31 Useful Tips To Reduce Big Telephone Bills

1. If the message isn't urgent, send a letter or postcard instead.

2. Avoid using coin phones. They generally cost more in the long run.

3. Limit all phone calls to five minutes or less.

4. Instruct all family members - including children - to make only calls that are necessary.

5. Check your directory for phone numbers. Some telephone companies now charge when you dial "Directory Assistance" for information.

6. Use your radio for time and weather information instead of your phone.

7. Dial calls "direct". Charges increase when an operator is involved.

8. Phone during discount rate periods - evening, night and weekend hours.

9. Call when holiday rates are in effect, generally all day for legal holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, etc.

10. Avoid calls that require the services of an operator: collect calls, credit card calls, calls charged to another number, time & charge, etc.

11. Avoid "person-to-person" telephone calls.

12. Many firms have toll-free "800" numbers. Most airlines, railways, bus lines, hotels, motels, rent-a-car chains, etc. will pay for your call. Look them up in your directory for the "800" number, or call 800-555-1212 to see if the firm you want has a toll-free number.

13. Many businesses have "Zenith" or "Enterprise" prefixes. They are toll-free also. Check your directory for such numbers before dialing.

14. Plan your phone calls in advance, especially when dialing long distance. Some areas have unassisted 1-minute calls that can save you money.

15. If you phone someone frequently, "schedule" your calls. In this way, you can dial direct when the person you want to reach will be there.

16. If you reach a wrong number, call the operator right away so that you won't be charged for it. If this happens with a coin phone, the telephone company will mail you a refund.

17. If you have a bad connection or get cut-off, both parties should hang up. Whoever placed the call should tell the operator about the problem. The operator will then reestablish the call & make an adjustment.

18. Extension phones cost extra. Have them installed only when necessary.

19. If a coin phone takes your money and doesn't complete the call, notify the phone company by calling from another phone. Give them the number of the faulty phone and they will mail you a refund.

20. If you are going away for over 60 days, you can temporarily suspend your phone service. This rate is lower than most regular rates.

21. When relocating, have all phone installations done at the same time.

22. There are usually no time limits on local calls. However, "nearby" and long distance rates are based on 1-minute and 3-minute units. Consult your directory or phone company before calling, to get the lowest rate.

23. If you dial a number often that does not appear in your current phone directory, jot it down instead of dialing Directory Assistance each time.

24. Anticipate the number of calls you make each month. Then talk to your phone company and select the most economical type of service.

25. Have all family members included under one directory listing.

26. Don't permit guests or business associates to use your phone to make personal long distance calls.

27. If you use your residence phone for business purposes, you may be able to deduct a portion of your phone bill for business purposes. Check with your nearest Internal Revenue Service office.

28. Residence phone rates are generally less than business phone rates.

29. Pay telephone bills promptly. If you become delinquent, your phone may be disconnected. A charge will be made later to restore service.

30. Instead of an extension phone, have a longer cord installed on your phone.

31. If possible, call long distance "collect".

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