I hate recurring costs. They add up over time and you don’t even really notice. I was looking over our budget a few months ago and started looking for ways to trim the recurring monthly expenses. One expense that caught my eye was the $30/month home phone bill. With cell phones, email, and facebook we hardly ever use the home phone any more. But my wife still did not want to be without it.
The first solution I tried was Magic Jack. It is about $40, is the size of a match box, and plugs into your computers USB port. It has a phone jack on it where you plug your phone in. From there your phone calls are free for a year. Each year you have to pay another $20. I was happy with this solution but the voice quality was inconsistent and my wife didn’t like it.
Then one day I was walking through Best Buy and I saw a similar device called Ooma Telo. This device is similar in that it allows you to make phone calls over the internet, but it is different because it connects to your home router instead of directly into your computer. It is also different in that Ooma provides a service and is considered a which mean telecom fees apply. These are not Ooma charges the are fees the government collect from telecom providers. The fees are not much, about $4.00 a month, but the trade off is you get voice mail and much better and consistent voice quality. The price of the Ooma Telo is much higher than the Magic Jack though. I have seen them priced from $150 – $250 per unit. But considering I was paying $360 a year for phone service I will make this up pretty quick.