Who still has a land line? That’s the question I had for my mom when she called me on our home line, a number I haven’t seen pop up on my call display in months. Apparently my parents, my friend’s parents, and even some of my friends, are still hanging onto their home phones.
While some of us are not in a position to eliminate our home phone, like my grandmother who still uses a wall-mounted olive-green rotary dial phone, the majority of us can, and should, get by without one – especially if we have cellphones and a computer.
It’s $30 for a basic land line with my provider. If you want call display and call waiting, add another $15 to the bill. Paying more than $500 a year is unnecessary when you consider the alternatives.
Our cellphone bills are already pretty outrageous, but you can beef up your plan by adding more minutes or long-distance calling, and still save money every month. You can add additional minutes, or unlimited long distance, for less than the cost of a land line. Or make your calls on a free service like Skype. We all know the name, but how familiar are we with its services? You can download Skype to your mobile phone or home computer.
If you are old-school and still want to continue using your home phone, you can order a home-phone adapter from Skype for $60 (U.S.) – and get rid of your home-phone plan. The cost of ordering this adapter is equal to less than two months of your home phone bill and you get unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada for the year.
There are other cost-saving gadgets on the market, like the Magic Jack, a tiny device with a USB connector on one end and a regular phone jack on the other. It costs just over $50, but also provides unlimited calling for a year within the U.S. and Canada. I recently tested this product and it seems to work well, but I still prefer Skype.
If you’re concerned about Internet usage after dropping the land line, then a call to your provider outlining your general talk time will help you ensure you’re on the right plan. If you lose the land line, you’ll eliminate a household bill and in the process save hundreds this year – two great things to call home about.
Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at the globe investor personal finance site .