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Everyday Cheapskate

How To Prevent Burial by Marketing E-mail Avalanche

BY MARY HUNT

Dear Mary: I’m looking for a safe low-cost or free site to use to send electronic greeting cards a few times a year. Do you know of a good one? — Leanne L., Tennessee

Dear Leanne: Take a look at 123Greetings.com. All of the e-greetings are free, and so is the use of the site’s “cool tools,” which let you track your e-cards, schedule them for future delivery and edit or delete them.

A word of caution: 123Greetings.com’s privacy policy reveals that to use the site, you must agree to receive e-mail from the site’s advertisers. Here’s an idea: If you use 123Greetings.com, create a free e-mail account with Yahoo or Hotmail just for sending e-greetings. That way, you easily can manage the avalanche of e-mail you will receive from advertisers.

Another option to consider is using the truly amazing e-greetings available at http://www.JacquieLawson.com. If you are willing to spend $12 a year, you will have unlimited use of these beautiful animated e-cards, which you can preview before joining. The site is funded completely through memberships. There are no advertisers, and your complete privacy is guaranteed.

Dear Mary: I love your daily column! This year, I’m resolved to get a grip on my finances. I read your books “Debt-Proof Living” and “Live Your Life for Half the Price.” I’m 27 and recently became a single mother of three. My ex-husband left me high and dry, but now I have full control of my finances. I have downsized my home and am getting rid of things I don’t need. I currently pay $22.40 each week for Aflac supplemental cancer and accident insurance for my three little ones and me. My employer pays 100 percent of my health insurance, and my children are covered through the state. If I were to cancel my Aflac, that would be $80 a month I could put in my savings! What should I do? — Jaimee B., e-mail

Dear Jaimee: Thanks for writing to let me know how hard you are working to get your finances under control and of your success. You are doing an amazing job. Do you realize that with the Aflac policy, you are paying for double coverage? Health insurance covers you and the kids for cancer and injuries suffered in accidents. The Aflac coverage on top of that is a luxury you cannot afford. Health and accident insurance is based on statistical likelihood. Given your ages, you and your children are not statistically vulnerable. You cannot afford the luxury of double coverage at this time, given your tenuous financial situation.

My advice is to cancel Aflac. Then direct that money into your contingency fund, where you need it most. At $80 per month, that’s nearly $1,000 per year you will be putting away to cover emergencies for which you are much more vulnerable. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to be a single parent. Please know that you have my admiration and support.

Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including “Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?” To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM

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