(Disclosure: We have no affiliation with Ooma and were not compensated for writing this post. This post does contain Amazon affiliate links.)
My brother is a technology addict. Mind you, he doesn’t buy mindlessly, but he’s always on top of the devices that are beautifully designed and make life simpler. A number of years back, he mentioned this awesome little life hack called Ooma. I had still been paying for a landline — my husband and I were living in a condo in Chicago and our cell phones didn’t always get reception in the house. I wanted to make sure that people could get a hold of us when working at home so we were tied to AT&T and, based on our international calling needs, a $100 bill a month. It seemed insane to pay for both a landline and a cellphone, so when my brother mentioned his Ooma VoIP phone, I was all ears.
Ooma went on the market in its unlimited calls/internet telephone form in 2009, but many people still don’t recognize the brand. Here’s how it works: You set up an online account with Ooma to get your phone number and you make a one-time purchase of the Ooma Telo box ($99-120), which you plug into your internet router and into a regular phone handset. The setup is super easy. If you choose Ooma’s Basic plan you pay nothing after that except taxes/fees (~$4/month) and you get:
unlimited U.S. calling
call waiting/caller ID
integrations with Amazon’s Alexa
a bunch of other features
If you upgrade to their Premier plan ($9.99/month + taxes), it offers a slew of other options including: porting your number or choosing a new one, a free second number*, forwarding to your cell phone, unlimited free calls to Canada and Mexico, cheap international rates, 3-way conferencing, and more integrations.
Last year, my husband received a 3 year work appointment in Montréal and we brought our Ooma and established our second phone line as a Canadian number that forwards calls to our US cell phones. I cannot be happier with the result. We estimate that, since purchasing our Ooma, we have saved almost a thousand dollars a year. This powerful little gadget is well worth the money and makes my life much easier!
What you need:
+ An account with Ooma. Any handset will do. The vtech example above is one cost-effective option (Anne uses it for her two Ooma lines, and it has an option for two extensions for different floors of your home). OR, you can buy Ooma’s bundle of the Telo box + HD handset with extra features:
*Hint: Ooma often offers a free product bonus if you pay for a full year at a time. I did this and chose the Ooma Linx, which allows you to connect a second phone handset to use for your second number. Your two Ooma numbers ring separately, with separate voice mails — great for personal vs. home business (or for TWO business lines, which my partner Anne uses Ooma for), or for an extra line for a teen.