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Your February Financial To-Do List

Consumer Reports. On this site, you’ll find all the good stuff: cars, home and garden supplies, appliances, electronics, and more.

These are just a few of the items you can put on your financial to-do list. All it takes is carving out some time and getting started. Once you get going, you’ll probably make more progress than you ever dreamed.


New Email Deliverability Rules: Reaching Gmail and Yahoo Subscribers in 2024

Gmail and Yahoo are implementing stricter email deliverability rules to combat spam and protect user inboxes. This announcement was made by both Google and Yahoo on Oct. 3, 2023, indicating a united effort to enhance email security.

Initially intended for bulk senders (marketers, businesses, and individuals) sending more than 5,000 emails a day, it also applies to senders who send regular emails to their subscribers and meet criteria as per the updated Google Email Sender Guidelines.

Although it may sound strict, there is nothing to worry about. By understanding the rules and adopting best practices, you can ensure your messages land safely in your subscribers’ inboxes.

Key Rules to Remember

  • Domain Authentication is Paramount – Implement security protocols, including Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) to verify your sending domain and prevent spoofing. DKIM digitally signs emails for verification. SPF confirms that sending domain authorization prevents spammers from impersonating and sending messages from your domain, while DMARC specifies the handling of unauthenticated emails. Basically, these protocols confirm your sending domain as legitimate and not from a malicious email spammer or phisher. Although these protocols have been previously considered best practices, many senders have unknowingly or knowingly bypassed them. Some have ignored them, considering them challenging to deploy. Hence, the step to enforce them as mandatory requirements.
  • One-Click Unsubscribe is Mandatory – Make it easy for subscribers to opt out with a clear and accessible unsubscribe link in every email. The unsubscribe requests must be honored within 2 days. You can add an unsubscribe button to the header, whereby recipients can unsubscribe easily instead of marking an email as spam. This will ensure email deliverability is not harmed. Allowing easy unsubscribe also offers the benefit of having an email list of quality subscribers.
  • Maintain a Low Spam Complaint Rate – Keep your spam complaints below 0.3 percent (ideally, this should be below 0.1 percent) to avoid landing in the spam folder or getting blacklisted. Failing to comply with the spam complaint threshold could put the sending domain under review, restricting your email reach.

Beyond the Rules: Deliverability Best Practices

  • Clean and Permission-Based Email Lists – Send only to subscribers who have opted-in, and keep your list clean by removing inactive users and bounced addresses.
  • Personalization and Segmentation – Tailor your emails to individual preferences and segment your list based on demographics, interests, or engagement levels.
  • Mobile-Friendly Design – Ensure your emails are optimized for mobile devices, as most users check their email on smartphones.
  • Subject Line Optimization – Craft compelling and relevant subject lines that invite users to open your emails.
  • Craft High-Quality and Engaging Content – Provide relevant and valuable information to maintain audience interest and avoid being marked as spam.
  • Avoid Spammy Tactics – Avoid excessive images, ALL CAPS text, and misleading content.
  • Engagement and Reputation – Encourage engagement by asking questions, including social media links, and providing valuable content. Positive user interactions improve the sender’s reputation.

Consequences of Ignoring the Rules

Failing to adhere to the new rules can have severe consequences, including:

  • Emails Landing in Spam Folders – Your messages may never reach your intended audience.
  • Domain or IP Blacklisting – Repeated violations can lead to your domain or IP address being blocked by email providers.
  • Decreased Sender Reputation – This can negatively impact your future deliverability rates, affecting domain reputation and overall business performance.

Adapting to the New Landscape

Although these requirements may seem overwhelming, they represent an opportunity to improve your email marketing practices and build stronger relationships with your subscribers. By prioritizing sender authentication, clear communication, and valuable content, you can ensure your emails reach the right inboxes and achieve your marketing goals.

Remember, staying informed about email deliverability best practices and adapting to evolving regulations is crucial for successful email marketing in today’s landscape.

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How a No-Spend January Can Kickstart Your New Year

YouGov, this is the most important resolution for American adults. Now certainly, you can’t not spend money in January (you have to eat), but the idea is to rid yourself of any unnecessary cash outflow so you can kickstart the year with some solid financial habits.

Limit Trips to the Store

Of course, you’ll need food, toiletries and general household staples, but here’s your chance to step back and make lists, as opposed to running out to Target or Starbucks for a quick adrenaline rush. Plan your trips out. Buy store brands. Check prices. Use those coupons. Set your sights on the long view of the month, if not the year. This is one way to work toward getting fiscally fit.

Eat Everything in your Pantry

You probably have cans of soup and pasta sitting on your shelves. Maybe even some canned veggies. Google some simple recipes with the items you have, add some spices and voila, you’ve got a tasty, no-spend meal. Noshing like this can lead to long-term savings.

Forgo Eating Out

Once more, this tip is related to the first two. Truth is, you’ll want to go out to eat a few times – so go – but within reason. The trick is to find affordable spots with delicious grub. Another money-saving idea: split your entrees. You’ll not only save dollars, but also calories.

Reevaluate Your Subscriptions

This is something that might creep up on you during the year. While you’ve been scrolling these past months, you might have seen an irresistible product and you just had to have it – whether it was special vitamins, a hip magazine or yet another streaming station with all those binge-worthy shows you can’t stop watching. But you might ask yourself: are these expenditures really improving my life? Once you see how much money you’ll be saving, you’ll most likely feel better (new and improved!) already.

Invest the Money You’re Saving

Now that you’ve cut back, you should have a surplus of cash accumulated over the year. So, what to do? One of the best things to do is tuck it away in a high-yield savings account. Just like with regular (traditional) savings accounts, you can withdraw when you want to. But with a high yield, you’ll most likely have a limit to how often you can take money out, which is usually six times per month without a fee. The main difference between a traditional and high-yield savings account is the interest rate. The current national average interest rate for a traditional savings account is 0.64 percent APY. Comparatively, top high-yield savings accounts pay between 4.25 percent and 5.27 percent. You in? Thought so.

Moral of the story? No-spend January is all about starting some new habits for 2024 – and watching them pay off. This way during the new year, you’re not just working for your money, but allowing your money to work for you.