Best free or cheap voicemail for a landline

I recently moved and I got AT&T internet/phone to replace the cable company I had. I did not realize that the price quoted did not include voicemail (largely because I don’t remember the last time I had to pay extra for voicemail) and that option is an extra $7 per month. While I’ve never seen the day I’d toss $7 per month into the garbage, it’s less the money than the principle of the thing- I consider that gouging.


Is there a good free alternative to voicemail for a landline that would allow callers to leave a message without having to dial any number but my home number?

It’s been quite a while since I had a phone with an answering system, but am I correct in assuming they still make them?

Thanks for any info.

I just Googled for “answering machine” and the cheapest I saw right at the top was $14.95.

If you’re not completely wedded to your landline phone number, Google Voice is free, and includes voice mail. You could forward the Google Voice number to your home number, and just have people call your Google Voice number instead.

Assuming you’re fine with having all your personal voice mail messages monitored and stored by the Google juggernaut, in addition to the friendly NSA.

Jeez why am I thinking that in addition to your voice mail you will also get several voice ads related to your latest internet activity, and so will the caller.

I would also just suggest an answering machine. They are digital now which means no tapes. My last GE model was simple and easy to use.

I still use an answering machine. As far as I know, they’ve had the ability for you to retrieve messages from outside your home for a long while, so it’s just like a voicemail system where you call in to get your messages.

I still have a landline and an answering machine. The machine is close to 5 years old. Bought it at Radio Shack. It does what I want it to do–takes messages. And yes, I can retrieve the messages remotely. So go old school and get an answering machine!

We have a built in answering machine on our phone too. We found we weren’t checking our voice mail very often so cancelled it and we switched to using the built in instead. It really is better. When you walk in, you see the light flashing and push the play button instead of picking up the phone, hear if dial tone is “funny” indicating a message, calling up voicemail, inputting your code then hitting “1” to hear unheard messages. Never using voice mail again.

If you don’t have voice-mail, I suppose it’s reasonable to ask if you also don’t have call waiting? Because if you don’t, and you get a call when you are already on the phone, an answering machine won’t do you any good. The second caller will just get a busy signal.

You can still get a very inexpensive phone that includes an answering machine. My parents bought me one as a gift. I didn’t even want the answering machine part, but as soon as I plugged in the phone, it automatically started taking messages for me.

Can you dump the AT&T phone service? Replace it with one of the low-cost providers. Vonage is perhaps the best value, but there are cheaper ones. Vonage includes voicemail that is both internet-accessible AND will send a .WAV file and voice-to-text transcription to your email within a couple of minutes of the call. $12 a month if you can live with 300 outbound minutes a month, and you can keep adding lines (for a home business, kids, roommates) at that rate as long as your internet bandwidth holds out.