Once a year, review your phone bills for the previous three months to see what local, local toll, long distance, and international calls you normally make. Call several phone companies which provide service in your area (including wireless and cable), to find the cheapest calling plan that meets your needs. Consider a bundled package that offers local, local toll and long distance, and possibly other services, if you heavily use all the services in the bundle.
Check your phone bill to see if you have optional calling features or additional services, such as inside wire maintenance, that you don't need. Each option you drop could save you $40 or more each year.
If you make very few toll or long distance calls, avoid calling plans with monthly fees or minimums. Or consider disconnecting the service altogether and use dial around services such as 10-10 numbers or prepaid phone cards for your calls. When shopping for dial around service, look for fees, call minimum, and per minute rates. Treat prepaid cards as cash and find out if there is an expiration date.
If you use a cell phone, make sure your calling plan matches the pattern of calls you typically make. Understand peak calling periods, area coverage, roaming, and termination charges. Contracts offered by most carriers will provide you with a trial period of 14 days or more. Use that time to make sure the service provides coverage in all the places you will be using the phone (home, work etc.). Prepaid wireless plans tend to have higher per minute rates and fees but may be a better option if you use the phone only occasionally.
Before making calls when away from home, compare per minute rates and surcharges for cell phones, prepaid phone cards, and calling card plans to find how to save the most money.
Dial your long distance calls directly. Using an operator to place the call can cost you up to $10 extra. To save money on information calls, look the number up on the Internet, or in the directory.