4 Communication Options for All Your Chatting Needs

The majority of Americans have a phone of some sort, and when you go out and about, it’s easy to tell that cell phones are often the phone of choice. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, as of January 2014, 90 percent of American adults had a cell phone (and 58 percent of adults have a smartphone). However, landlines are still in use, and some people use a prepaid phone, or even use no phone at all. Many of us get so used to our traditional routine of using a landline, cell phone, or both that we forget that there are other options. Using a prepaid phone can save on costs if you can get rid of your other cell phone or your landline. There are also other options besides traditional landlines, like Voice over Internet Protocol plans, or even Skype. Here are some options to consider.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. Choose a landline

Many of us grew up using a landline, and sometimes there are real benefits to using a landline. Many landline plans come with unlimited minutes, so it’s nice to have an option that doesn’t cut into your mobile minutes — especially for calls that require waiting on hold. You can also use a landline number as a secondary number (or a primary number), and only give out your cell phone to people who need to reach you often, or who you want to hear from. There are many different companies that offer landline plans, including Verizon and Comcast. Prices vary, but you can often save money by bundling cable, Internet, and a phone line.

Another less known option to a traditional phone line are VoIP companies like magickJack. Ooma is another option. Ooma’s router costs roughly $150-$200, but after you pay the initial fee, the monthly fee is very low. You can also consider Skype, which will allow you to make many calls for free from your computer or tablet.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Choose a cell phone

Cell phones are immensely popular in the U.S., and there are so many different plans that you can choose from. Cell phones are convenient because you can take them anywhere, and you can also use them to do multiple different things in addition to making calls (texting, Internet, photos, etc). However, according to Pew Research, in 2012, 32 percent of cell phone owners said that they experienced drop calls a few times a week or more, so in some ways, cell phones lack the reliability that landlines offer.

You most likely have a cell phone if you are reading this, but if you are in the market, you should first determine if you want an individual or family plan. According to Time, there is an ideal phone plan for you based on your usage. If you are a light caller, Cricket might be your best bet. If you need 2GB-to-3GB per month, T-Mobile might be right for a family plan.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Use a prepaid cell phone

Prepaid is another way to go, and this is an important possibility to consider. In general, kids don’t need cell phones, and if they do, a prepaid phone can be a great option. Kids can carry a prepaid phone with them and call if they have an emergency or other important need. Prepaid phones can also work for adults who rarely use cell phones but like to have one so that they can be reached quickly. Many of the big phone carriers have prepaid options, and another popular choice is TracFone. TracFone has pay as you go plans as well as monthly plans, and once you purchase the phone, you can pay as little as $9.99 per month to have a pay as you go plan, or you can choose a monthly plan.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

4. Go phoneless

Skype is one way to live without a phone, because all you need is internet to use it regularly. Going completely phoneless is pretty difficult, though. Pay phones are rarely available anymore, and although you could always go inside a business in an emergency, living without a phone at home can be difficult. You will have to determine how to communicate with people entirely through face-to-face interactions, email, or the slowly disappearing form of communication: letter writing.

You could also take a less drastic option and simply purchase a cell phone that is very basic, or stick with just a landline. You could also turn off your phone or step away from your phone regularly (especially on vacation). Of course, getting rid of your cell phone and landline will certainly save you money, but for many people, these items are an important connection to the rest of the world.

Although cell phones and traditional landlines are the most obvious forms of voice communication available, there are other options. Giving up a traditional cell phone or landline plan can be tricky, and you will have to get used to using less minutes. However, the price savings can be impressive. If you really are up for a challenge, try going completely phoneless, or use a prepaid phone. Cell phones and landlines are a great option for many people, but remember that there are other options as well.

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