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Newsletter/Email Marketing Software Advice

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Good morning folks, I have a question for you.

What do some of you use for your email marketing software if any at all, such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp etc. I would like to build a nice beautiful newsletter that we send out once a month to all our members, and contacts outside of our online community, and be able to see click maps, and other stats.

Since we are a small community, 2500 members plus, our contact list including outside friends, is about 3000. I have tried Mail Chimp in the past and love it, it is very intuitive and easy to use, but I am just finding it hard to justify 35 plus dollars a month to use an email marketing solution like Mail Chimp or others.

I tried using SendGrid but I just don't like their email marketing plan and I wasn't happy with it. I also cancelled SendGrid, and switched to using PHP for daily notifications, our server host doesn't seem to have a problem with that for daily transactions, but if I send Bulk Email using PHP our host sends a nasty letter stating they don't like that, so if I am going to use PHP, then I'll need an outside app to send our monthly bulk emails.

Or, am I barking up the wrong tree completely and a simpler easier solution is there in front of me? Thanks for any feedback

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