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The Frugal Bookseller

Part II

by The Frugal Bookseller

#134, 20 April 2009

Last time we talked about saving money on restaurant meals, motel stays and other assorted penny pinching ideas.

As promised, we have two more for you in this edition, both of which revolve around the world of electronics. As much as they have been criticized by some in the book business, electronics are as much a part of buying and listing and reselling as picking up great tips here at Book Think.

So here we go, get ready to save by spending just a little up front.

1. Magic Jack, the weird wacky wonderful little gadget that plugs into your computer and gives you unlimited local and long distance phone service for a year for a frugal price of $39.99. As of this writing the second year is targeted for only $19.99.

This little wonder is available at or at your local RadioShack (if you want one today to hold in your Frugal little hands). Here's how it works.

You must have high-speed internet service. Dial-up will not work. If you have cable internet or DSL (more on DSL in a minute) you slip this gizmo into your USB jack, sign up on line and plug in a phone.

At this time you will not be able to port in your existing phone number into the Magic Jack system. Their web site says this may be coming sometime in 2009. Be sure to check with the folks at Magic Jack for details. $39.99 gets the Magic Jack and your first year of service. Talk about saving some major dollars ... have you looked at your standard phone service billing lately?

Now about those of you with DSL service. You can use Magic Jack, but you might still have to maintain at least some local phone service. Most phone companies will not provide DSL service into a residence without a basic land line. Check with the folks at Magic Jack and your DSL provider. Also, Magic Jack will not work with satellite internet.

Of course, your computer must be turned on for Magic Jack to work.

2. Wireless phone service. Like your landline company, your wireless company seems to have many charges, surcharges, secret charges, taxes, fee's etc. To save some money, check out something called BOOST Mobile Paygo.

Phones start at about $30.00, and for a monthly total of $50.00 you get unlimited text, talk and web. $50 smackers is it! No surcharges, fees or credit checks or contracts. Ring tone downloads and screen savers are extra, but if you're frugal, you aren't buying these anyway. Service availability may vary, but it's pretty good in most major cities. Boost is the pre-paid version of Nextel, so if you can get Nextel signals, Boost is a deal.

Some contract rate plans (that's called post-paid service in the trade, by the way) have unlimited plans, but they often start at $80 to $90 a month. With Boost Paygo you'll be saving about $30 to $40 bucks a month. That'll buy a lot of inventory on your next trip - like that box of Tom Clancy firsts you saw under a table.

And no I don't know if you can attach a scanner to it, but web look-ups might be interesting, or calling your spouse to let them know you're not dead in a ditch (covered with Tom Clancy first editions).

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