If you have a Google Gmail you have access to Google Voice,
so the first thing you must do is set up your Google Voice account.
To get to that page of your Google account follow the instructions below:
1. Go to your Gmail inbox.
2. Go to the bottom and click “even more”, you will then be directed to a Google products page.
3. Find the Voice button and click it.
4. Choose your phone number.
5. Create your pin and accept the terms and conditions.
6. Add the phone number you would like Google Voice calls forwarded to. You can add more than one but if you want to set up free text messages one of them needs to be your mobile number.
7. Have Google verify your phone number.
Next download the Google Voice application from the Play store.
You will send and receive text messages through this interface as opposed to the default text message application on your phone.
Now that you have your Google Voice account set up and the mobile application on your phone it’s time to configure your Google Voice account to make the magic happen.
1. Under the gear looking icon on the top right of the page in your Google Voice account click “Settings”. You will then be brought to the page where you manage your external phone numbers.
2. Click edit under your cellular phone number and you will then be able to configure how texts sent to your Google Voice number are handled.
3. At the top of this page choose “Phones”.
4. In the forward calls section be certain that the radio box under “Receive text messages on this phone” is not checked. If it is it will send a text to your cellular number and you will be charged accordingly.
5. Save your changes.
You are now ready to drop your texting plan with your carrier and text via your Google voice number. The key here is that you have to be disciplined enough to only give out your Google Voice number, otherwise people who have your regular cell number will continue to text that number and you will be charged texting fees.
If you plan on implementing this system, I would highly suggest calling your carrier and having them “block” any text messages to your cellular phone number. You don’t want people who already have your cell number texting it, thus creating additional expenses.
Everyone will not feel comfortable strictly texting via Google Voice and the mobile application, but if you feel you can commit to this system it will save you anywhere from $5 to $30 per month.