|Frugal Café Site Search:|
Send Free Virtual Greetings: Free e-Cards ExtravaganzaBy Vicki McClure Davidson
While most e-card (the letter "e" is for "electronic") sites still offer free e-cards (Hallmark is charging a couple of bucks for many of their more popular ones now, but still has a freebie selection), we thought it would be helpful to include a bunch of links to online e-card sites to make hunting down that perfect free e-card easier.
Sites that are questionable (such as potential sources of evil cookies, too many flashing ads on their pages, etc.) are not included here. We've been patrons for years of many of the sites listed here and have not ever experienced a malicious virus problem. However, as a word of caution, you should always be sure to keep your computer's virus software up to date.
New Jersey Home Guide: While it doesn't look like this small site has been updated in a few years (it is still showcasing the smiling faces of Season 5 American Idol contestants), there are a number of other free e-card categories, including animals, Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and New Jersey celebrities. Although small, it's a nice collection and the site is easy to navigate. As far as American Idol goes, it is fairly extensive from Season 1 through Season 5, so if you were thinking that sending a birthday e-card of Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks, or Chris Daughtry to your sister or aunt would be a unique choice, check this site out. They even have e-cards with several poses of lesser-known AI alumni, like Heather Cox, Ayla Brown, and Gedeon McKinney, although we don't remember them. We'll let you know if Adam Lambert, David Cook, David Archuleta, Jason Castro, or Brooke White are added to their AI collection, should it ever be updated. Sadly, their free calendar section still shows the year 2007. As an unexpected bonus, the site offers free real estate clip art.
Dayspring: This is one of the best e-card sites for free Christian e-cards we've ever used. The selection is extensive, with ample choices in the categories of birthday, encouragement, The Four Seasons, friendship, prayer, just for fun, congratulations, baby, and much more. A fairly new feature that Dayspring offers is that of contemporary Christian music being included with designated e-cards (uses Flash 8), and showcases the talents of Rebecca St. James, Starfield, Nichole Nordeman, and other musical artists. Dayspring also has an online store for Christian music, multimedia, gifts, stationary, journals, and other Christian-based items. Two other Christian-based e-card sites that you will want to investigate include CrossDaily.com and Inspire21.com.
Hallmark: The Big Kahuna of them all, in our opinion. One of our favorite e-card sites over the years, mainly because of the zany animated Hoops and Yoyo characters. We're surprised that so many good quality e-cards are still free here, but that could change at any time. Hallmark has an impressive, wide-ranging selection, from serious to silly, and for all occasions. Many are movie-themed. A number of clever animated cards are still free, as are those that include a game to be sent to the recipient. A new feature permits you to upload a photo to be included in the e-card. You really must view a few of the Hoops and Yoyo e-cards. We don't know why they tickle us so much, but we suspect it's because they remind us, with their high-pitched, frenetic speech, of our own kids when they were little. Funny, wacky stuff.
Blue Mountain: While this impressive e-card site used to be totally free to send e-cards, it now is free but just for a 1-month trial. We searched everywhere through its web pages to find out how much a membership (that's what they call it) costs after the trial period is over. However, no luck, so you may want to use this for just the freebie introductory month. Blue Mountain has been around for years and has an extensive selection of free e-cards (birthday, anniversary, "just because," friendship, love, support, miss you, many religious denominations, all major and minor holidays, and more). They also offer make-your-own e-cards and talking e-cards. On the home page, a list of the Top 10 cards is prominently displayed.
AmericaMyLove: This little-known website has a lovely (although limited) selection of patriotic e-cards for all the U.S. national patriotic holidays: Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Patriot Day. All are free and are animated with music. We especially liked the one titled "American Values." The site also has free patriotic wallpapers and screensavers.
In the lower corner of the home page is a link to its sister e-card site, Scenic eCards, which has a significant collection of animated e-cards for birthday, holidays, support, love, business, religion, thank you, and many others. And free.
123Greetings: Another excellent "all occasions" free e-card website, their tagline is Free Greetings for the Planet. They have a huge assortment of standard e-cards (birthday, wedding anniversary, get well, congratulations, sympathy, thank you, inspiration) as well as special cards for other states and countries. In the right sidebar is a list of daily celebrations for that month. Well-known celebrations are mixed in with many lesser-known or obscure ones. For instance, for the month of September, the 1st is listed as Cherry Popover Day, the 5th is Cheese Pizza Day, the 7th is Working Mothers Day, the 12th is Chocolate Milkshake Day (amen to that!), the 13th is Defy Superstitions Day, the 14th is Pet Memorial Day, the 16th is Stepfamily Day, the 25th is One Hit Wonder Day, the 28th is Good Neighbor Day, and the 30th is Ask a Stupid Question Day. You can use this celebrations list (a link to a celebrations calendar is provided) to plan on sending your e-cards accordingly. Never again will you forget that September 27th is Pancake Day in Iowa.
Below is a visual sample of just a few of the e-cards the Hallmark site offers—this is from their current birthday section, so it may have changed when you visit the site—along with their current pricing for the non-free e-cards (subject to change).
It may be worth the "mystery" membership fee because of the quantity and quality of e-cards they offer, but unless we know the cost, we just can't commit to an opinion. A friend told us she always has issues with Blue Mountain and her computer's firewall, so doesn't use it anymore.
UPDATE, May 2010: Reader Ann has current information about Blue Mountain's membership... thanks for taking the time to provide this info, Ann:
Truly poor web site design. However, if you begin the process to send a free card using the 'trial period,' you will find that the price is $15.99. You have to give them your payment info to take advantage of the free trial period, and then you can--you guessed it--cancel at any time during the trial period. (But that screen doesn't tell you the trial period is 14 days. That tidbit is elsewhere.) Here's the verbiage from the screen requesting payment info:
"Please select your payment method below. You will not be charged during your trial period. You may contact us at any time during your free trial to request a cancellation. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll continue your 1 year Membership for just $15.99 without interruption."
Let's Say Thanks Program – Free Cards for Our Troops
Recycle & Reuse Holiday Cards
Save Money by Paying Your Bills Online
Cheapskate Lifestyle: Thrift Store Shopping Exploding As People Rediscover the Savings & Joys of Second-Hand Bargains
Unbelievable Food Bargains Thrill and Help Financially Strapped Customers: Bargain Bin, Phoenix, Arizona
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Frugal Christmas Freebies: Free Christmas Music Downloads, Free Online Radio Listening to Christmas Tunes
How to Fight Botnets and Trojans: Cyber-crime Attacks Could Cost You Money, Your Identity, Computer Data, and Credit Card Information
Help Your Favorite Charity for Free: Search-Engine Clicking Earns Money for Charities
Free: Listening Online to Radio's "Numero Uno" Talk Radio Host, Rush Limbaugh
Tremendously Useful Websites That Are Still Free to Access