Phone Wire Maintenance and Long Distance Savings

by Gary Foreman

I have a question about our phone bill. Is it worth it to pay for the inside wire maintenance service? I have never used this service and our phone company is now increasing the charge to $2.55 per month. Also, I am looking for advice in choosing long distance companies. My husband and I both live out-of- state from our relatives and are always looking for ways to save money on phone bills. I have tried several different companies, but it doesn't seem that the savings are significant on any of them. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated! --Karen B.

Karen's not the only one asking these questions. Being an educated consumer on phone services today takes a bit of study. Let's take a look at what choices Karen has.

First the wire maintenance service. Your local phone company is responsible for providing service to your home. You're responsible for the cost of any repairs from the service drop to your individual phone jacks. So what does maintenance service cover? It is a form of insurance. You're paying $2.55 per month instead of paying for a repair bill if repairs become necessary.

Typically you only want to buy insurance for losses that you can't afford if they should occur. A fire in your home is a perfect example. So how much could a service problem inside your home cost? Each phone company is different, so it's best to call them.

But phone cables rarely break and most phone work is really pretty simple. Typical do-it-yourself type of stuff. It's just a matter of running a cable from point A to point B. There are either two or four color coded leads to connect. Sure there are some do's and don'ts you'll need to learn We won't get into how to do it here, but with a few precautions and minimal tools, it's a job that most people can tackle. If you do the repairs yourself you'll only spend a few dollars on cable and jacks at your home center.

If you're not handy you'll need to decide whether you would rather pay the $2.55 each month or risk a possible bill if a problem occurs. If you have some savings built into your budget that repair bill won't be a catastrophe. If you don't have that cushion it might be wise to pay the monthly charge.

Another question that you should ask is do you really still need a landline. Many people are not only saving the cost of wire service, but they're saving the whole bill, taxes and all! If you have a cell and don't need the landline for a security system or some other connection, it might be time to cut the cord on the phone company!

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Gary Foreman

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money and Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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