Wondering… Too Good To Be True?

I went to bed shortly before midnight last night, dead tired and prepared to sleep at least 8 hours. However, shortly before 1:00 am, a loud THUD resounded from upstairs (i.e., where the Family-From-Hell resides) and woke me up. I swear they throw bowling balls on the floor up there! The end result, though, is that I couldn’t fall back to sleep, and I’ve found that if I can’t fall back to sleep after a half-hour of tossing and turning, it’s better to get up for a little while and then go back to bed.

Thus I found myself watching a bit of TV, including an infomercial on The Magic Jack, a VoIP device that costs a fraction of what I pay every year for phone service from Bell. It sounds almost too good to be true! From what I gather, given that I already get my Internet service from the local cable company, I could have a slightly more expensive variation of this thing and not have a computer turned on all the time in order for it to work. Obviously, recalling that I know of someone locally who got this gizmo a while back and being extra budget-conscious (obsessed?) lately, I couldn’t help but want to look more deeply into this possibility.

Bell pissed me off again recently, which is something it seemed particularly gifted at doing. I mean, at the best of times, Bell annoys me by wasting so much paper with at least one promotional letter per month plus sending me an envelope to pay my bill even though I’ve been on pre-authorized debit for at least a year. I was all happy with myself back in November when I found a way of saving over $10/month on phone services I didn’t use. However, this month Bell increased the cost of my long-distance plan by $5/month, so coupled with its $2/month basic fee increase and the Québec government’s 1 percent increase on the sales tax, my monthly savings have shrunk to less than $3/month. When I figured this out, I tried to look on the bright side and thought to myself, “Well, if I hadn’t asked for the useless services to be removed, I would be at well over $100/month by now.” Except this product has now come back to my attention, and I figure that not only could I reduce my phone budget by nearly 90% per year, but I could finally stick it to Bell.

I would obviously lose my current “514” phone number in order to get another one, but I’m not as attached to it as I was to my “902” number in Nova Scotia, which I held for some 15 years. But the thought of redirecting ≈ $900 per year on debt or savings or vacation money has the ol’ wheels in my head turning. And I’m sure my financial hero Gail would agree that every little bit counts.