Tips from Illinois CUB

A few weeks ago I headed to Chicago to visit with the members of Illinois CUB’s staff who work on consumer education and outreach (link to Oregon CUB blog).  It was an interesting trip and a great way to learn more from a group that has an established consumer outreach program.  Not only did I get some helpful hints for how to develop the CUB Connects outreach program but, I learned some great money-saving tips to share with my fellow Oregonians.

1. Drop expensive, unnecessary features from your Landline Phone Service. This includes Line Backer, 411 Service and Voicemail Service.
      a.    LINE BACKER - If you check your phone bill and see a charge for Line Backer then you are paying for an OPTIONAL insurance plan for the wires INSIDE your house only. Fixing outside wires is done by the telephone company for no charge. According to IL CUB, problems with your inside phone wires occur and average of once every 20 to 30 years.
      b. 411 Service – 411 services can cost up to $2 a call. Don’t use the service and use 1-800-free411 or 1-800-YellowPages for residential listings and 1-800-555-Tell for business listings.
      c. Voice Mail – Voicemail services cost around $10 a month and don’t include charge for the messages you receive and retrieve. Check your phone bill and consider using an answering machine instead of paying the high cost of this monthly service.

2. Trim Bloated Cell Phone Bills – Evaluate your cell phone bill and make sure that you are using only the minutes, texts, data and extra features for which you are paying. If you are signed up for a plan that includes unlimited features, check how many you use and see if your phone company has a cheaper plan that offers a certain amount of minutes/text/data per month that fits your own usage. Visit to find your provider and see the different plans they offer.

3. Switch to a Long Distance Carrier – Check your phone bill to see how much you are paying per long distance call, or, if you have unlimited long distance figure out how many minutes you use a month. According to IL CUB,  Pioneer Telephone’slong distance plan consistently offers the lowest rates for long distance services. Use and search long distance under the “home phone” option to compare different providers. Another option is to only use your cell phone for long distance.

Remember to use to compare phone and internet prices or call our toll free helpline at 1-855-892-4314 for help!

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