Are you ready to cut the cord? Here's how to do it effectively, and keep your existing number.

By Roxanna Coldiron
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Credit: Kana Okada

Older Millennials remember landline phones. The early 1990s meant that we had to wait until someone was off the phone before we could access the Internet and talk to our friends on AOL Messenger. Now, however, the majority of us rely on cell phones to communicate. We also don't need to worry about losing Internet access whenever someone makes a phone call. Despite how handy and convenient cell phones are, some of us hang onto our household phone plans, too. We never even use the landline phone, rarely give out its number, and continue to pay for it as part of our cable bills. Because we largely use our cell phones to text and make calls, we end up paying for two phone plans and only using one of them.

Get rid of your landline can be a little scary, especially because talking to cable companies (which by and large own all forms of communication) can be intimidating. "It's true that the cable companies try to make it as difficult as possible to cancel your landline phone plan," says Ben Kurland, co-founder of BillFixers. "But it really only takes about 15 minutes to remove the landline plan from your bill." He says that people who successfully cancel their household hone plans save anywhere from $30 to $50 a month. So, how can you go about ditching your landline phone plan? Kurland gave us a few pointers to get started.

Have an Alternate Plan

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to cancel their landline phone plan is that they don't go in with a game plan, Kurland says. He recommends calling your provider during normal business hours (between Monday and Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm). "Tell them that you want to cancel your service and you want to be connected to the retention or loyalty department," he says. This will get you speaking to the right representative who can help you with canceling your plan.

Not All Bundles Save You Money

Telecommunications companies offer bundled services that promise to save customers money in the long run. "This, of course, is not always the case," Kurland explains. "Sometimes bundling a service that you are not using into services you do use does not actually save you money." He suggests asking them to re-bundle the services you are keeping. For example, instead of a bundled landline/TV/Internet plan, you can ask them to bundle your TV and Internet into one plan. Keeping a landline phone that you don't use means spending money that you could be putting elsewhere.

Port Your Number to Another Service

Maybe you have given out your landline phone number to family members or other accounts. Getting rid of your landline number is not something that you want to risk. "If you don't want to lose the phone number, you can port it to another service, like Google Voice," Kurland says. Google Voice is attached to a gmail account that you use. It may ask for a small, one-time fee to bring over the number, but then you can have the number forward to your cell phone. Other options for having a landline experience without a landline phone bill include magicJack or OBI Routers. The monthly cost of these services could be less than your current landline phone bill.

Special Considerations

Home security services may require that you have a landline phone service, Kurland says. That's why it's important to make sure that you can actually ditch your landline before doing so. Other services that you rely on could require a landline as well. What you want to do is find out if there are alternatives to a landline that will still keep your service functioning. It would require making an extra phone call to the service in question and asking them what you need to do. Most of us, though, can safely leave our landline phone bills behind and cancel our plans.

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