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Frugal Phone Card Tips

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for August, 1998

Which would you rather pay: $1.10 or $0.15?

Now multiply that by 10: $11.00 or $1.50?

If you're on the road and you retrieve a bunch of messages, you might easily need to make 10 calls a day to follow up on them. And you will pay a lot or a little, depending on your calling card. The big companies (Sprint, MCI, AT&T) typically hit you with a fairly steep connection charge of say, 85 cents, plus high per-minute charges in the 30-35 range. Keep one card from the majors--there will be places where it will work and the no-name cards will not--but when possible, use a cheapie from an independent reseller. By shopping around, you may find deals like 14 cents per minute with no connection charge. If you use the card a lot, the savings add up.

Important: Get a few cheap phone cards from different companies, so if you're out of one card's coverage area, you're not stuck. Keep your cards active! Use each one every month to make one or two calls, even if you're not traveling. Otherwise, you will get the unpleasant surprise--just when you finally need it--that your account has been terminated for lack of use. Lastly, if you're going abroad (and that includes U.S. possessions like Puerto Rico) find out ahead of time whether your cards will work, and how much they'll cost.

NOTE: There will be no tipsheet in September, as we will be moving to our beautiful new (and very frugal) house. Meanwhile, if you want more travel tips, my book, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist has a whole chapter on great ways to travel cheaply. Fares, lodging, dining, shopping, and attractions are all covered in the book. Preview both our money-saving books at http://www.frugalfun.com, or order for only $19.95 including shipping to the US or Canada, 413-586-2388. Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
This article originally appeared in Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tips. Please click here for your free subscription.


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