Ways to Save on Shipping Costs

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

“Plus shipping and handling” — it’s a phrase we’re used to as part of a modern-day online shopping experience. We expect to pay a fee for the convenience of having our purchases shipped directly to our door, but how much we  have to pay for it is a matter of concern when considering a purchase.  Do you know how much you’re spending on shipping? It doesn’t usually seem like much, especially compared to the cost of the items purchased.  But, according to a recent announcement by FedEx, that might change soon.

 By this fall, shipping rates will most likely be increasing, by as much as 40%.  The company is considering adjusting their rates based on package size, instead of by weight alone.  This will allow them to charge more for bulky but lightweight items. Unfortunately, the change will hit a lot of consumes where it hurts since online shopping has become extremely popular, even for household items like toilet tissue and diapers. According to the new FedEx pricing, these items will not cost more to ship. We don’t know yet if UPS will follow suite, but they usually do.  While we don’t know yet how  drastically the changes will affect retailers’ pricing and shipping rates, there are ways to prepare yourself for this increased “cost of convenience.”

Know Your Options
Most online stores default their shipping options to standard shipping (usually USPS, FedEx, or UPS Ground) which is usually estimated to take 7-10 business days.  You can pay more for expedited shipping, or, if you’re in a real rush, overnight shipping. As the prices rise, you can save money by being aware of which options are available to you, and choosing the cheapest one possible.  Waiting a little longer for an item you won’t die without can save you several dollars each time you do business online.

Shop Strategically
Customers who purchase several items at one time save companies money on packaging and handling fees,  a savings they pass on to their shoppers in the form of incentives. For instance,  many retailers offer free shipping on orders over $50.  While I don’t recommend buying something you don’t need or even really want  just to reach the free shipping threshold, if you’re going to buy it anyway, why not do it all at once?  Plan out your shopping so you’re not making several small orders throughout the month, but rather a few larger ones.

Plan Ahead for Gifts
This goes along with the last point. By shopping for gifts well in advance, you’ll avoid the crisis of having to rush-ship items because you need them by a certain date. I’ve done this before, and it’s frustrating to think I could have spent a lot less if I’d just planned ahead. If you didn’t plan ahead and expedited shipping will be outrageous, you might be better off shopping for something locally and planning better the next time.

Discount Memberships
Certain online retailers, such as Amazon, offer free shipping to paying members. For a fee of $99 a year, Amazon Prime ships all your packages for free. Of course, it’s not really free — you paid $99. But if you order from Amazon frequently enough, your shipping costs for a year could easily surpass that, so $99 would represent a savings. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth looking into, especially if you’re frequently ordering packages for a small business or do all of your shopping online.

Shipping costs are an inevitable part of shopping online, and they’re not as easy to negotiate or find a better deal on. Following these tips can help offset some of the cost, but, as always, choosing not to spend money is the best way to save!

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: