Sunday, October 31, 2010

Money Saving Advices on Skype

In addition to reducing the per-minute cost of your calls and reducing or eliminating fixed charges and taxes, there are other money-saving strategies you can employ by using Skype. I’ll skip the fatuous advice, such as “make fewer calls,” or “use e-mail instead,” because this chapter is about saving money by using Skype, or alternatives to Skype. Though I must say, “make fewer calls” has worked wonders in my family, and was accompanied by a family-wide sigh of relief!

Remember that you can call anyone who uses Skype for free. That means that if you convince people you call frequently, such as family members, friends, and even business contacts, to join Skype, you could save a lot of money. For example, suppose you spent $50 last year speaking to Uncle Tom on a land line. This year, however, you both decide to join Skype. That means you’ll save $50 this coming year, and each and every year beyond that. Indeed, you needn’t watch the clock any longer, and so can speak with Uncle Tom more often and for longer. In short, the more people you convert to Skype, the more money you will save.

Using Skype, you can even reduce the regular phone bills of others. You can do this by subscribing to one or more SkypeIn numbers.

How you do this is best illustrated using an example. Suppose you live in Baltimore, but have a lot of friends and family in London, England. By choosing a London number for SkypeIn, those same friends and family can call you in Baltimore for the cost of a local call—instead of an international call. Indeed, you can have several dial-in numbers (up to 10) dotted around the globe. Friends and family anywhere can then call what is a local number for them at their local rate (sometimes for free), and these calls will then be routed for free (courtesy of the Skype P2P network) to wherever you happen to be signed in to Skype. This way, friends and family can save money by calling your SkypeIn numbers at their local rates, while you can receive such calls anywhere on the planet!

Of course, this strategy will save money for others but not for you, as you will have to pay to subscribe to SkypeIn numbers. But think of all the goodwill it will buy you!

Saving on Taxes and Fixed Charge

The only really meaningful way to attack your fixed charges and taxes is to eliminate one or more phone lines. For example, suppose you have two telephone lines, and your monthly fixed charges and taxes are $50. If you eliminate one telephone line and replace the other with Skype, you will save about $25 a month on fixed costs alone.
The bottom line is this: you can’t start attacking fixed charges and taxes unless you can shed phone lines. If you are able to eliminate one or more lines, sum all the monthly fixed charges and taxes on your phone bill, and then divide that sum by the number of phone lines you have. This will give you the fixed charges and taxes per phone line per month. For each phone line you can eliminate, you will save about that much money, every month.

Determining Saving on Cost of Skype Calls

Look at your most recent phone bill, or bills, as maybe you have both a regular phone and mobile phone. Or better yet, if you still have them, gather several months’ worth of bills. From your itemized list of calls, pick out the 10 most expensive calls.
Now go to the Skype Dialing Wizard at skypeout/rates/dialing.html, and for each call you have chosen, enter the telephone number and note down the per-minute call rate that the Skype Dialing Wizard gives you. An example of how to get the per minute call rate for a specific number, using the Skype Dialing Wizard, is as shown in the following figure.
Next, round the call duration of each of your chosen calls so that they’re expressed in whole minutes. For example, round a 45-second call up to 1 minute, and round a 5-minute, 25-second call up to 6 minutes. Now multiply these whole-minute call durations by the corresponding SkypeOut call rates you obtained from the Skype Dialing Wizard. Compare these totals with the actual cost of each of the calls on your phone bill. If your calculated numbers are less than your actual numbers from your phone bill, you would have saved money using Skype. And, provided your calling habits don’t change much, you will most likely save money if you use Skype in the future. It’s as simple as that. Keep in mind that there’s no concept of local, long distance, interstate, or international calling in Skype. All call rates are global rates, in the sense that a SkypeOut call rate for a particular destination is good when dialing from anywhere on the planet. If you make a lot of local, toll-free calls—calls that are not itemized on your regular phone bill—then making these calls using Skype will cost you money. Toll-free local calls become toll calls when dialed from Skype. This should be factored into your cost-saving calculations. To estimate your cost of local calls if you were to fully switch to Skype, estimate your monthly minutes of local calling and multiply that number by the SkypeOut rate for your locality (country code plus area code). There’s nothing stopping you from keeping a regular phone for local calls and switching only your long distance and international calls to Skype.