Three reasons to cut your home phone service and four reasons to keep it (guest post)

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Have you cut your home telephone service and use only wireless? You’re not alone. Roughly 25% of all American adults now live in homes with wireless-only voice connections. If you’re among the 25 to 29 age bracket, only about half have bothered with a home telephone line.

With so many ways to reach out and touch someone, the need for “plain old telephone service” has been on a steady decline. With a review of your family’s phone usage, you may be able to eliminate many of the unnecessary home phone service add-ons you are currently paying for – or you might be able to join the trend and cut your home phone service altogether.

My dear wife and I recently did an audit of our home phone bill. After making a couple changes, dropping a second line for business, dropping to a lower feature package, and dropping a very under-used long distance package, we were able to cut our (business and personal) phone bill by more than $800 a year.

If you still have conventional landline phone service, please review the latest feature packages. Do you really need personalized rings, selective call forwarding, and premium speed dial features anymore? You may be surprised to find that you have been paying for them. Also, is it possible to use your cell phone for the majority of your long distance calls? If so, you may have big savings waiting by canceling your ‘unlimited long distance’ package. Be prepared when you call to cancel, however. Our phone company’s ‘retention’ department was not easy to get to and required a very firm stance to accomplish what I wanted.

What are the reasons for canceling your home phone service?

1. Save money! Taxes, fees, and the monthly charge for a redundant voice line can be avoided by making one last phone call from your home line and disconnecting. This could save you many hundreds of dollars a year. If you still want to use your home phones, connect them to a Voice Over IP (VOIP) service like Vonage or MagicJack – or buy an adapter that will allow you to use them over your cellular phone’s line. With a little research, you’ll find a number of low cost alternatives to conventional landline phone service.

2. Enjoy more privacy. Your situation may be different, but 75% of the calls we get on our home line are telemarketers who don’t respect (or are exempt from) the government’s do not call list, or are calling in search of the previous owner of that phone number. The other 25% can be quickly directed to our cell phone number if we were to update them. Cell phones don’t alert the whole house until someone picks up the phone. A quick tap of the button and your caller is sent to voicemail when you choose not to take the call.

3. Get your phone calls and voicemails where you are – or delivered to your computer or email inbox. Rather than getting home and checking your messages on your home voicemail, have your voice calls accessible or passed to a virtual voicemail for later reviewing. Skype and Google Voice are among the solutions that can make your communications more accessible.

What are the reasons for keeping your home phone service?

1. Possibly greater reliability – particularly if your cell phone doesn’t get great coverage at home. The argument can be made for either side regarding reliability in a power outage. Personally, my home phones are cordless – so a power outage would leave me unable to use them unless plugged into to a generator – or battery backup. Still, many people believe that non-powered landline phones are the most reliable method of phone communication.

2. Emergency location identification to 911 in case the dialer is not able to speak. Also, if you have kids who arrive home from school early and they do not have a cell phone, cutting your home service may not be an option to you. For safety’s sake, I’ll let you do your own research regarding Enhanced 911 access in your area. (Enhanced 911 displays your address to the 911 operator). Almost every modern cell phone is equipped with Enhanced 911 capability – which can allow Enhanced 911 coverage areas to pinpoint your location within a few meters. Rural areas are less likely to have this capability, however. You may want to ensure that this is reliably available to you and that this will meet your needs. Call your cell phone service provider and local emergency providers (on their non-emergency line) and learn how well you would be protected with cellular-only enhanced 911 service. Voice Over IP phone service is gaining better enhanced 911 access – and is also worth researching.

You can learn more about Enhanced 911 via cell phone from the FCC’s website:

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services

You can learn all about Enhanced 911 on Voice Over IP lines here:

http://transition.fcc.gov/voip/

If you do need to place a 911 call from your cell phone, you won’t be alone. According to the FCC, “The number of 911 calls placed by people using wireless phones has significantly increased in recent years. It is estimated that about 70 percent of 911 calls are placed from wireless phones, and that percentage is growing.”

Also remember that every cell phone – regardless of whether it has an active service plan should have access to make a 911 call. This may figure into your decision on phone access.

3. Better quality. This is largely based on your cell coverage – but if you have a job or role that necessitates good telephone quality, a landline generally provides a higher quality sound than a cell phone. However, you might find that a VOIP service meets your needs.

4. You may have devices such as a fax machine, tv receiver, or security service that requires a regular phone line to dial out. With no landline phone service, you may find alternate solutions like Internet Fax services. Your VOIP provider may allow faxing – or may provide a option for faxing.

Congratulations to you if you are able to cut your home phone cord or reduce your services and save your family a great deal of money.

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Josh Elledge is the Chief Executive “Angel” of SavingsAngel, Inc. – launched from his Holland, Michigan home in January 2007. A husband and father of three, he now appears each week on television, many radio stations and newspapers, teaching families how to cut their grocery bill in half using the Internet. Elledge created the technology found on SavingsAngel.com through the need to save his own family’s money. Successfully able to cut his own grocery bill from $600 a month to less than $300 a month, his message has reached hundreds of thousands of families. SavingsAngel.com is now growing rapidly throughout the country. You can watch a short video at SavingsAngel.com that will explain more information about how to cut your own grocery bill in half with the help of SavingsAngel.com.

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About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

6 comments… add one

  • We still have our home phone service and we use it to talk to family internationally.

    Reply
  • We got tired of paying an arm and a leg for phone service but have to have a land line for hubby’s business, even though we never use it. We got the home phone service Verizon is offering now. It’s $20 a month with all the stuff our ATT service had for $120 a month. I also won a Net Talk thingy that plugs into your computer but don’t really need it now. I may give it a shot though and see how it does. It hooks up to the computer.

    Reply
  • We’re a household that falls into the 50% of people in twenties who have never bothered with a land line. It’s just not necessary for us. There was a time we considered getting a land line b/c of horrible service in the area the army moved us. But all it took was changing our cell service company. And with our smart phones, we have everything we need on hand.

    Reply
  • Google talk over your computer is free and you get a free number. 2happytightwads twitter

    Reply
  • 911 at our house has been a not so good experience no matter what phone used. Everyone in our house has a cell phone so we had it shut off.

    Reply
  • every time i have had to call 911 from a cell phone it has been a disaster. I have a type 1 diabetic husband & would never get rid of the house phones especially for that reason. We also have to have one for our alarm system

    Reply

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