Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Frugal Focus Saving Event - Phone Services

We recently moved to a newly constructed home from an apartment and needed a new phone number/line service. The service representative setting up the line took all the old service and billing information and just copied it to the new number, including the $5/month 'wire protection insurance'. As our wiring is under warranty by the 'smart home' company that set it up, this was an obvious expense that could be eliminated.

Total Annual Savings: $60

What this means:
3 months of movie-renting entertainment.

Fortunately/unfortunately, there's more. Folks, look very carefully at your phone bills. Every so often you hear about some poor geezer who realizes he/she has been paying $8.95/month as an 'equipment rental fee' for some lousy first generation touch-tone phone since the early eighties. Couldn't happen to you or I, right?

In preparing this entry I pulled out my last phone bill and really looked carefully at my long distance. Every month I rack up 10-30 minutes in long distance minutes, entirely within Canada. Though it wasn't something I really took notice of before, I'm on a monthly rate plan of $4.95 allowing 60 minutes of long distance during evenings and weekends.

A couple observations:

1. Though possibly a good deal at the time this was set up, I'm apparently a 'legacy services sucker' like the above-mentioned geezer. My phone company doesn't currently offer any plan remotely this expensive.

2. I only had 11 minutes last month, of which all but $0.58 were covered by this plan. In other words, I paid ($4.95 + $0.58)/11 = $0.50/minute. Yes, I'm still feeling the pangs.

3. It gets worse. The very fine print explains that the phone company includes a $2.95 'network charge' for any consumer that uses any of their long distance rate plans (no matter how bad). In other words, my geezer-meter rocketed with long distance really costing me $0.77/minute.

I need an intervention.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got rid of Bell's $2.95 network charge by adding Yak Communications (yak.ca) as my Dial-1 long distance carrier. That removed the $2.95 and gave me 5 cents a minute long distance to Canada and the US. This month they wrote with a price change -- down to 3.5 cents a minute. It took a few days to get hooked up - billing is to a credit card and is paperless. I don't even know it's there when dialling - until my charges arrive.

I have also just added them to my cellular service and as a calling card.

1/19/2006 2:19 AM  
Blogger Humble Investor said...

Thanks - given the feedback I have received I have looked at Yak and Win-tel and will likely go with Yak. You can't (presently) beat their rates and from what I've researched the overwhelming majority find their line quality excellent.

1/19/2006 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have Yak, Win-Tel, AND OneSuite.Com. OneSuite beats them all out (especially if you live in a metro area that has a local number), but sometimes if it is down (rare), we use Yak or Win-Tel as an alternative.

2/17/2006 7:38 PM  

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Disclaimer: These articles are for information only, and are not to be construed as financial advice, legal advice, or a solicitation to buy or sell securities.