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Everyday Cheapskate: And Now, the Rest of the Take-My-iPhone-Please Story

Mary Hunt on

Dear Mary: Oh, my. That is an incredibly generous and kind offer. I am afraid you may have misinterpreted why I wrote back with our family story. I did not mean to give you the impression we can't afford to pay you for the phone.

The reason I gave you so many details about our situation is that I wanted to be a witness to the fact that everything that you try to communicate to the public is true -- you CAN live within your means; you CAN live debt-free; you CAN live simply; you CAN go without all the latest fashions and material things and still be quite happy. Not only is it possible; it is quite liberating and can open up all kinds of opportunities to pursue what is truly important to you (in our case, it was high-quality family time).

Please accept my apology if I made you feel bad for our situation. That was not my intent. -- Tammy

Dear Tammy: It didn't cross my mind that you were financially needy. Truly, it didn't. I like the idea of paying it forward. And I love your family.

So my offer stands. I'd love to send you the phone for Kelsey as a blessing you hadn't expected and allow that to prompt you to bless someone God puts in your path. -- Mary

Tammy quickly accepted, so off my adorable bright-green iPhone 5C went off to the post office for delivery to Kelsey. After a few weeks, I got the most beautifully written note in the mail.


Dear Mrs. Hunt: Thank you so much for the fantastic iPhone. Your generosity and thoughtfulness has really touched me. My mom and I bought 44 pairs of jeans to donate to the charity program in our district. This program, which we are involved in, provided the less-fortunate kids in our local school with an outfit, school supplies and other needs for the coming school year.

The phone has been working beautifully. We connected it with our plan, and it works great. Than you for your generosity. This world needs more people like you who think of others' needs first. God bless! -- Kelsey


Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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