-boyfriend moved 1,000 miles away, I bought a cheap microphone, which paid for itself many times over in the course of the next few months. If I can teach my mother to use Skype, I think I can cost effectively ditch the landline at my apartment.

    Posted by E.C. | December 14, 2007, 2:51 pm
  5. Skype is a great option. For me the cheapest way to get an internet connection is via a landline, so I’m not giving it up at the minute.

    Posted by plonkee | December 14, 2007, 3:54 pm
  6. I’d also recommend pre-paid mobile phones (I think you call them ‘pay as you go’ over there?)if you’re watching your money, then you can load it it with your budgeted amaount each month & away you go.

    I know here in Australia, there are always good deals for recharging including options of extra minutes, free calls or free/bonus SMS depening on what you use.

    Posted by debtdieter | December 14, 2007, 8:39 pm
  7. Yes, pre-pay (and we do call the pay as you go) have got a lot more competitive lately over here.

    They’ve always been good if you don’t use your phone much at all, but now they’re even good for medium users.

    Posted by plonkee | December 14, 2007, 9:15 pm
  8. I’d also add - talk faster and leave shorter voice mails.

    Posted by Numbers Guy | February 8, 2009, 6:37 pm
  9. Your perfect data about this good post must be a ground for thesis writing and buy dissertation service and be used at thesis sample.

    Posted by JoanoJ18 | February 16, 2010, 8:53 am
  10. Yes, pre-pay (and we do call the pay as you go) have got a lot more competitive lately over here.

    They’ve always been good if you don’t use your phone much at all, but now they’re even good for medium users.

    Posted by Büyü | June 19, 2010, 8:58 am

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