The other day, in my post listing the best money-saving tips of 2012, I suggested ditching your landline in favor of a voice-over-IP option like MagicJack or Ooma.
But there's another option, one that lets you embrace the goodness that is Google Voice: Obihai's OBi100 VoIP phone adapter, which Amazon has for $39.24 shipped. It's been that price for a while now, but Google's recent announcement that free calling would continue through 2013 makes this worth another look.
The OBi100 works much like an Ooma or MagicJack Plus: You plug your existing cordless phone system into the adapter, plug the adapter into your router, and presto: you've got dial tone.
OK, there's a bit more to the setup than that, as you have to configure it for use with your Google Voice account (or one of many other supported services, like Sipgate). But once that's done, you should be looking at totally free local and long-distance calling.
OBi calling features include caller ID, call forwarding, anonymous caller blocking, three-way conference calls, and voice mail. However, there doesn't seem to be a blacklist feature, which I've found invaluable on my Ooma for blocking telemarketers and other unwanted callers.
Also, you'll have to give up your current phone number, as Google Voice doesn't allow number porting from landlines. And the big caveat: no 911.
Those couple of issues notwithstanding, this is one of the cheapest ways to keep landline-style phone service in your home -- perhaps the cheapest. And the OBi100 is remarkably popular on Amazon, with an average 4.8-star rating from over 600 buyers. For 40 bucks out the door, it's awfully compelling.
If you've used an Obi yourself, hit the comments and let your fellow cheeps know what to expect -- good, bad, or otherwise.
Bonus deal: Game time! Steam's Winter Sale continues to churn out some sweet deals, including Max Payne 3 (PC) for $14.99. It would have cost me $50-60 had I purchased it back in June when it made its debut; by waiting just six months, I'm saving 75 percent. And I reckon I'll enjoy similar savings by waiting to purchase current releases I'm itching to play: Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
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