I can’t figure out why it costs so much just to live! Even in our rural West Michigan town where the overall cost of living is relatively low, the everyday “necessities” of life can bankrupt the savviest among us. Among the necessary expenses is a home phone. Do people really pay upwards of $30 to $40 for this? It seems ridiculous to me – why can’t there be free home phone service?
We haven’t had a landline phone for a long time. My husband Andrew and I use our cell phones for everything (which are ridiculously expensive, but that’s a topic for another time). And we just couldn’t see adding another $30 to $40 a month for home telephone service.
But, with our recent move, we needed to set up a telephone for our daughter to use because I just can’t bring myself to get her a cell phone at only 11-years-old.
After researching the options available to us, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do.
We have enough monthly expenses. And while $30 or $40 a month doesn’t seem like a lot to add to our monthly cost of living, we’re trying to get out of debt and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
This added cost just seemed silly to me. Perhaps because we’ve lived without one for so long, I couldn’t justify the expense.
There has to be a better way.
And good news: there is! We have figured out how to get free home phone service. FREE!
Our Journey to discovering free home phone service
You see, back in December one of my favorite bloggers – the Frugalwoods – posted about their VoIP home phone service, which they get for a ridiculously low cost.
And it got me thinking: If they could do it in rural Vermont, why couldn’t I?
So that, my frugal friends, is how our journey began.
Being somewhat technologically savvy, I knew about VoIP phone service. My employer uses it for the office phones and I’m sure you’ve known about “Magic Jack” and Vonage for a few years by this point. (Those are both VoIP services, by the way.)
But I couldn’t make sense of Magic Jack, and Vonage comes with a higher monthly expense than I wanted to pay.
All this research was making Andrew crazy.
Me and my incessant need to know everything – to approach a problem from every angle and examine every possible solution to the nth degree – was frustrating. I was trying to do something that I didn’t even know was possible. I have basically no clue how VoIP works or if it would even be a viable option for us.
He’s a tech guy. That’s what his college degree is in and that’s the field he’s always worked in. He knows more about VoIP than I ever will (his employer uses it, too, and he’s part of the team that sets it up and helps to maintain it).
Plus, being a man, all he wanted to do was “fix it.” (That’s what men do, they fix things.)
The trouble is, I couldn’t make up my mind. I kept suggesting different options and programs and couldn’t settle on one method to get our home set up with VoIP service.
Until a Google search brought me to an article about using Google Voice as your home phone service. FOR FREE!
Since free is my favorite price, I ran the idea past my tech guru – my husband – and he thought it could really work.
That’s when the excitement really began to build.
You see, saving money is a game to me. I love to figure out new and interesting ways to not spend our hard-earned money.
So finding a way to get free home phone service was like winning the frugal lotto!
How to get free home phone service for life
It’s simple, really. And who doesn’t like free stuff?
Getting free home phone service does come with a catch. (Doesn’t everything?) But it’s a pretty simple catch to beat.
You need to buy a $40 VOIP box to connect your regular home phone to your internet connection. But, really… a one-time $40 investment for free home phone service for life? I’ll take it!
And even though Andrew is a technology genius, I assure you that you can do this with minimal effort and stress on your part.
Here’s what you need:
- A high-speed internet connection
- A Google account
- This Obi VoIP phone adapter from Amazon
- A regular telephone (we bought this one)
And here’s how you do it.
- Plug your OBi VoIP adapter into your router
- Connect your telephone to the OBi adapter
- Get a Google Voice phone number
- Create an account with OBi to setup your VoIP adapter
- Register your Google Voice number with OBi (here are step-by-step instructions to make it easy)
- Optional: Because Google Voice does not support 911 service, OBi partners with Anveo to offer 911 service for only $25 per year (that’s $2.08 a month! For home phone service!)
It really is that easy.
We were shocked that, after a few simple steps, we could make and receive telephone calls with no trouble at all.
And we verified the 911 service worked and was registered to our home address since, you know, the whole reason we wanted a home phone was for emergencies when our daughter didn’t have access to one of our cell phones
Does it really work?
The saying often goes “you get what you pay for.” In this case, that old adage is only partially true.
Investing $40 into the OBi phone adapter is a good call – it’s a high-quality, reputable device. And the free home phone service? We pay nothing for that and it works marvelously.
I’ve made and received several phone calls on our Google Voice VoIP home phone service.
We even have voicemail!
If you have the internet in your home, this is definitely the way you should go. This one frugal hack is a win for us, saving us $500 a year.
But the money-saving game continues as we seek to minimize our expenses to reach our ultimate goal of stopping the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
I’m still working on cutting the cost of our cell phones – that one may take awhile.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more money-saving tips and tricks!