Skype itself is a totally free download. It lets you call any other skpye user for free. If you want to call any land line phones or cell phones you will have to get credit. This can now be easily done by getting Skype Unlimited for $29.95 for 12 months, or $8.85 for 3 months. With that you get unlimited out going calls to the US and Canada. For initernational calls they charge you a low rate, that is based on the country you are calling. You can buy Skpe Credit for that.
To have people call you on your Skype account you need to get a SkypeIn line. This gets you a phone number for $38 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months, which inclueds a free voice mail account. You can get a number in any part of the country, or in other countries also.
They also have deals if you but a handset you can get free credit.
what all do you have to pay in order to get SKYPE and keep it going?
example: phone costs, monthly charges (if there are any, I dont know), activation, fee's, etc.