How We Were Able to Text & Check Our Cell Phone's Voicemail Without Using Minutes or Having a Texting Plan

Before we got our new cellular plan, we had our service through a major phone company and were locked into a contract that gave us voice and data services, but no texting.  This is how we worked around it:

Google Voice

In case you don't know, Google Voice can basically serve as a one-stop-shop for many of your communication needs.  

Here are some of the ways we've used it:

1.  First, I signed up (it's free!) and chose my own Google Voice phone number.  I then used this number for texting.  I could text using the Google Voice website, through email, or through the (free) app on my phone!  This feature could even be helpful to someone who does have texting through their phone service, but has spotty cell service at work, as this would allow them to text from a computer during the work day.

2.  I have my cell phone voicemails sent to Google Voice, which then transcribes the message and sends it to me as a text!  I can get these messages as emails, too.

3.  We can link all of our phone numbers together (house and both cell numbers) and forward calls from one to the other.  One summer we stayed at my parents' house and took care of their dog, but we were still able to receive our home phone calls over there, using Google Voice.

4.  I give out my Google Voice number whenever I have to fill out forms.  If someone calls, I can't pick up the phone and answer, but they can leave a voicemail, which will then be transcribed and sent to me as a text message or email.  No more harassing phone calls from solicitors!

5.  G uses Google Voice with his students.  He teaches AP Calculus at a local high school and his students appreciate the fact that he is available at any hour of the day to answer their questions.  Since he gives them his Google Voice number, they'll call or text him and he can respond at his convenience, without a ringing phone or more importantly, without having to divulge our personal phone numbers.

6.  G used to teach at a virtual school.  He'd have to make phone calls to his students every week and it would take hours.  Rather than tie up our home line, or eat up cell phone minutes, he would make the calls online using Google Voice.  This particularly came in handy with his students in England and Germany!  I can't even imagine what those phone calls might have cost!

Google Voice can do so much more than this, but these are the features that we've made the most use of.  I discovered this article and this one that explain everything Google Voice does so much better that I can, but I wanted to at least make you all aware of this fantastic free service!

It's great, so if you're paying extra for texting service, you might think about canceling it and saving yourself some money!

Did you know about Google Voice already?  Or if you did, did you know about all of its features?  Do you have your own Google Voice tip?  I'd love to hear about it - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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