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Finances & Money

Wireless versus Home Phone Line – (What if it’s Vonage?)

Vonage Versus Verizon Wireless
Andy at Money Walks got me thinking about the costs of a cell phone versus a home phone (aka “land line”). In a post about savings tips, he comments that you can save money by dropping your home line and going completely cellular.In our case, that would save us money, but the bigger savings would be if we dropped our cell phones.

Our Wireless Situation
We have a family share plan with Verizon Wireless. The plan runs us $95 per month for 1000 shared minutes. They don’t have that plan anymore so if we wanted to change to a similar plan, we need to pay $10 more for 1400 minutes or $10 less for 700 minutes (shared). For calculations, we’ll stick with our current plan.

Our Home Phone Situation
Currently, we have the Vonage 500 minutes per month plan which runs us $19 per month. We run it on the cheap 768kbps DSL, so we can’t use much of the internet while we’re on the phone or else the line gets choppy. We’ve never used more than 500 minutes per month, but if we were to rely only on that phone, perhaps we would need to upgrade back to the unlimited minute plan. That would run us about $29 per month. We’ll stick with what we have for calculations.

The Calculations
Per year, we pay $1140 on wireless/cell phones
Per year, we pay $228 on a Vonage home phone

The Savings
As you can see, in our case, it would save us $228 per year to drop the home line, but we could save SOOO much more by dropping our cell phones. However, we’re hesitant to do either.

Our Reasoning for Keeping Both Plans

  • We send faxes sometimes, and we need a home line for that….or do we? There’s plans out there with online fax companies for $10 a month, and some PF sites have written about getting free faxes if you don’t need it often. In the rare instances, we could also pay Kinko’s to send or receive a fax. In our case, we need to be home to receive a fax anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal.
  • We like SimulRing and having our Voicemails e-mailed to us with Vonage
  • I don’t like giving out my wireless number when I sign up for things. You know, those things like contests or potential scams. But, since we barely get any calls on our home phone, and it’s usually just Discover trying to sell us a credit protection plan, it may not be that much of a risk.
  • We simply CAN’T do without our wireless phones – period. No more conversation on that. BUT could we get a better deal elsewhere? I looked around, and the small savings isn’t enough for us to switch to Cingular or T-Mobile. We have so many friends, family and coworkers using Verizon Wireless, which keeps our peak minute usage lower. Otherwise, we’d far exceed our 1000 monthly minutes by double or triple, or more.

So, I guess we could drop our Vonage home line, but we have had a home phone since we were born, and it’s just in our mentality to keep one. We went to just wireless 2.5 years ago when we moved into our first home, but at the time we found we needed a home line for whatever reason.

I’ll be speaking to the wife about dropping our Vonage line, but I only wish the costs were reversed and we could save $1100 by dropping Vonage rather just $228

About the author

Clever Dude

5 Comments

  • Just a suggestion that you may want to look into. If all you use Vonage for is primarily outbound calls you may want to look into Skype.com – like Vonage they are a VOIP service. For $30 per year you can make outbound calls (and they do have a plan for inbound calls but I don’t know what the pricing is). You might have to sacrifice faxes although there are online services available.

    I don’t use them (we are a cellular only family although that may change soon) so I can’t speak to their quality but I have heard good things about them and I am considering signing up with them as a backup service after a recent accident my wifes phone had in the laundry.

  • Cleverdude,

    I must agree with you that home lines are cheaper in most cases, in your case A LOT cheaper, than cell phones bills. The main point I was tyring to make was that since in our generation we are so dependent on our cell phones, if I had to drop one either a home phone or the cell phone, I would think that it would make sense to drop the home line. This way I can use my cell phone as my home phone and as my “on the go” phone, thus saving me of having to pay home phone bills. However, in your case, your list of reasons why you keep both lines is very good so I guess it would just a matter of if you still have the need for a home land line. Its like how you said, “we have had a home phone since we were born, and it’s just in our mentality to keep one”, it’s hard to think of not having a home phone so it’s just a question of is it worth to keep for 228 dollars. : )

    -Andy

  • You don’t REALLY need those cell phones. Unless you’re using every last one of those 1,000 minutes each month, it would be cheaper for you to switch to a T-Mobile pre-paid plan. The reception in our area is excellent, 1,000 minutes is only $100, and the minutes don’t expire for a year once you buy $100 worth.

  • Last month, we used 486 out of 1000 SharePlan allowance.

    HOWEVER, we also used 1135 “other” minutes, which means IN-network and “promotional” minutes (which I have no idea what that category is).

    That’s a total of 1621 last month. We could lower our plan to 700 minutes per month, but for $10 more per month, we get 300 more minutes in case we need them. If we drop the home line, we would definitely need them.

    Honestly, what we need to do is get in touch with the Verizon rep handling my wife’s company’s account and get the 15% discount. However, I would have to switch the plan to her name from mine.

  • Best Frugality Posts from Festival of Frugality 79 and 80 at Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money says:

    […] Blog compares bundled cable/phone/internet plans vs buying individually. Personally, I pay $19 for 500 minutes of Vonage, $27 for “dry loop” DSL (no home line, just DSL), and $18 for basic cable (with some […]

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