Shipping for Less – Saving Money Year Round and During the Holidays

by Guest Contributor · 3 comments

Whether you are shipping presents you bought for the holidays or sending packages year round, the costs involved can appear astronomical. There are ways to shave some of your costs, but it will generally involve a bit more planning on your part.

Holiday Time Shipping Strategies

Sometimes it seems as though the holidays arrive earlier each year. With the hectic pace most people endure year round, getting gifts purchased and mailed in time can be daunting. If your goal is to get those presents under everybody’s Christmas tree and not spend a fortune mailing them, you will need to get organized in the fall.

Thinking about the winter holidays that early is difficult, with getting the kids off to school at that time of the year, but to save on shipping costs, it is critical. The reason is that the faster you need to ship something, the more it will cost.

Uniformity Spells Savings. Carriers charge more to ship unusually sized boxes. Get standard sized boxes free by saving the ones you get when you order merchandise.

Compare Prices at Websites. As long as you know the box dimensions you can accurately evaluate which carrier will give you the best deal. Check USPS, UPS and FedEx as a minimum. Shipping internationally may involve a couple more websites.

For example, at USPS, you can send a 10-pound package across country for less than $16 if it goes parcel post, but shipping express will cost $58. Overnight with UPS can easily cost double that amount, so choose wisely.

Let Companies Ship For You. If you purchase things online, realize that many companies offer free shipping. To make the best use of this service you need to shop in advance of your desired delivery date.

Amazon offers free shipping on many items, but this means that your items go by the slowest means possible. That translates into 7-10 business days under most circumstances. Still, if you plan to send a big box of gifts, this really pays off.

Combine Packages and Save Some More. When I moved half way across the country from my family, I immediately saw the problems involved in getting gifts to relatives on time. Now, I plan ahead and package all the gifts for the month in one box and let the family sort it out and deliver them when they arrive. For holidays this is particularly useful if everyone gathers at “grandma’s house” or another such central location.

Options to Consider for Business Purposes

Not all shipping is of a personal nature. If you ship for business purposes, you will want to maintain a professional look, but the money spent on labeling and fancy boxes can be better spent elsewhere.

Print your own labels and stationary, pack your own packages and take them to the store rather than have them picked up. You will find the savings add up over time.

Just because you have a lot of things to ship doesn’t mean you should be shipping off your cash in the process. Think ahead, compare prices and stick to standardized boxes. You can save money and still get things where they need to be.

This is another piece from the How to Save Money on Everything ebook. Grab your own copy here.

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  • Kimberly says:

    Besides cutting corners, you can actually start saving money months out by cutting down on bills and just holding onto the savings you gain. I switched over to Tracfone prepaid earlier this year because of contract issues with AT&T and I really didn’t consider the savings in the long run – silly me. I’ve been able to put back about $700 since I started with TF over my old bill so the savings are not limited to just the holidays but even throughout the year. I even recommended it to my mom and she is starting the family on their $30 family plan so I guess my brother is getting a new phone for Christmas.

  • Froogalers says:

    I love this post because it gets me in the mindset of holiday shipping. As I was reading it, I thought about how the USPS has those boxes where you pay one price as long as it fits in the box. I am not sure on how “fast” it ships, but I thought what another great way to save money. I think the planning ahead part is key.

  • CreditShout says:

    I usually just do a Google search for “Free Shipping Coupon” and more often than not you are able to find one, at least for most major online stores. Amazon almost always has some sort of free shipping deal going on – if you order from Amazon frequently however I recommend looking into their Amazon Prime program which is a yearly membership program but includes unlimited 2 day shipping.

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