landline http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10575/all en-US Is There Any Reason to Pay for a Landline Anymore? http://www.wisebread.com/is-there-any-reason-to-pay-for-a-landline-anymore <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-there-any-reason-to-pay-for-a-landline-anymore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_65884831_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="is a landline still worth it?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're doing all that you can to save money and cutting costs every month, then it would usually make sense to cut your landline. When <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/wireless201412.pdf">more than 40% of American households</a> have eliminated their landline, it only makes sense, right? While it's often a good idea to cut a landline &mdash; particularly if you're no longer using it &mdash; there are certain instances where it actually makes sense to keep it.</p> <h2>1. Emergency Situations</h2> <p>Did you know that when you dial 911 from a landline, the dispatcher can see your address and phone number right away? According to the National Emergency Number Association, when you call from a cell phone, it can take about 25 seconds for the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/your-money/weighing-the-need-for-a-landline-in-a-cellphone-world.html?_r=1">dispatcher to receive information</a> on your location, which will be limited to a general area, not a specific location. In contrast, with a landline, the dispatcher will have immediate access to your exact address, including the apartment number.</p> <p>In an emergency situation, you may not be in the position to provide your address. In some situations, a child may be able to place the call by being taught to dial 911, but they may not know the address. If this is the sole reason that you have a landline, call your service provider and ask if they have an &quot;emergency only&quot; option at a discounted rate.</p> <h2>2. Power Outages</h2> <p>In the event of a natural disaster or power outage, your landline may still work. If you are relying on your cell phone during an emergency situation, network congestion can make cell phone communication nearly impossible.</p> <p>While a landline can be a godsend in an emergency, some phone providers are now running the phone lines through the modem, which would prevent you from having service in the event of a power outage. Some phones also need to be plugged in, and therefore still require electricity.</p> <p>Contact your phone provider to see if they still use the old landline system, which would allow it to work during an emergency. Some phone service providers, such as Verizon, Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner also offer backup batteries for sale, which will offer about eight hours of standby time and four hours of talk time in the event of an electrical outage. These backup batteries typically cost anywhere from $20-$35.</p> <h2>3. If Your Reception Is Spotty</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/iStock_82201917_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>While most people are fortunate enough to have good cell reception, there are certain areas in the country where reception can be spotty. In these cases, a landline can ensure that you always have flawless call quality (and zero dropped calls). With a landline, you can enjoy undisrupted reception, anytime.</p> <h2>4. Home Security Systems and Fax Machines May Require Them</h2> <p>Some home security systems will require a home phone connection to monitor alarm sensors. If you don't have a landline, the alarm company may charge you to install a special device that works with your cellular connection. If you have a fax machine at home, you may also need a landline for it to work.</p> <h2>5. Making Long Distance Calls</h2> <p>Placing long-distance calls out of the country via cell phone can be unreliable. Making international calls on the landline usually offers a more reliable connection. It's also worth noting that the cost of making international phone calls is typically much higher with mobile phones than it is with landline phones.</p> <h2>6. Everyone Can Use the Landline</h2> <p>If your monthly service package already includes a landline, it only makes sense to have one plugged in. In the event that you have guests or other family members who need to use the phone, they can easily use the landline without costing you any money. You may also not be as willing to let them use your cell phone for whatever calls they need to make.</p> <p>If you have a big family, you can save money by having a landline service and installing a landline in the room of each member of your household. This will save you money compared to a cell phone family plan. Landlines generally charge a flat rate every month, regardless of how much you use the phone. If you tend to talk on the phone a lot, you may exceed your cell phone limits and incur additional charges.</p> <h2>7. Misplacing Your Cell Phone</h2> <p>If you frequently misplace your smartphone around the house, then having a landline can provide you with a central location where you can always find the phone. In an emergency situation, this could be a lifesaver. Searching for your phone in an emergency can feel like an eternity.</p> <p>If your child needs to make an emergency call, it will be easier for them to call from the landline, which is always in the same location. On the other hand, they may not be able to find your wayward cell phone when they need it most.</p> <h2>8. If Your Cell Phone Dies Frequently</h2> <p>We've all been in a situation where our cell phone dies at the most inopportune moment. Consider the very real possibility that your cell phone may not have the power to make an emergency call. With a landline, you never have to worry about your phone running out of juice.</p> <h2>9. It's Safer and More Comfortable</h2> <p>According to The World Health Organization and the Environmental Working Group, frequent cell phone usage can lead to an <a href="http://www.ewg.org/cell-phone-radiation-damages-sperm-studies-find">increased risk of brain tumors</a>, brain cancer, diminished sperm count, sleep disturbances, and even anxiety. Using a cell phone for a prolonged period of time can also lead to earaches, but this hasn't been the case with landline phones. It should also be noted that holding a landline phone between your shoulder and ear during the length of a call will be much more comfortable than trying to hold a cell phone there.</p> <h2>10. It's Fashionable</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/iStock_24499136_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Some landline phones can double as home decor. There are virtually limitless designs, colors, and styles to choose from, so you can find a new age, technologically advanced option, or you can visit your local vintage store for a phone that will also appear as a work of art.</p> <h2>11. There Are Better Service Bundles</h2> <p>In some cases, you can actually save money by having a landline. For instance, certain Internet, cable, and landline combo plans <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month">will save you money</a>, compared to only buying Internet and cable. Look into &quot;triple play&quot; services, which usually include cable, Internet, and a landline at a low cost.</p> <p>According to Consumer Reports, <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/5-reasons-to-keep-a-landline-phone/index.htm">dropping the landline connection</a> from your triple play bundle might only save you about $5 a month. In some cases, it can actually cause the price of your Internet and cable to go up, so you would be wasting money by canceling your landline.</p> <h2>12. You Can Save Money</h2> <p>Some landlines can cost as much as $50 per month, but you should be able to find ways to keep your bill to $20 or under with a standard home phone service. Depending on which service provider you use, you may already be grandfathered into an affordable service plan. Compared to the overwhelming costs of a smartphone plan, you can actually save money by making your calls through a landline.</p> <p>Before cutting your landline, make sure you have considered all the pros and cons, and know exactly how much you will save every month by eliminating it. Instead of cutting it altogether, contact your service provider to inquire about how you can save on the monthly costs, and what the cheapest plan is.</p> <p><em>Did you cut your landline? How is it working out for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-there-any-reason-to-pay-for-a-landline-anymore">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smartphone-apps-to-help-you-save-big">6 Smartphone Apps to Help you Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs">9 Things You Can Do Online Besides Watch Cat GIFs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-catching-a-cold-or-the-flu">The High Cost of Catching a Cold or the Flu</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Technology landline landline phone monthly bills phone phone bills phone call phone line saving money Thu, 14 Jul 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1751464 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons Cutting Your Landline Is a Bad Deal http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4982722491_7342befb96_z.jpg" alt="telephone" title="telephone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a perennial item on save-money lists &mdash; cancel the landline and rely on cell phones for communications.</p> <p>It's also a sacrifice that I will never make if I can help it, because the security and quality I get from my landline is more than worth the small monthly fee.</p> <p>First, let's put the cost of a landline in perspective.</p> <p>Our household spends approximately $25 per month on a plan with unlimited calling both domestically and to a number of foreign countries. More limited plans, such as several offered by&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://www.shop.att.com/plancomparison.jsp?">AT&amp;T without long-distance and with a per-call charge</a>, are available for $18 a month or less, depending on your state. If you cancel your home phone service, you are saving the cost of taking a family of four out for fast food once a month. I know that every penny counts, but there are lots of other ways to save $15-$25 a month without sacrificing so much.</p> <p>You may think that giving up a landline is worthwhile even though the savings are small, simply because you rarely pick up the phone to make a call. But even if you use your cell phone for most calls, that landline sitting there is providing you with value. (For a counterpoint, see:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seriously-get-rid-of-your-landline">Seriously,&nbsp;Get Rid of Your Landline</a>)</p> <p>What do you lose when you give up a landline?</p> <h2>1. Better 911 Response</h2> <p>The main reason I will not give up my landline is that I have three children whose safety is worth more than $25 a month to me. When you call 911 from a landline, your home address appears on the dispatcher's screen; if you call from a cell phone, they will probably see geographical coordinates but not an exact address, according to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/january/electronics/best-cell-phones/911-from-cell-phone/index.htm">Consumer Reports</a>. If you have children in the house, ask yourself &mdash; if they need to call 911, will they be able to clearly tell a dispatcher their address under pressure? Do they know how to unlock and dial a cell phone? Even if you call yourself, what if you are incapacitated and can't speak? Are you willing to hope that the location information the dispatcher gets from your cell phone is good enough for emergency workers to find you?</p> <p>You should also know that when you dial 911 from a cell phone, your call may not be answered by the dispatcher in charge of sending an ambulance or police to your address. In some locations, the call may need to be transferred, wasting valuable time in an emergency. I once called 911 from my cell phone because a woman had just fallen off a ladder in her yard as I walked past. When the dispatcher asked where I was, I could not see an address but told her I was &quot;right across from the high school.&quot; &quot;But what <i>city</i> are you in?&quot; she asked. When I told her the name of the town, she transferred me to my local dispatcher, and I had to start over again.</p> <h2>2. Backup During Natural Disasters</h2> <p>I live just a few miles from the Hayward fault, called a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Hayward-Fault-is-our-deadliest-a-tectonic-time-2496282.php">&quot;tectonic time bomb&quot; by one seismologist</a>. But as catastrophic weather events increase, even people who don't live in earthquake country are living in the shadow of a natural disaster. Even if you used your landline at no other time, wouldn&rsquo;t it be worth a couple hundred dollars a year to keep an emergency back-up communication system in the house?</p> <p>&quot;We are very concerned by incidents where emergency wireless calls to 9-1-1 after yesterday's earthquake were hampered by network congestion,&quot; <a target="_blank" href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/24/quake-exposes-cracks-in-cell-phone-coverage-emergency-response/">FCC Public Safety &amp; Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett</a> told Fox News after the 2011 5.9 earthquake on the East Coast. <a target="_blank" href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/phone-companies-start-checking-storm-damage">Superstorm Sandy knocked down 25% of cell towers</a> in the area, and even people who had cell coverage soon lost the ability to use their mobile phones due to power outages.</p> <p>Sure, telephone service can be knocked out in natural disasters, too. But if you have both a cell phone and a landline, your odds are better that you'll be left with some connection to the rest of the world in a disaster.</p> <p>Plus, landlines <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tdstelecom.com/CustomerService/WhyLandline.aspx">still work even if the power goes out</a> &mdash; as long you have at least one handset with a cord that doesn't need to be charged.</p> <h2>3. Reliability and Quality</h2> <p>Recently I was waiting for an important call on my cell phone. The phone never rang, but later I found out that the caller had dialed my number and gotten no answer. Nothing showed up in my phone's &quot;missed calls&quot; list. This kind of thing has happened to me while using various carriers over the years. Other people find that they can't get a strong cell signal inside their own homes or find a call interrupted by a lost signal.</p> <p>When interviewing sources over a cell phone, I often have to stop and ask them to repeat things to make sure I quote them correctly. The sound quality is nowhere near as good as a landline's.</p> <p>Cellular phones' reliability and sound quality problems are a trade-off that we accept because of the huge convenience of being able to make and receive calls wherever we are. But when given the alternative of using a more reliable and better-quality connection at home, I'll take it!</p> <h2>4. Accessibility</h2> <p>Maybe you're one of those people who responsibly deposits their cell phone in a charging station as soon as you walk in the door. I'm not. Chances are, my cell phone is in my coat pocket inside a closet or in my purse in another room. And what this means is that it is not a form of communication that's easily accessible to me or to other members of the household. If a call comes in, I want everyone in the house to be able to hear it clearly. If I'm not free to answer, I want one of my children to be able to answer it without having to search my purse. For one thing, having the chance to receive and make phone calls gives them a chance to learn proper phone etiquette. For another, it's good training if they ever do have to use the phone in an emergency.</p> <p>We keep one handset that is attached to the base with a good old-fashioned cord, so that it can't be lost and everyone in the family knows where to find it.</p> <h2>5. Radiation</h2> <p>&quot;The World Health Organization has declared that cell phone radiation may be linked to brain cancer. Ten studies connect cell phone radiation to diminished sperm count and sperm damage. Others raise health concerns such as altered brain metabolism, sleep disturbance and behavioral changes in children,&quot; reads the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ewg.org/cellphone-radiation">Environmental Working Group's Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use</a>. The guide also notes that &quot;young children's brains can absorb twice as much cell phone radiation as those of adults.&quot;</p> <p>I limit my chlidren's cell phone use, and one thing that helps us do that is having a landline they can use to talk to their grandparents and friends. I'd also just as soon avoid holding a radiation-emitting device to my own head for long conversations.</p> <h2>6. High-Speed Internet</h2> <p>We <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits">don't have cable</a>, but my impression from practically everyone else I know is that dealing with cable companies is a nightmare. So another reason I appreciate my landline is that it allows me to get fast Internet service with DSL instead of a cable modem. In fact, we take advantage of a package deal that gives us both phone and Internet for a pretty reasonable price.</p> <h2>What About Other Alternatives to the Landline?</h2> <p>Of course, there are other alternatives to landlines besides cell phones. People are using Skype and FaceTime, as well as PC-based voice-over IP and work-arounds like Magic Jack. All of these are great ways to cut down your phone bill, but they don't provide a safe and reliable connection the way a landline does.</p> <h2>Keep Your Landline and Save</h2> <p>If you want to save money on your phone bill, instead of eliminating it, I recommend getting the most basic service just for emergencies, and using these other communication methods or your cell phone for most of your calls.</p> <p>On the flip side, you may find that using a landline for most of your calls allows you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">reduce your cell phone plan</a> to a limited number of minutes, just enough to handle calls that can't wait until you get home. It's entirely possible that you can cut more money from your cell phone bill by reducing the number of minutes you use than you would save by eliminating home phone service.</p> <p>You might find a work-around for any one of the disadvantages of not having a landline. But when you look at the landline's many benefits together, you may find that giving up this high quality and valuable service to save a small amount of money is no bargain at all.</p> <p><em>Have you cut your landline service? Or did you decide to keep it for one of the reasons above (or for some other I haven&rsquo;t mentioned)?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">4 New Year&#039;s Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-things-you-need-in-your-house-to-keep-your-family-safe">20+ Things You Need in Your House to Keep Your Family Safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle home safety landline phone services Fri, 01 Feb 2013 10:48:39 +0000 Carrie Kirby 966498 at http://www.wisebread.com Seriously, Get Rid of Your Landline http://www.wisebread.com/seriously-get-rid-of-your-landline <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/seriously-get-rid-of-your-landline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1034889957_34686d8940_z.jpg" alt="telephone" title="telephone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you still have a telephone that plugs into the wall of your house? As of June 2012, 34% of households in the U.S. have gone wireless only, according to the <a href="http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/landline-phone-penetration-dwindles-as-cell-only-households-grow-22577/" target="_blank">U.S. National Health Information Study</a>. That percentage will only go up in the coming years &mdash; over 59% of 25- to 29-year-olds live in homes without landlines.</p> <p>From a financial perspective, it&rsquo;s hard to justify setting up a new landline if you already <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-monthly-bills-you-can-slash">pay a cell phone bill</a> every month. Depending on the package, a landline can cost between $180 and $480 every year. That can mean big savings if you already have a landline and want to get rid of it, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-my-flip-phone-the-5-smartphone-effects">Why&nbsp;I Like My&nbsp;Flip Phone</a>)</p> <h2>The Ubiquity of Cell Phones</h2> <p>As a culture, we like cell phones. There are still some issues we&rsquo;re working out &mdash; like how young is too young for a cell phone &mdash; but, in general, it&rsquo;s not an unreasonable assumption that if you&rsquo;re reading this article, you have a cell phone. In fact, CTIA <a href="http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/10/talk-is-cheap-six-billion-people-worldwide-have-cellphones/" target="_blank">reported</a> in 2012 that there are more mobile subscriptions in the U.S. than there are people living in the country.</p> <p>Why would you want to keep a landline if you are statistically likely to already have a cell phone in your hand? Since most people who want to reach you probably call your cell directly, your reasons might include concerns about safety.</p> <p><strong>What About Emergency Response?</strong></p> <p>Up until recently, one of the biggest issues was whether emergency responders could find someone calling from a cell phone. In the event that a person called 911, but was unable to give their location, a cell phone does not necessarily provide an address. However, newer cell phones incorporate <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_9-1-1" target="_blank">E911 capability</a>, which allows a service provider to give data about location to emergency responders.</p> <p><strong>What About Cell Phone Reliability?</strong></p> <p>There&rsquo;s also a concern that cell phones may be less reliable than landlines.</p> <p>In general, reliability has increased since cell phones were first introduced, although there are still some places where you just won&rsquo;t get great reception. In emergencies, it&rsquo;s often possible that either, or even both, wired or wireless phone service will be disrupted, so choosing between the two is a bit of a wash.</p> <p>There are some systems that may seem to require a phone line, like fax machines and alarm systems. But just about every system has a wireless alternative these days. It may take a little research to find options, but saving a few hundred dollars each year is worth it.</p> <h2>Is There Any Reason to Keep Your Landline?</h2> <p>For some people <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">keeping a landline</a> may still make sense. The most obvious reason is if you don&rsquo;t have a cell phone already. If you&rsquo;ve managed to make it this long without a cell phone, by all means, stick to what&rsquo;s working for you!</p> <p>Some locations are still not very cell phone friendly. Because of the realities of geography and location of cell towers, there are still some places that are effectively dead zones for cell connections. If your home is in once such place, you&rsquo;ll need to have a landline or another alternative, such as Skype or other VOIP services.</p> <p>There are also some very specific situations that still require a landline; for instance, people with pacemakers must have access to a landline for monitoring purposes (using a specialized interface, doctors can monitor pacemakers over the phone).</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not comfortable with not having a landline for any reason and the cost isn&rsquo;t an issue, make the decision that you&rsquo;re comfortable with. But if you don&rsquo;t need a landline and no special situations apply, it&rsquo;s worth considering getting rid of yours.</p> <p><em>Have you dropped your landline telephone service? If not, why not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seriously-get-rid-of-your-landline">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal">6 Reasons Cutting Your Landline Is a Bad Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline">Living Without A Landline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle cell phones landline lower bills Thu, 24 Jan 2013 10:48:36 +0000 Thursday Bram 967386 at http://www.wisebread.com Secrets to a Great Phone Interview for Job Hunters http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-a-great-phone-interview-for-job-hunters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/secrets-to-a-great-phone-interview-for-job-hunters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/657350_0211a74934_z.jpg" alt="man talking on phone" title="man talking on phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Phone conversations with representatives of hiring organizations are becoming increasingly more important in winning face-to-face interviews and landing new jobs. These interviews are moving beyond phone screenings to comprehensive evaluations of job candidates.</p> <p>Career-services professionals and a successful job hunter recently shared with me their common-sense yet often overlooked tips for navigating phone interviews. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a>)</p> <h2>At the Start of Your Job Search</h2> <p>After you make the decision to explore career possibilities, prepare yourself for interactions with human resource representatives, recruiters, hiring managers, and potential colleagues. Laying the foundation can involve these steps.</p> <p><strong>Get a Landline Dedicated to Your Job Search</strong></p> <p>Paul Bailo, CEO of <a href="http://www.phoneinterviewpro.com/">Phone Interview Pro</a>, inventor of a <a href="http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&amp;Sect2=HITOFF&amp;d=PG01&amp;p=1&amp;u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html&amp;r=1&amp;f=G&amp;l=50&amp;s1=20110082702.PGNR.">phone interviewing and evaluation method and system</a>, and author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Essential-Phone-Interview-Handbook/dp/1601631545">The Essential Phone Interview Handbook</a></em>, recommends that you install a landline dedicated to your job search. When you sign up, get the &ldquo;caller ID&rdquo; feature so that you know what hiring organization is calling before you pick up the phone.</p> <p>The main reasons to get a dedicated landline are:</p> <ul> <li>You know that whenever the phone rings, the caller is evaluating you for a work-related opportunity<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You don&rsquo;t have to worry about spotty coverage and dropped calls that are common with mobile phones</li> </ul> <p>Even though I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline">do not have a landline at my home</a>, I see the wisdom in Paul&rsquo;s advice. Dropped calls can be unnerving if you are trying to make a good impression. Exchanges during question-and-answer sessions can be difficult when there are sound delays, which are common with cell phones.</p> <p>Though the landline adds an expense to your job search, you may be able to include these in your <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p529/ar02.html">itemized tax deductions</a>.</p> <p><strong>Put Only That Number on Your Resumé</strong></p> <p>Job seekers often wonder what phone number to place on their resumés. Use a number that will allow you to best portray your professional presence. That is, don&rsquo;t put your family&rsquo;s home number on job-hunting documents (resumé, cover letter, application, etc.) if you know that young children may answer the phone or if you have an outbound voice message that is not appropriate for potential employers.</p> <p>Paul suggests that you place the dedicated landline number on your resumé and no other number, including your mobile phone. In this way, you can better control interactions with potential employers, which is critical:</p> <blockquote><p>Do not think of a phone interview as a set time and day to talk with a person concerning an opportunity. It is much more than that. Anytime you pick up the phone or receive a call related to your job campaign, it is a phone interview.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Hone Your Speaking Skills</strong></p> <p>In a phone interview, you must rely solely on your voice to connect with the interviewer. To give the best impression of yourself, polish speaking skills. Consider these approaches suggested by Paul:</p> <ul> <li>Listen to and adopt the styles of radio news announcers, who enunciate carefully and use descriptive language<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Join a Toastmasters group to learn and get feedback from fellow members on your speaking style</li> </ul> <p><strong>Prepare Yourself to Discuss Workplace Scenarios </strong></p> <p>Investment portfolio manager and finance professor (and former job hunter) <a href="http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com/">Barbara Friedberg</a> told me that practicing interviewing is the perfect way to get ready for interviews. One way to practice is to recall and retell stories associated with successes like these:</p> <ul> <li>New initiatives that you championed and later became critical to the success of your organization<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Times in which you applied innovation and creativity to solving long-standing problems<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Major projects that you managed or contributed heavily to<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Situations in which you exhibited boldness in advocating for your employees and customers, affecting significant policy updates with benefits to the company</li> </ul> <p>Paul emphasizes that you should mention your name when discussing these situations. This technique helps to position yourself in the mind of the interviewer as a person who gets things accomplished for her company. The secret to a successful phone interview is getting the hiring manager to visualize you making money or saving money for the organization, Paul's research indicates, and such storytelling can accomplish this purpose.</p> <h2>Interview Preparation</h2> <p>There are several steps to preparing for a successful phone interview.</p> <p><strong>Research the Company and the Interviewer</strong></p> <p>Barbara says that research makes a &quot;huge difference&quot; in the outcome of an interview. She encourages job hunters to learn about the organization, the position, the background of the interviewer, and anything else that is relevant to the specific opportunity.</p> <p>To research the potential employer, start at the website to get familiar with the company's history, market presence, and major product lines. Follow links to its annual reports. Continue by reviewing news articles that cover topics such as geographical expansion, workforce expansion or reduction, entry into new markets, and product launches. Read about <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/keeping-up-with-trends-while-keeping-up-with-business">industry trends</a>.</p> <p>Find out about your interviewer by looking at her LinkedIn profile and reading her work-related blog posts and/or Twitter feed. Avoid digging for too-personal info. Focus on professional information that is readily available and the interviewer wants to be known.</p> <p><strong>Prepare Questions</strong></p> <p>Most hiring managers close interviews by asking if you have questions. Don't respond to this opportunity with a &quot;no&quot; and seem to lack inspiration and initiative. Both Barbara and Paul recommend preparing a list of questions prior to the interview.</p> <p>Specifically, Paul says that job seekers should compose three world-class questions based on company research. He explains that such questions are similar to ones that journalists ask the President during a press conference, not simple questions that yield &ldquo;yes&rdquo; or &ldquo;no&rdquo; responses. They should demonstrate your ability to gather, interpret, and assimilate information along with natural curiosity and the ability to apply you&rsquo;ve learned to the company's situation.</p> <p>For example, ask questions like these:</p> <ul> <li>Given pending legislation and greater media scrutiny associated with social-media sites, how do you think the new features will be accepted by consumers?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Based on your current processes for product development and marketing launches, what do you see changing with the introduction of nanotechnology to your prototyping activities?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Considering shifts in consumer preferences and studies on the demand for experiential learning, how is your company positioned to develop a new slate of offerings?</li> </ul> <p>Be prepared to listen to responses and have a conversation about these topics.</p> <p><strong>Confirm Your Interview</strong></p> <p>Paul advises to call and confirm the date and time of the interview as well as the position for which you are being considered <em>the day before</em> your scheduled session. I thought that this tip involved a particularly bold action, but Paul assured me that hiring managers appreciate this initiative (and if they act bothered by your call, then understand that this job opportunity may not be an ideal situation for you).</p> <p>Speak to the person who will be interviewing you so that you can connect before the formal meeting, if possible. Ask about planned topics of discussion so that you can make sure that the interview is as productive as possible. If the interviewer specifies an area of interest (perhaps a divisional turnaround or high customer retention mentioned on your resumé), then get ready to talk about these topics.</p> <p>In addition, determine if the interviewer will be calling you, or vice-versa. If you are given the choice, ask to be called in order to reinforce the idea that the employer is pursuing you. Lastly, confirm the phone number that the interviewer will be calling.</p> <p><strong>Create Your Environment</strong></p> <p>On the evening before or the day of the interview, get your space and yourself ready to talk.</p> <p>Place these items in front of you:</p> <ul> <li>Resumé<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Company research<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>World-class questions<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>List of items you would like to cover during the interview<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Paper and pencil (or pen) to take notes<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Photo of the interviewer taken from LinkedIn or website (Paul proposes this idea to encourage natural conversation)</li> </ul> <p>Check your phone line, turn off electronic devices, and tell your family not to interrupt you during the interview.</p> <p>Get your voice ready using these techniques: talk, sing, and/or take a cough drop before the scheduled phone call. The cough-drop idea is touted by Paul; having been speechless when answering the phone, I think that getting your voice prepped to talk is a great idea.</p> <p><strong>Remember These Timing Secrets</strong></p> <p>The timing in response to the potential employer's calls influence the hiring decision-maker's view of your talent. Being too eager sends the message that your professional capabilities are not in high demand. Position yourself as a highly qualified professional with valuable skills needed by employers by playing hard, but not impossible, to get.</p> <p>Specific actions related to phone interviewing include:</p> <ul> <li>Don&rsquo;t always be available when a representative of the hiring organization calls. Unless you have a scheduled interview, let calls go to voice mail. In this way, you can be fully prepared to talk in a professional mindset.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Let the interviewer know that you are busy; don&rsquo;t accept the first interview time offered but suggest an alternate time that should be convenient for the interviewer<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If the caller is more than 15 minutes late for a scheduled interview, then make yourself unavailable immediately afterwards. Later, when the interviewer calls to apologize for being late, accept the apology and reschedule for another time.</li> </ul> <p>Don't be surprised if seemingly insignificant phone conversations with human resources staff and hiring managers shape how they perceive you and your qualifications. Research, practice, and act like you really want the job in all interactions, and you'll be more likely to land the right position for you.</p> <h2>Interview To-Dos</h2> <p>The interview can be navigated much like any normal conversation in a professional setting.</p> <p><strong>Be Flexible</strong></p> <p>When the interviewer calls, figure out what task she may be performing. She may need to screen your qualifications, verify certain information, discover how you respond to tricky questions, or learn how you have approached projects in the past. Quickly assess the style of the interview and respond appropriately.</p> <p>Paul explains why you should adjust to the tone and pace set by the interviewer:</p> <blockquote><p>Both people in the relationship need time and multiple interactions to get to know one another&hellip;Both people involved in the phone interview must be on the same page, moving at the same speed.</p> </blockquote> <p>But no matter how well you prepare and attempt to navigate each situation carefully, something may go awry. Stay calm and show how flexible you are. For example, if your neighbor&rsquo;s dog starts barking at a critical moment, Paul says to acknowledge the disturbance and move on with the interview.</p> <p>Worse, though, the hiring manager may not be adept at conducting phone interviews. Job hunters have told me about unusual interview situations for which they felt unprepared; realize that such situations often arise because of improperly trained or inexperienced hiring managers.</p> <p>Paul concurred with my understanding of some bad interviews, noting that even hiring managers are not perfect. In these cases, take control using your interview scenarios and world-class questions to create a natural conversational flow. And, if the interviewer fails to quiz you about the emphasis mentioned the day earlier, insert this information into the discussion.</p> <p><strong>Be Human</strong></p> <p>Show your humanity in your discussions. Paul favors these techniques:</p> <ul> <li>Answer the phone by saying &ldquo;hello,&rdquo; which is more personable than stating your name<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a connection with the interviewer by noting common interests, shared experiences, etc. using your research about her professional background and key interests<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be considerate about any time zone differences; let the interviewer know that you especially appreciate her taking the time to speak with you early in the morning or late at night if that is the case</li> </ul> <p><strong>Show Gratitude and Excitement</strong></p> <p>The close of the interview should include these critical elements:</p> <ol> <li>Tell the hiring manager that you are really excited about the opportunity<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Give three concrete reasons that you will be a good fit for the job<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Say thank you for the interview and, without pausing, ask about the next steps in the decision-making process</li> </ol> <p>The interviewer's response to your question about the next steps indicates whether she visualizes you in the position. Paul says that if she quickly explains what's next, then there is a strong likelihood that you will be called back for another interview; if she hesitates, then she doesn't really see you on the job and will probably not follow up with another session.</p> <p>Saying that you are excited about the opportunity is really important. According to a recruiter friend, companies want to hire only those who are genuinely interested in the position and a great fit with the organizational culture. Managers are reluctant to extend an offer to anyone who does not show this excitement.</p> <h2>Post-Interview Actions</h2> <p>Paul advises this process of saying thank you and staying on the hiring manager&rsquo;s radar for the next several days:</p> <ul> <li>Write a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-say-thanks">thank-you</a> email 24-48 hours after your interview, recapping the conversation and reinforcing strengths that will enable you to either make money or save money for the company<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Write a hand-written card on real stationery 24 hours after the email<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Compose an email with commentary about a news article (scanned and attached to the email) that again shows how you perceive this news to affect the business and how you can help the profitability of the company, 24 hours after sending the hand-written card<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call and ask for a status update of the job opening, 24 hours after sending the second email</li> </ul> <p>All of these techniques help close the deal.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-a-great-phone-interview-for-job-hunters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">Stupid Things to Put in Your Cover Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seriously-get-rid-of-your-landline">Seriously, Get Rid of Your Landline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-the-9-to-5-is-right-for-you">8 Signs the 9-to-5 IS Right for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting communication skills landline phone interview Wed, 04 Apr 2012 09:48:13 +0000 Julie Rains 913973 at http://www.wisebread.com Living Without A Landline http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/living-without-a-landline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rotary dial phone.jpg" alt="rotary dial phone" title="rotary dial phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had been thinking about shedding my landline for a while. I was attached to the convenience for a long time and, more recently, unlimited calls for one price in the United States. What I wanted most from a landline, though, was reliability; but, for me, neither the cable company nor the traditional bell company could deliver. So, after more than four decades, I cut the cord. Here&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;m getting along without a regular phone.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><b>Finding the cell phone.</b> Being able to find my cell phone on demand has been my biggest challenge. The landline was useful for calling and locating my phone. My regular&nbsp;phone was always in the same location, attached to a wall in my kitchen, so I didn&rsquo;t have to worry about finding it. Not being able to find my cell phone is especially troublesome if I am home alone. So, I make it a habit to make sure I always know where my phone is, and if I know my&nbsp;teenage son&nbsp;might be home for a while alone, I make sure his&nbsp;phone is&nbsp;turned on and easily accessible.&nbsp;This process may sound like a lot of trouble but at the rate that <a href="#reliable_service">my&nbsp;real phone was out</a>, I needed to do this anyway. (Apparently you can use Google's <a href="http://lifehacker.com/software/cell-phones/find-your-cell-phone-with-google-maps-clicktocall-226988.php">Click-to-Call feature to locate your phone</a>&nbsp;though I haven't tried this yet).&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Giving out the home phone number. </b>My cell phone number is my home number, period. Whenever I fill out forms that request my home number, I list my cell number, even if it means&nbsp;listing my cell number twice (once in the home phone section and then&nbsp;in the cell phone section). I remember hearing from someone who said that she didn&rsquo;t get recorded announcements&nbsp;from her child's&nbsp;school because she didn&rsquo;t have a landline; no worries, the school calls me on the cell phone/home phone. I have found this method more reliable than using my home phone, because the message goes directly to me. Before,&nbsp;my kids might answer the&nbsp;phone and by the time I reached the phone and started listening to the message, the call was nearly over.&nbsp;With my direct, rather than family line, I get the messages I&nbsp;need.</p> <p><b>Getting numbers changed.&nbsp;</b>The first two places&nbsp;that I notified about my new&nbsp;number&nbsp;was my kids&rsquo; schools; I wanted to make sure I&nbsp;was reachable&nbsp;for any urgent needs, which is one reason that I&nbsp;had the phone in the first place.&nbsp;I&nbsp;hadn't considered all the places that my home number was listed at first, but there are lots of them. Some changes I&nbsp;made online and some were made by notifying service providers of the&nbsp;change (places to update include&nbsp;the bank, dentist's office, and library).&nbsp;In regard to the phone directory, no change was needed as my&nbsp;home number&nbsp;has been unlisted for several years to avoid telemarketing calls, pre-dating the do-not-call registry.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><b>Keeping it charged. </b>Before I switched to my cell phone full time, I used it so infrequently&nbsp;that I charged its battery just once every couple of weeks. When I started using it more regularly because I didn&rsquo;t have the landline, such as making after-hours client calls that lasted an hour or so,&nbsp;I found that I needed to charge it more often. Now, I charge it after making a long call.&nbsp;I am planning on getting a solar charger just in case the power goes out (my neighborhood has underground utilities so losing power has happened just one or two times in the last 10 years; also, I live within walking distance of services).</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><strong>Staying in touch. </strong>Most of my friends communicate on a day-to-day basis via email so changing my number wasn't a big deal:&nbsp;I&nbsp;just emailed and let them know to use my cell&nbsp;number.&nbsp;Maybe it's because we keep differing at-home&nbsp;hours and can contact each other at odd hours without disturbing dinner conversation or keeping someone from an important task&nbsp;but&nbsp;email has superseded phone contact.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> <p><b><a name="reliable_service">Getting reliable service</a>. </b>Until recently, I had considered the traditional landline as the most reliable for phone service. I grew up using rotary dial phones in basic black; though analog wasn&rsquo;t exciting, it never failed even when the power went out.</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">After VoIP technology had been around awhile, I decided to try digital phone service from the cable company so that I could save on long distance calls, which I make frequently to my family and out-of-town clients. (Technically, the digital phone may not be considered a landline but my phone was connected to wires and not wireless.) There were often outages for no apparent reason; these interruptions didn&rsquo;t seem to bother the cable company but they disturbed me.&nbsp;And when city workers accidentally cut the cable when they were repairing a drainage pipe in my front yard and I lost phone service for a couple of days, I started to rethink the redundancy of a landline and the reliability of the digital phone. After another misstep by the cable company (sending out a repair crew, unannounced, to make a repair to previously working&nbsp;phone&nbsp;that rendered the service unavailable), I decided to go back to the regular landline.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Or, rather, I tried to go back to the regular landline. I never received the phone service as requested. The initial installation didn&rsquo;t happen as planned and the tech guy who asked me to call him never returned my calls (I called 3 times over the course of a week; apparently he was sick but didn&rsquo;t transfer his calls to another service person). A trouble report provided to the service department was cleared without being resolved. The service failures continued with every communication, made via cell phone. I didn&rsquo;t want to pay a premium price for such&nbsp;unresponsive service, so&nbsp;I&nbsp;cancelled it.&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">One of my primary concerns about not having a landline was not being able to contact emergency services; however, the phone still has a dial tone and will allow me to call 911, and GPS capabilities in cell phones allow pinpointing of callers' location regardless of where the caller is at home or elsewhere.&nbsp;(For more on 9-1-1 services, see <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/services/911-services/Welcome.html">FCC&nbsp;website</a>.)</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><strong>Exploring&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skype.com/">Skype</a>.</strong> Now that&nbsp;my cell usage has increased, I decided to explore more communication options that might offer even&nbsp;more&nbsp;convenience and cost savings. Though I&rsquo;d heard of Skype, it sounded somewhat geeky for someone like me who was not even an expert on&nbsp;cell-phone features. But after hearing about it from an acquaintance who uses it&nbsp;to call her family in Poland,&nbsp;receiving a client call from Costa Rica via Skype (the reception was amazing), and following a discussion on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forums/lifehacks-personal-development/what-phone-option-use-work-phone-4362.html">the forums</a>, I decided to check it out. I downloaded the interface and tested it for free, ordered a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VEMNQO/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20">headset with microphone </a>from Amazon using a gift card, and found it&nbsp;simple and&nbsp;intuitive to use. Instructions are in plain English, not bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo&nbsp;with misleading verbiage. You can make calls for free if both the caller and recipient have signed up; if not,&nbsp;you can buy credits or get a subscription ($2.95 per month for unlimited calls in the U.S. plus options for worldwide calling). If you want a fixed&nbsp;number and features such as voice mail, you can buy a number in the area code of your choice.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">There are many ways to configure your own&nbsp;telecom plan, depending on your personal situation, work set-up, and lifestyle. If you&rsquo;re at home a lot and your family lives nearby, you might opt for a traditional line and use a prepaid cell phone (see Linsey&rsquo;s post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">reasons she doesn't have a cell phone plan yet</a>) or if you&rsquo;re married and work at home, you could try one cell phone only and a two-way radio (Myscha explains <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/four-tech-products-that-save-you-time-and-money">how to use tech items&nbsp;to save time and money</a>). But if you happen to have a cell phone set-up (prepaid plan or contract)&nbsp;that meets your needs, dispensing of&nbsp;a&nbsp;landline could&nbsp;save at least&nbsp;$25 every month and $50-80 per month&nbsp;for a&nbsp;business line.</div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal">6 Reasons Cutting Your Landline Is a Bad Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-appreciate-lifes-everyday-moments">7 Ways to Appreciate Life&#039;s Everyday Moments</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle cell phone cutting the cord landline skype VoIP Sat, 21 Mar 2009 16:03:03 +0000 Julie Rains 2946 at http://www.wisebread.com