Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cost-cutting: Cheap phone calls

I'm always looking for ways to do things "on the cheap" and I have discovered a couple ways to save a few bucks on my phone bill. These might also work in the small library environment.

Option 1) 10-10 "dial-around service." I had previously been very skeptical of these services. But, if you do your homework, you can save quite a bit on long-distance charges. (For example, I currently pay $0.05/minute versus $0.15 to $0.36/minute plus admin feeds). Some may find it a bit of a pain to dial an extra seven digits before a ten-digit long-distance number. But, if it is a number you call frequently, you can just program your speed dial to dial all seventeen digits - easy one-button savings!

Option 2) Skype. This is a free download that enables you to make calls over the internet (a better explanation of the service can be found here). The best part is that you can make calls to any other Skype user for free, regardless of location. Alternately, if you want to call someone who does not use Skype, you can subscribe to the SkypeOut service, which allows you to place Skype calls to landline phones for the very reasonable fee of $29.95 per year (not per month, per year). Until January 31, 2007, this subscription is available for $14.95 - even better!

Each of these options will require a small time investment to get them set up. But, once that is done, saving money will be as easy as making a phone call!

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