The holidays are here, which means you’re probably going to be shipping an item or two at some point or another. If you have loved ones that don’t live nearby then you could look at some high prices just to get them the items you want to gift to them. There are a few ways you can avoid this problem though, which can help save you a small fortune on your holiday budget. These tips will help you find the best way to get your items where they need to be in time for the holidays, so you can rest easier and spend a little less money on your holiday fun.
1. Ship from Store
If you love to shop online, then you’ve already done yourself a favor. Shopping for presents online allows you to ship from the store to the destination that it needs to be. You might have to pay a shipping fee for this, but it most likely won’t be the amount that you would have to pay if you shipped it from a shipping store in your area. Best of all, many stores will have some great shipping deals around this time of the year. This includes many free shipping deals, which will mean you’ll only have to pay for the gift. If you’re worried about the item not being wrapped, then you can easily opt for this option at check out. Most major stores will offer wrapping for free. In most cases, it will cost around three dollars, which is about what shipping from the store will cost. Shipping from the store can also save some valuable time as the item with go directly to the recipient instead of you having to wait for it to arrive, just so you can wrap it and ship it yourself. Plus, it means dodging all of the lines during the holiday rush.
2. Consider Weight
This year, when you’re purchasing your holiday gifts, you might take into consideration how much these items actually weight. Generally, the price of mailing a parcel has a lot to do with how much it weighs. So, if you’re purchasing someone a gift as heavy as a pinball machine, you might want to rethink your strategy. This can really change the way you shop too, which might help you save even more money. When you do shop, try to consider lighter weight toys, like figures that are hollow on the inside or very small. You might also consider clothing as a gifting option. There are lots of things that can be shipped cheaply, but if you’re mailing a lot be aware that the weight will add up.
3. Package Things Carefully
One of the most important things you should pay attention to when shipping your items is how you package them. You don’t want to send your items and have them arrive broken or damaged in other ways. So, make sure you pack things carefully. When you place your gift in a box, make sure there is plenty of space on every side of the box. This will allow you plenty of space for packaging to protect the item. If you’re not sure if your packaging is done right, then you can talk to an expert before shipping the items. This will ensure your presents are more likely to make it in one piece, so you won’t have thrown away your money.
4. Consider Flat Rate Shipping
If you plan on shipping your items with the United States Postal Service (USPS), then you’ll be able to know that you can purchase a box that offers you flat rate shipping. As long as your items fit in the box, the postal service will ship it for a predetermined amount of money. This can be a great way of getting around shipping heavier items that you might otherwise spend a fortune on. On top of that, you can easily purchase these boxes in advance, stuff them, and then have a mailman pick them up. This is a great time saver, especially if you can’t stand lines during the holiday season.
5. Get the Insurance
If you’re shopping with USPS, most of your items automatically receive a certain amount of insurance on them. However, you will need to save your receipt in order to claim the insurance if something does happen to an item. If you’re shipping something with another carrier, or something that is particularly expensive, then make sure you ask for insurance. Most carriers will offer insurance, so take advantage of it, because you don’t want to be out a lot of money if something does go wrong. This insurance will even cover if your present arrives broken, so it is a definite must-have on items that might be fragile.
6. Know the Rules
When it comes to shipping things in the mail, it is important that you know what can and can’t be shipped. You can actually get in trouble for sending some items via the mail, so make sure you know where you stand on certain items before you send them out. Generally, when you go to mail a package, the person assisting you will ask you if you’re mailing certain things. Usually, this involves ammunition, hazardous items, perishable items, and so on. If you are sending these items, you might have to pay more or take extra precautions. The rules are based state to state, so make sure you know the rules in your area before you get ready to spend your money on shipping.
7. Shop Around
During the holiday season, you’re going to find deals on everything. This even includes shipping costs. Before you mail out your items, make sure to measure and weigh them. Then, call up your local offices to see who can give you the best possible deal. With so many companies being competitive during the busy season, you might find a better deal than you ever expected possible. You might also consider third party carriers, who tend to offer lower prices as well. However, you might have to work with these companies more to figure out if they deliver to the area you are sending your item.
8. Make the Recipient Aware
When you’re sending out gifts, it is very important that you make the recipient aware during this day and age. Unfortunately, during the holidays, there are more porch pirates than ever. Long gone are the days of someone arriving to a surprise on their porch after a long day of work. So, instead of keeping it to yourself, make sure you let the other person know. This will allow them to make arrangements for a trusted neighbor to pick up the package or for them to be home during typical delivery times. You might also pass on the shipping number. This will help them stay up to date on their package but can also help them deal with problems on their end if there is a shipping problem.
9. Adhere to Dates
Another important thing to keep in mind when you’re preparing to ship an item is the shipping dates for the holidays. Each service will have its own dates posted alone. Essentially, these dates will help guide you, so you know when it is safe to ship your presents so that they will arrive on time. Of course, if you’re looking to save money, you will definitely want to work with the standard shipping dates. The closer you get to the holiday, the more you will have to pay to get it there on time. This means your budget is going to primarily be spent on shipping as prices can really escalate.
10. Avoid Shipping
There’s no doubt about it, one of the best things you can do for your budget is to avoid shipping altogether. You might find it best to shop locally in order to help the local economy and keep your budget a bit lower. This can also help prevent you from having to deal with lost or damaged packages over the holiday season. Apart from the wasted time and money, presenting a gift in person can be a more meaningful experience. Plus, not shipping your items can keep you from exposure to colds and the flu, that can often be found in the long lines of many carrier services.
Shipping during the holiday season can be a pain. Despite this, it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. These ten tips will help you cut back on the amount of money you spend while shipping your presents to your loved ones.