Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Google helped me save $$ on my phone bill!!

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

 I've been trying to cut costs as much as I can in almost every aspect to try to get us closer to becoming debt free. The problem is that not everyone is on board yet. My latest venture is the phone...we have had at least two cell phone bills this year that have been over $500.00.  Yes you read that correctly, we had to take my daughter's cell phone off of our plan, increase our family plan minutes and yet somehow we still went  beyond our plan. I will also admit that I am not proficient with the new technology that exists, but I do okay. My latest venture and it may be old news to you Techies out there, is Google Voice and GMail.

Image representing Google Voice as depicted in...Image via CrunchBase

Now I've seen the icon to the left of my screen indicating that I could call my friend Jeannette every time I'm checking my email, but I figured it was a chat screen or something I would need to pay for.  Well I was at work one day and the IT person was working on our laptops when he needed to call another client. He used Google Voice and I happened to overhear the computer being used as a phone. This was intriguing to me. I have some family members that I would like to call, but it would e a long distance call from the home phone (we have a basic phone line) or I would need to wait until after 9:00pm (central) or the weekend to call.  He briefly explained how it works, but I didn't really give it much thought until recently.  I had to go to Toronto for business meeting. I learned when I was in Toronto, and was roaming, that I did not have an international plan and would have to pay .25 for every text (even though I have unlimited texts on my plan), and calls would be .69/minute (you don't even want to know how much Internet was). Now I'm sure you would be thinking, just turn your phone off. Easier said than done... this trip required me to use my phone since 6 other people came with me. We couldn't even find each other in the airport to catch the shuttle to the hotel upon arriving in Toronto.  I'm afraid to find out what our phone bill is going to be.

Needless to say, I have several friends that want to hear all about my trip. Some of them have moved here from other cities, and kept their old phone numbers which makes me need to wait until it is after 9:00 to use my cell phone to make the call. So I decided to use Google voice, I created a phone number, and set it up to make a call to my real-father. I could hear the phone ring through the speakers on my laptop and the person on the other end could hear me fine (this was a call to California).  Well, he wasn't home and I had to call him on his cell since he is in Las Vegas right now.  I made another call to his cell using Google voice, and had to leave a message. I gave him the "Google number" to call so that he could save it to his cell phone. Not too long after that, I had a Google voice "voice-mail" from him. YES, not only does Google voice allow you to make and receive calls, it also transcribes voice mail messages into what looks like an email with a "play button". I could read the message or select play and I heard my father's voice! This probably the best way I can offset the cost of our phone bill for now. I don't have to wait until the weekend or off-peak hours to make any long distance calls! I'm LOVING IT!! Feel free to call me at 832-377-0864, I would love to put voices to my follower's faces!!
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