Whether you’re shipping a care package to your college student, or already thinking about Christmas cards, the costs of shipping can be crazily expensive. To reign those costs in, we’ve gathered up some of the best inside ways to save while you’re at the post office, or paying shipping and handling for online orders. In some cases, you can skip the mail all together.
If you purchase from Amazon, and don’t already have a Prime account, go get one. Membership costs $99, but can save you a bundle in shipping fees. Prime members get free two-day shipping on Amazon-fulfilled products with no minimum purchase. On top of that, if you live in one of the following areas, you get free same-day shipping on tons of items if your order is $35+ and placed before noon:
- San Diego
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Tampa Bay Area
- Washington DC
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Los Angelos
If you place your order after noon, you get free one-day shipping. Look for the Prime Free Same-Day Logo on the item, check your zip code, and sit back and enjoy the luxe life of having consumer items delivered to your door the same day your ordered them. For free.
Go Media Mail
If you’ve been clearing out your bookshelf via eBay, or are selling those textbooks from last semester, be sure you’re using the appropriate shipping option. The post office knows that books are heavy, and that heavy items cost more to ship. To help customers out, they have an option for shipping books called media mail. Compared to normal shipping, media mail is a fraction of the cost. You can use it for things other than books, too, including manuscripts, CDs, DVDs, and film.
USPS has recently placed an emphasis on media mail being educational, therefore video games don’t count. You also can’t mail a computer drive, internal or external, via media mail. If you have a specific question about what counts as media mail, you can always ask the postal service worker as you prepare to choose your shipping option.
Want to forgo the stamp all together? Go digital. Services like Evite let you send out birthday party invitations, save the dates, and even Christmas cards digitally to your friends’ and family’s inboxes. The designs rival popular paper photo-product sites, and many of them are 100% free. These aren’t electronic cards from 1999. You can insert photos, choose from cute graphics, and make a choice between free and premium designs.
For formal events, you can send a formal invitation that the end user can click to open. The fee for these designer Evites is nominal, with the company bragging that they cost less than a stamp.
Whether you’re paying S&H, shipping a heavy textbook, or deciding how you want to send holiday greetings, there are ways to save if you know where to look. Implement these ideas, and your checkbook will be thanking you.