Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saving Money and Sanity with Vonage

We used to be a 'cell phone only' family. Then we had Drew and I started watching Blake. I had a slight problem. Our house eats cell service. I'm not joking. While in our kitchen or sitting on our couch your call will end. If I come home and forget to take my cell out of my pocket and sit on the couch all calls will go straight to voicemail. I wanted something more reliable than dropped calls and a signal that I wasn't sure of in case of an emergency.

I started pricing what a phone line would cost us. I quickly decided it was not worth it. Our parents live hours away and we found out that it would long distance for my husband to call home from work. Why? I have no idea. It's the same area code. Oddly enough, it's long distance for people less than 5 minutes away from my house to call to others who have land lines in my neighborhood, even those in the same area code and county.

So, we started looking for other options. We already had a cable modem, so I started looking around to see about VoIPs or phones that ran through the Internet. I ran into Vonage and thought we could at least give it a try and see how it worked. The most basic package has 500 minutes, free long distance, call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding and many, many more features and only costs $14.99 a month. And we got to pick whatever phone number we got. We got a number that was local to Rob's work and to all of our friends. We found a converter box on the Vonage website that was free after instant rebate and we got our first month free, so our initial investment was fairly small. We needed to do something, so we gave it a try. That was 3 years ago. We STILL have our Vonage phone and we LOVE it! It was a great investment. We have since changed out package to the unlimited minutes package ($30/month after taxes and fees).
As Drew has grown, we have seen that having unlimited long distance was a great decision. He LOVES talking to Papaw and Gamaw, Granny and Grandad and Uncle Chris on the phone. My mom has been known to stay on the phone with him for 30 minutes just listening to him play. He thinks that if someone is on the phone it's just like they are in the room with him! It's too cute! He "shows" people what toy he is playing with and everything. If he is having a bad day or we are hitting heads and getting on each other's nerves (we have the same personality, sometimes it's not a great thing) I just dial the phone and he immediately is a happy camper. Our parents love the connection with him as well. They love hearing him say new things and getting reports on how his potty training is going!

After we got our home phone, we were able to cut down our cell phone bill because we didn't need near as many minutes as we did before. That helped us pay for more than half of the new phone bill!

There are several different options now for VoIP, but I just wanted to share with you my opinion of the service we use. Even during the power outages I still received all of my phone calls because if calls can't go through they are automatically forwarded to my cell phone. If you are interested in more information about Vonage, please see their website or feel free to ask me. If you are interested to getting Vonage at your home or business (you even get to keep your own number) please let me know. If you use a current Vonage customer as a reference you get 2 months free instead of the normal 1 month.

Happy Savings!