The Thrifty Accountant Newsletter

--Two minutes of money saving strategies


Cut your phone bill–even more

Greetings fellow thrifty accountants!

The cost of phone service is one of the few services that is in a price decline. Of course nowdays, many people have cell phones with unlimited minutes, so long distance charges aren’t as significant as they once were.

But I’ve seen the ads for “Magic Jack” on TV–and wondered about:

  • getting an extra line
  • with unlimited long distance
  • free call waiting, voicemail and caller ID
  • for an unbelievable $20/year.

Is it too good to be true?

Well, one of my CPA friends (who is almost as frugal as I am) bought one, installed it and is now saving money.

Today’s newsletter discusses why you should consider getting a Magic Jack–for a lot of reasons.

Cut your phone bill–even more

The new way

Get Magic Jack at Walgreens, Radio Shack or online at

  • Initial cost–$40 includes cost of unit plus first year of service
  • Yearly cost–$20/year for service, including unlimited domestic long distance
  • Extras–For $3 you can hand pick your phone number. This is a good idea if you will need to remember your number, but would be unnecessary if you are using the line strictly for outgoing calls, for example. International calling is handled by buying prepaid minutes, although the basic plan includes calling to US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
  • Change–Add another line at any time–just buy another Magic Jack.

The old way

Get a “land line” installed by the local phone company.

  • Initial Cost–Spend $30-100 to get a line installed.
  • Yearly cost–$252/year for bare bones basic service, plus long distance charges.
  • Extras–Pay separately for caller ID, call waiting and voice mail, not to mention line insurance or phone line repairs.
  • Change–Guess what, there’s a charge for every little change you make.

Needless to say, the Magic Jack could save you $300-500/year.

Inside scoop

Select any area code you want

My friend the CPA is considering getting another Magic Jack with a California area code–so her family in California can call her without paying long distance. You can select any area code you want!

Save money on service

Also, MagicJack is currently running a special–when you login to setup your phone number, you have the option to purchase 5 additional years of service for $60. That works out to a cost of $1/month for phone service–can it get any cheaper than that?

Don’t pay for shipping

You can buy MagicJack locally at Walgreens or Radio Shack–thus avoiding the $6.95 shipping cost.

My experience

I haven’t bought one yet, but plan to get one for an extra line. From talking on the phone to my friend that got one, the call quality is indistinguishable from a land line.

Coming soon?

Magic Jack is planning to release a new product that will allow you to make calls from your cell phone without using up your minutes.  You will need to be in range of your “Magic Jack for cell phones,” so this product could be used at home, for example.

Comments received from readers:

“I tried Magic Jack and people all complained that my voice was cutting in and out. Also thought it sounded like I was on a speaker phone. So, I don’t recommend it.”

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“After seeing the commercials on television, I bought a MagicJack early this year from Radio Shack, saving shipping costs, to use in my tax business.  I attached an old corded phone the MagicJack to use specifically for long distance calling.  It worked flawlessly.  I could hear better on the handset that I could have on a cordless phone, and I did not waste the minutes from my cell phone provider.
After my initial purchase price of $39.95 plus tax, I spent another $59.95 to have the service extended for an additional ten years.  I see the MagicJack as a wise investment which will pay for itself the first year.

Additionally, the magic jack allowed for another line into my office.  I could talk to two clients as the same time, or with a client and a brokerage firm.  My MagicJack was worth every penny.”
–Carolyn Mello
One on One Tax Service
Orange, TX 77632

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December 2009 | Issue #018