6 tips on how to lower your home phone bill

Jim Gustke profile image July 17, 2023 | 1 min read

You may not give much thought to paying everyday bills, especially if you’ve got automatic payments set up. This makes it hard to notice if your home phone bill is on the rise. And even if you see a spike, you may feel powerless to do anything about it. But that’s simply not true.

Empower yourself with these six tips on how to lower your home phone bill. Spoiler alert: I’ve saved the best for last.

1. Review your phone bill and cancel add-on features you don’t need.

See if there are any charges for features you seldom or never use. For example, some providers—not Ooma😉—charge extra for call waiting and caller ID. Contact your provider and discontinue any features you can live without.

If you’re on an automatic payment plan and don’t get a bill every month, go online or call your provider to get a copy of your most recent bill to see exactly where the money is going.

Look for mystery charges and ask your service provider to explain them. Search for items you don’t remember authorizing, like ringtones and horoscopes billed by outside companies. They could be made by an illegal practice known as cramming, which often goes undetected because the amounts are tiny. But a dollar or two every month paid by millions of customers can net a hefty profit for unscrupulous crammers.

2. Find a more economical way to call internationally.

If you make a lot of calls outside of the U.S., you might be able to save money if your provider offers an international calling plan. Make sure that plan includes the countries you call.

On the flip side, perhaps you signed up for an international calling plan that you rarely use now that your daughter has completed her study abroad. You may be better off canceling it and paying per-minute rates for long-distance calls.

Another idea is to purchase prepaid long-distance phone cards with international calling minutes. Read the fine print to find out which countries you can call and if there is an expiration date.

And, if you have a mobile phone or tablet, you can download an inexpensive or free app like WhatsApp and make all your long-distance calls through it—as long as the person you’re calling is also using WhatsApp.

3. See if you qualify for the FCC Lifeline program.

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a monthly discount on phone or internet service through the FCC’s Lifeline program. Lifeline was set up in 1985 so all Americans can have access to the opportunities and security that come with phone service. To be eligible, you must participate in specific federal assistance programs, like Medicaid or the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or have income that is at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.