The Internet has become such a commonplace tool that we often forget how revolutionary it is — and how it can save us money.
For instance, are you still paying for long-distance or international calls? There’s no good reason to if you and the party you’re dialing have Internet connections. Kiplinger offered these three options:
- Skype. This Microsoft-owned service saved me a ton of money when I was in college and wanted to talk — daily, for hours — to my long-distance girlfriend in New Zealand. (She’s now my wife, and we can communicate by shouting.) It’s free to create an account and text or call anyone else with an account, although for the latter your computers will need the communication basics — a microphone and speakers. If you have webcams, you can also video chat. You can call phone numbers through Skype, too, but that’s not free. Skype is available on PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones.
- Viber. We covered this one with our free texting apps post. You need a mobile phone number, but it’s otherwise similar to Skype. There’s free text, voice and video chat, and it’s available on PC, Mac and smartphones.
- Vonage Mobile. As the name implies, this one is just for mobile phones. Vonage provides a rundown of features to explain why it’s better than Skype (with the cute tagline, “Don’t believe the Skype”) but it offers the same basic functionality. Like Viber, it needs your number to make free text, voice and video calls to people who also have the app. It can also make free calls to people with Vonage home phone service.
If you’re using any of these on a phone, watch your data to make sure they actually stay free. When an open Wi-Fi connection is available, take advantage of that instead.
Know any other free long-distance call solutions? Let us know on Facebook.