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(ARA) – If you’re looking for ways to trim your household budget, you’re not alone. Every penny counts in these tough economic times. Here’s one simple step that can put hundreds of dollars back into the family budget: Go online for free directory assistance and stop calling 411.

Directory assistance costs consumers $8 billion a year, a figure that’s dramatically escalated over the past decade with the increase of cell-phone only households. The average directory assistance expense for cell phones is around $1.67 per call. Traditional landline directory assistance is slightly lower but still over $1 per call on average.

For the busy mom or small business owner who makes 10 directory assistance calls a month on their cell phone, the annual expense can easily climb into the hundreds of dollars. However, because directory assistance charges are tucked into monthly phone bills, the expense can go largely unnoticed and its true impact can creep up over time.

Today there are online tools that provide free directory assistance, significantly reducing or eliminating the need to call 411. One of the easiest sites to use is, a free Web site that provides contact information for more than 200 million American adults. Included in the company’s massive database are residential, business and work listings. Consumers can search by name or address and can even use reverse look-up tools to identify unknown callers.

Additionally, online directories are often more up to date and reliable than dialing 411. Traditional directory assistance can only provide contact information for half of what sites like WhitePages can provide. Online sites also provide national reach, a valuable convenience not found with bulky phone books which are limited to only local numbers.

Consumers who rely on their Web-enabled cell phones can also easily access WhitePages data from anywhere. For those who own the immensely popular iPhone, the company has developed a free application that takes seconds to download and is as simple to use as the website. All of the same search features are included and the application allows consumers to easily add contact information to their phone’s contact list.

The next time you are tempted to call 411, consider the cost and go online instead. Web sites like can help anyone put money back into your pocket.

Courtesy of ARAcontent