6 Ways to Lower Your Phone Bill

Our landline is $17.95 a month, not including long distance which averages less than $4 a month. It’s the lowest I could find for a non internet phone line but from experience contributing to MDJ, my guess is that many of you have found even better deals. Share your stories here on how you keep your phone bill low.

Here are 6 ways to lower your phone bill:

1) Get rid of features you don’t need or use

I confess I still miss caller ID. It was nice to know who was calling and be able to screen our phone calls but at almost $100 a year for this feature alone, we found it just wasn’t worth it. We don’t have any features on our landline now. I never liked call waiting and we replaced voicemail with a digital answering machine.

2) Try Yak for long distance.

When something sounds too good to be true, it generally is. I was extremely skeptical when I signed up for Yak and only did so on the advice of a friend who had a great experience with them. I committed to trying it out for 6 months before recommending it to anyone else. I’ve been very impressed.

  • 3.5 cents a minute to Canada and the US
  • no contracts
  • no monthly minimum
  • no number to dial first … dial like you would any other long distance plan
  • no long distance plan needed through home home provider. (This has been our biggest savings.)
  • no system access fees
  • same rates 24/7

Every month it gets charged to my credit card and the bill has never been over $5. For those who call long distance over 500 minutes a month, a flat rate plan is probably a better deal.

3) Bundle your services

The $17.95 rate for our landline includes a $5 discount for bundling our home phone and our internet connection through Bell. Bundling services can be a great way to reduce your expenses. Just be sure to do the math on it first to confirm bundling will save you money.

4) Consider dropping the landline

We seriously considered dropping the landline but with 4 people in the house and only two cell phones, we decided to keep the landline for now. If you have great cell plans and you have as many cell phones as adults or teens in the house, you may want to consider dropping the land line altogether.  For some, prepaid cell phone plans may be more cost effective, see the MDJ prepaid cell phone plan review here.

5) Call your phone provider and ask if they will lower the bill.

This ties in with the Ask For a Discount article.  Many people I’ve spoken with have had great success calling their phone companies and asking for a lower rate.  Phone companies have retention departments whose job it is to do what it takes to keep you as a customer. It can’t hurt to try.

6) Try VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) / Vonage

I have friends who swear by Vonage. It’s not something I’ve ever tried but their rates seem really good.  For $19.99, it includes fourteen phone features and 500 minutes of long distance and only 4.9 cents a minute after that.  Overall it seems like the best deal. I don’t like Skype. When someone calls me on Skype the sound is echoey and distant. I can tell immediately that they aren’t calling from a regular phone line. We were with Rogers internet phone for years but every time the phone rang, the internet would disconnect, a problem they tried to solve for years and never could. In my line of work I need to be on the phone while online. For this reason, I’ve been skeptical of VoIP and have stayed with a regular landline. For those who use Vonage, what has been your experience?

Reducing a phone bill is just one way of saving money in one area so we have more money to spend it on something that is more important to us. A recent article on evaluating the purpose of money reminded us that we should be spending money where our values are.  For me, I’d rather have a frugal phone line so that I have more to spend on things I enjoy.

Share with us here how you have lowered your phone bill?

Kathryn is a regular contributor on Million Dollar Journey and has a passion for personal finance.  She volunteers her time as a money coach meeting with ordinary Canadians, teaching them the basics of budgeting, no fee banking, saving for the future and other basics of personal finance.

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Kathryn

Kathryn

Kathryn has been a staff writer for MDJ since January 2009. During the day she works in an office. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.
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Doug Bradley
10 years ago

I use “On Line Tel”. The cost is $42.38 a year (includes tax) You are allowed to put in 3 numbers. You dial an access number and can call anywhere in Canada.
You must be in a location that has access to an access number. i.e.Barrie Calgary Toronto etc. there are 15 locations. Just Google on line tel and get all info

KCG
10 years ago

If you’ve looked over your bills and cut down your talking and you’re still dealing with a high bill, switching from a contract carrier to a prepaid one might be a great option. I was in the same dilemma with AT&T for over a years before I swallowed the contract fees and went over to Net10 prepaid and the savings are huge. I’m saving more than $70 a month in terms of plans and my phone purchase was hardly the cost of my IPhone. I don’t miss my calling network or customer service since Net10 is top notch in both departments. If you need tos save and can cut yourself down in terms of talking, Net10 is a great option.

Colourful Money
11 years ago

Just want to add another dimension to this, but to those that don’t mind not speaking to each other and being OVERLY frugal, IM and emails may work. Especially so for the younger generation who have Blackberries with push email and are logged on to various IM programs where you can stay connected.

melvin
12 years ago

I have been a vonage customer since the beginning.
How can you beat it.
I take my phone wherever I go when I travel and no long distance bills to pay when I get home.
I use it with wireless voip even when im in florida for the winter
I wouldnt go back to any of the second rate phone companies in canada ever again.

Ms Save Money
12 years ago

I’ve totally eliminated the land line from my life since I was 18 years old. The only thing I need in my life is a cell phone, a lap top, and internet.

Eric
12 years ago

Dude,

Vonage is amazing. I’ve had it for 3 years now and I can’t believe it hasn’t become the standard.

Stephen
12 years ago

All you lucky bums in major cities … you get all the cheap VoIP servies. Neway. @ previous posters who mentioned Skype and headsets. Skype can work like other VoIP where you buy an adapter which you hook up to your PC which hooks up to a cordless phone (or regular phone) system and you can make your calls from anywhere in the house just like a regular phone. I paid $13 for mine on sale at Staples. $3 a month isn’t bad for unlimited local & long distance. If you need an incoming number then it’s a bit more. If you have Grand Central and you don’t need to make daytime calls on your cell much, then even better … no landline required.

http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?CatIds=&webid=655480&affixedcode=WW

There are lots of different types available on Ebay as well.

Novice
12 years ago

@ Casey — I live in Toronto ON and use rogers cable.

S.W.
12 years ago

I switched to iTalkBB (VOIP) 3 months ago and so far I’m happy. For C$8.99 (+tax) a month it provides all the basic features, a lot less than Bell, plus it’s free to call anywhere in Canada and N. America. Only occasionally the long-D calls will have a little delay which is tolerable. For C$24.99 a month you can call with unlimited minutes to over 20 countries. Not bad.

TJ
12 years ago

Eccentric Rogue – quality is great – no problems, issues at all. yes, i believe it can be used outside the US. calls to the US would be free but it seems to have a slight charge for different countries.