This Phone and Internet Savings Super Page contains a growing list of money saving ideas from our readers!
Cell phone and internet costs can really put a crimp in your household budget. This page is constantly being updated with the latest in ways to save on accessing the internet and communicating with friends and family.
The world is getting smaller and smaller and communication internationally is becoming easier and much less expensive. With a good cell phone or internet connection, you can talk video call to people anywhere in the world at no additional cost using these tools.
With Skype, you can easily do video or voice calls. You can also send links, images and text messages. Skype is a program for your computer (Mac or PC) and an app for your phone.
Victoria Hay – Phoenix, AZ
Some friends from India gave us rave reviews on WhatsApp Messenger, it’s the only calling and text messaging program they use. WhatsApp is a free, text messaging service that works on Android, Windows Phones, BlackBerry, and iPhones. It does you your data plan, so be careful that you don’t exceed your limits if you use the video feature. Your phone number is your ID, so you don’t really need to set up another account. Martin Gonzalez – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Tyrel Good – Czech Republic; Darren Ware – Greensboro, North Carolina; Pankaj Kohli – New Dehli, India
This is built into Gmail and is a pretty easy tool to use. All you need is the hangouts app on your phone, or on your computer – just follow these instructions from Google. There may be a small charge for calls initiated from outside of the U.S. to some remote U.S. locations.
Luke Ryberg – Tempe, Az; Jim Haberstock – Greer, AZ
Viber offers free calling and the ability to chat with multiple users. You can also make regular phone calls to mobile phones and landlines. Viber is available for most platforms (iPhone, Android etc) and also is accessible on desktop computers (on PC, Mac, and Linux).
Venita Ballard – Phoenix, AZ; Rynata Burkhart – Glendale, Az; Bart Good – Scottsdale, AZ.
OoVoo is a video chat and messaging app, and is available for iPhone/iPod/iPads and Androids. You can also use OoVoo on a computer (PC or MAC). With OoVoo you can video chat with up to 12 people at a time; you can see four people at once on the screen. A lot of the Burmese families do. OoVoo is owned by Twitter. Jane Hopkins – Scottsdale, AZ
If you have questions, the phone number for OoVoo Customer Service is: 770-396-8105
HouseParty is an app for Android and iPhone. You can have multiple people on the same video chat. Jessica Yarger – Phoenix, AZ
Other favorites shared by our friends include Facebook Chat – Susan Engler – Lebanon, NH; Zoom – Abbey Nevitt – Phoenix, AZ & Theo Economides – Chicago, IL; Kik-Dwayne Gradin – Phoenix, Az; UberConference – Sarah Allison – Mesa, AZ; FaceTime – Bob Blayter – Gilbert, AZ & Graciela Quiocho – Costa Rica and Signal – Tim Economides – North Sebago, ME.
I broke the screen on my smartphone and needed to make some calls while it was in the shop being repaired. I went to my Gmail page and clicked on the “Make a Call” link and was able to make my calls through my laptop, via wifi. We’ve also used Skype to make voice calls and (domestic and international) for free. Steve Economides – Scottsdale, AZ
The world of cell phone plans is constantly changing. Now that most that carriers have done away with contracts and most offer prepaid and unlimited plans, prices are really getting competitive. We asked our email newsletter subscribers to share their cell phone deals and here are a few of their suggestions.
Ting – Pay for What you Use
My husband and I use Ting Mobile. We have two iPhones and our monthly bill averages around $24. That’s for text, talk, and data. And that price includes BOTH phones. Ting runs on Sprint’s network. I’ve used it for over 2 years and it’s been a wonderful experience. I bought my phone and my husband’s phone used on eBay so we didn’t pay a lot of money for them.
Ting is a pay-for-what-you-use provider. You pay a flat rate of $6 for each cell phone, then, you pay for what you use on data, talk, and text. If you don’t use anything in the month your bill for one phone would be $6 or $12 for two phones. Both phones share the same pool of talk, text, and data for the month. The billing is rated as Small, Medium and Large. Small would be 1-100 texts, 1-100 minutes of talk and/or 10-100 Megabytes of data. I’ve had times where I’ve gone over by 2 or 3 texts and they’ve only charged me the Small rate and let me know that they were aware and adjusted it. If you have wi-fi where you work or at home, then your data usage could be relatively small. Bonnie Curtis – Barden Hills, MA
Saving with Consumer Cellular with Kids
I have Consumer Cellular for the whole family of four. We use our own phones (iPhones) I purchased new or used at GameStop (great savings). Phones must be AT&T or unlocked with a slot with a SIM card as Consumer Cellular uses AT&T towers. We pay about $67.00 per month for all four phones. I do not have a data/texting plan because I choose not to give my kids access to 24/7 texting but they can text and access data via wi-fi.
Here is the breakdown: $20 per month plus $10 for any additional phones plus taxes.
Consumer Cellular also offers a $10 referral credit for both the new customer and the referring customer.
Lastly, they offer a discount for AARP members. FYI -Did you know you do not have to be a senior to apply to AARP? Jackie Cabanillas – New Rochelle, NY
Saving With Republic Wireless
I use Republic Wireless and have unlimited Talk and Texts. I only use data over wifi and my cost per month for 2 phones is $20 ($10 per phone). They have higher priced plans with more data, but we don’t need it for our lifestyle. Tamara Kroll – Spokane, WA
Straight Talk about StraightTalk Wireless
I switched from Verizon to Straight Talk and I’m saving more than $100 per month. Here’s the info about our StraightTalk plan:
Details: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data
Monthly Costs: 45 dollars plus 1.50 911 fee
The only part that isn’t great is having to buy your phone outright. I have gotten several on Black Friday for less than $50 for a model typically around $150. They have very inexpensive phones all the way up to the new iPhone. It’s all in what you want to pay. Joy Barilla – Lancaster, PA
We use Cricket Wireless and have four phones on the plan. We share 3 Gb of data and have unlimited talk and text. The cost is $100 for all four phones. Diane Rocha – Carol Stream, IL
Family Plan Savings with TMobile are Great
At the Economides house, we’ve been using T-mobile for many years. We started with a prepaid plan for $40 per month with 1 GB of Data and unlimited Talk and Text. As the kids got older and could afford their own phones, we upgraded to a T-Mobile family plan. Now we have 5 people on the plan each with Unlimited Talk, Text and 4 Gb of data. We pay $135 tax included which comes out to about $28 per phone line. Steve Economides – Scottsdale, AZ
We’ve had internet service with CenturyLink for many years. Honestly, they are a difficult company to deal with, but so is Cox in our area. We’ve learned how to work with their system.
Asking for the Discount
Whenever our discounted plan is set to expire, we call customer service and see what deals they are offering. Usually, they can’t offer us anything as inexpensive as we already have. So we ask to be connected with the customer retention department.
Customer Retention People are Like Santa Claus
The people in Customer Retention have more resources and discounts available to offer customers. The reason is that these companies have calculated the cost of keeping an existing customer versus gaining a new one.
If you’re kind to the customer retention rep, they’ll usually dig pretty deep to look for a discount that you qualify for. We have received discounts that cut our monthly bill to as little as $20 a month for a landline and 12 mb internet (retail price is around $65).
We just have to watch the bills to see when a discount is going to expire and call a few weeks before it does to negotiate.
Try this same strategy with cable companies, cell phone companies, and other internet providers. Steve Economides – Scottsdale, AZ
If you’re wanting to cut expenses so you can build savings, pay-off debt, or make your savings stretch while going to school (that’s what we’re doing) try living without paying for internet access. We’ve done it for several months and while it’s a little inconvenient, it really does work well.
- We can tether to our cell phones if we want internet in our apartment
- We can go to Starbucks or the college campus to use free wi-fi
- We can go to the library and use their computers and internet also
There are so many ways to get internet access without spending $60 per month. Nolan & Becky Ludwig – Phoenix, AZ