plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

December 13, 2007

4 calling tips

Filed under: frugal — Tags: , , — plonkee @ 12:00 pm

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…

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

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