Sunday, May 19, 2013

Skype me Baby!

For the past 4 years, I have enjoyed keeping up with family and friends with Skype. While living in Australia, my daughter got to know her American family through this amazing service so when they met for the first time, she knew everyone by their face. I even used Skype to telecommute from Australia to the USA. My clients thought that I was just around the corner. Little did they know that I was around the world.

Skype is a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system that allows me to make video and traditional phone calls to anyone in the world for little or no money.  These services can be free for people who want to Skype others who already have a free Skype account set up on their devises. The only challenge is arranging times to call because both parties need to have their Skype accounts open at the same time.

I upgrade my account for their premium package for convenience purposes. For around $75 per year, I make and receive unlimited calls in the USA to my family and business contacts using my computer, Ipad and Ipod. The system even has built-in texting and voice mail. Compare this to the $0.10 per minute phone charges that I currently have on my prepaid telephone, and compare it to several people who currently spend over $100 per month on smart phone calls, and I'm saving big.

I upgraded my subscription by adding a local phone number for my jewelry store so that customers have an easy and non-intrusive way of reaching me.

Of course, there are drawbacks. Occasionally, my father has a hard time understanding me when I speak into my computer's microphone, but it is easy to fix by plugging a headset into the computer. The biggest drawback is when I get an unexpected video phone call when I have bedhead or when the hubby decides to walk shirtless behind the computer on his way to the kitchen? Simple cure? Just toggle off the video portion and continue the conversation as always.

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I'd love to hear what you have to say about saving money in Santa Barbara.