International phone calls need not cost an arm and a leg anymore, says Melanie Wright in The Sunday Telegraph. There are a couple of straightforward ways you can drastically reduce the cost of calling friends and relatives abroad.
If you have broadband internet, then get Skype. Once you've set up a microphone for your computer you can make completely free calls to anyone else who has Skype, regardless of where they are in the world. And if you both have webcams you can see each other too.
Use a pre-dial provider
This is where you use your landline but dial a code in before the telephone number in order to get a cheaper call rate. Several firms offer this service, including Abroadcall.co.uk, Telediscount.co.uk and 1pminute.co.uk. Or visit Phonecheap.co.uk and choose where you want to call from a list on the site. It will then tell you the call cost per minute and corresponding access code.
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Check package rates
If you make frequent international calls from your landline, check with your provider to see if they offer an international calling package.
Try two-for-one train travel
Pick up four vouchers from The Sun between Monday 2 February and Saturday 7 February and you can get two for one rail deals, reports Martin Lewis on Moneysavingexpert.com. Once you have the tokens, go to Thesun.co.uk to book tickets for travel between 12 February and 5 April.
Don't take out unnecessary travel insurance
Many popular budget airlines and internet booking sites automatically add travel insurance when you book through them, says Guy Anker in The Observer. Make sure you opt out of it before you pay, as it is rarely competitive. If you realise later you have paid for travel insurance you don't need, or want, then cancel it. Under new FSA rules you have two weeks from the purchase date to cancel and receive a refund.
Treat yourself on the cheap
Wahanda.com is a website that rounds up all the current deals and offers on spa days so you can enjoy a cheap break from the daily grind, says Jasmine Birtles of Moneymagpie.com.
And one to avoid...
Fool.co.uk's Harvey Jones scoured the internet for some of the craziest money saving tips out there. Topping up milk with water was one. But his personal favourite was "train your dog to beg for food from strangers, so you won't have to buy dog food". Times must be tough.
Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.
Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.
Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.
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