I know this fellow who is so cheap (everyone: “How Cheap Is He??”) — he is so cheap that he hasn’t had a real home phone (AKA “land line”) for almost 8 years now.  Okay… it’s really me, but, anyone that knows me, knows I’m cheap.

Last week, I went out and bought myself one of those “Magic Jack” devices that I’ve seen on TV, and have seen reviews online.  At $40.00 for the device, and $20.00 for a cheap cordless phone (on clearance, of course), I came away with a new “land line” for my house for an initial annual cost of $5.00 a month (that’s $60 / 12 months).  I’m going to pony up for the 5 year subscription to the phone for another $60 bringing my average monthly cost over the next 6 years to a whopping $1.67 a month.  This makes me want to get up and do my cheapskate happy dance (lucky for you this isn’t a v-blog!!)
This got me thinking of the potential that Magic Jack could have in reducing costs beyond the personal level.  So, here are a few that I thought of off the top of my head:
1.  Corporate Travel – There have been a number of times that I’ve travelled to places where there is spotty cell reception in the hotel or conference center, but I got Internet reception.  Plug in the Magic Jack to my laptop, and viola!!  instant phone service.
2.  International Travel – Got Internet access??  Then you’ve got a US phone number.  Give one of these to someone that is going to be staying overseas for months, and you’ve enabled them to talk with their families back in the States for no additional costs.
3.  International Friends and Family – Got a friend or relative in a foreign country?  Give them a Magic Jack as a gift, and now you have a way for them to call you, or you to call them with no phone cards or high long-distance charges.  This would have been a great idea to do when the Au Pair we had with us last year went back to Germany.  My kids would love to call her at 2:00 AM German time to tell her about their day.
4.  Extreme Business Phones –  If you’re just starting a business and you spent all your money on computers and Internet service, try using Magic Jack phones for your business lines.  There are some drawbacks, to be sure, but it would be a great money saver until you get enough to pay those huge monthly phone bills.
5.  Connect via 3G Internet Card – I haven’t “Googled” it yet, but I’m pretty sure that some smart guy figured out a way to hook a laptop w/3G Internet card + Magic Jack up to a regular phone, and make calls.  I’m just surprised that it – (a) wasn’t me and (b) I haven’t seen this geek on my bus ride home!
Of course, some of this is Pie-in-the-Sky, Polliannish thinking on my part.  But, there does seem to be a lot of potential in using a product like this to save some hard earned cash.  There are some drawbacks to Magic Jack, such as – you have to have your computer on and connected to the Internet.  But, even then, your calls roll over to voice mail (free voice mail!!), or you can have it automatically forward to another phone using call forwarding (free call forwarding!!)
Let me know if you also use Magic Jack and have some additional ideas on how to use Magic Jack to save some serious money!!  Also, if you see the guy with the laptop, 3G card, and a regular home phone making calls on a bus…  email me the pictures!!!
NOTE:  It came to me in an epiphany!!  – I’m going to buy a 1968 Dodge Dart convertible, and install my wireless Internet connection, Magic Jack, and the classic rotary phone! Then I’m going to pretend I’m Mannix from the old TV Show!!