Friday, February 20, 2009

Frugal Friday: Voice over Internet Phone Calls

Did you know that you can make unlimited free phone calls and video calls to anywhere in the world any time of day over the internet? It is very easy to set up. Our family is all set up now to call each other over the internet using Skype or Yahoo Instant Messaging. And, we can even set up conference calls.
Mike and I have not had a land line phone in almost 5 years now - we just use our cell phones. But, the neat thing about making phone calls through the internet using Skype or Yahoo Instant Messaging is that you can set up a Webcam and see who you are talking to. (We got a great deal on webcams off this week, so that will get Joni/Ron and us set up with webcams too.) The webcams are very fun to use, especially with the kids. It is also nice when I am talking to Mom and Dad because we usually have them on speaker phone and I think the quality over the internet is better than using the cell phones.
So, how do you get started? Signing up for an account with Skype is free if you are only using the computer-to-computer calling (go to their website here for more information and set up an account). (Or, if you prefer Yahoo - this is the website). Note that both parties will need to be using the same program. You will also need a headset/microphone or webcam - those range in price just like any computer hardware but can be as inexpensive as $7. And that's all there is to it!
Depending on your needs, VOIP has potential to save you lots of money by virtually eliminating long distance calls on your land line or decrease the amount of minutes that you need to carry on your cell phone plan.

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