Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Long Distance Telephone Costs

The 5 best ways to reduce your monthly long distance phone bill.

Everyone is looking for easy ways to reduce their daily cost of living. One potential target is your long-distance phone bill, which can eat up a large portion of your monthly utility bill budget. Here are the top 5 ways to reduce your monthly long distance phone bill and keep more of your money where it belongs""in your own pocket!

#1: Check your bill

Phone companies rely on the fact that many people do not carefully read their monthly bill to raise their profit margin a little higher. This is particularly true since the advent of online bill paying and automatic withdrawal from your bank account, which may save you time but could be costing you money. Next time your phone bill arrives, look at any charges listed under your long-distance phone bill. While some fees are unavoidable, such as local and federal taxes, other fees may be unnecessary. If you are unsure about what each fee refers to, call your phone company and ask about each one. I once found that I was paying $3 a month for the phone company to give me a loaner phone should my current phone need repair. This added up to $36 a year, which is more than a replacement phone would cost! If there are charges for services you do not need, request that they be removed.

#2: Bundle your phone services

Phone companies usually charge separate fees for local and long-distance services. Many phone companies also offer high-speed internet services as well. If you access the internet from home, call your local phone company and ask if they offer a discount for bundling your services together on a single bill. This only works if you are willing to have all three services carried by the same carrier, so be sure to ask about the long-distance and local rates and any extra fees that may apply.

#3: Compare the rates

If it has been a few years since you have changed your long-distance provider, now is the time to check out competing rates from other companies. Long distance phone rates have dropped in recent years in response to growing use of cell phones, so you may be pleasantly surprised to find lower rates elsewhere. If you like your current carrier but can find cheaper rates elsewhere, call your carrier and request that your rates be decreased to match the competitor. Many companies will lower their rates rather than lose you as a customer.

#4: Pre-paid phone cards

If you want to lose you phone carrier entirely, pre-paid phone cards are an excellent choice for saving money. Check out your local warehouse clubs and discount stores, as their prices are generally lower than retail outlets such as convenience stores. A great advantage to using prepaid cards is that they can be used from anywhere, so you can call your mother in Iowa while at work without losing your job in Colorado. However, if you rarely call long-distance this may not be a cost-effective method, since you must prepay the balance of minutes you will be using.

#5: Go wireless

If you are consistently calling the same people, look into purchasing cell phones from the same company, or even purchasing a group or "family" plan. Some cell phone companies do not charge customers minutes for calling other members of the same wireless network. If you need long-distance service to call your spouse when they are on the road, a family plan is a great option since the calls between the phones are often included in the monthly plan fee. Of course, you need to check the fine print when signing up for a plan to make sure there are no roaming charges and that you will get service in areas you frequently travel to.

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