The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and of course, gifts. You don’t spend hours shopping and planning and spending money just to spend more on unnecessary shipping costs. Shipping can not only be a big expense but added stress, especially when it comes to shipping and packaging! We want to save you time, money, and energy by providing some tips on how to make the holidays more cost-effective. That is why we want to share with you some tips on how you can save money during the holiday season.
While buying gifts online and shipping directly is always an option, there has been a big push to shop local to give gifts that can only be found in your area or are simply more personal. It puts a fun spin on gifts that can make them unique and unlike gifts that can be bought online. It is also always nice to add your own individual touch with a card or handwritten letter, and these are simply not options when you buy and ship directly from a retailer. If you must order online, shop around for offers or discounts, especially on shipping!
Here are some simple and effective ways for you to save money on shipping and packaging during the holiday season:
- Make sure you’re using a reputable courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or USPS. This will ensure your package arrives on time but also comes with a tracking number, and often insurance up to a certain amount is automatically included.
- Before even purchasing a present, think about how easy it will be to ship. Heavier and larger items will obviously cost more, but you also need to consider how fragile an item is. Even with the right packaging precautions, items can break or be damaged. The postal service estimates that a crease in a box can reduce the box’s strength by upwards of 70% clothes, shoes, and most toys are always a safe bet. I mean, who doesn’t need more socks?
- If possible, reuse old boxes from previous gifts (we know this may be challenging, but it will definitely help!). If you can package your gift at home, especially with reused boxes and insulation, you will definitely save money. This method also helps with reducing waste by recycling an old box instead of just throwing it away. Just make sure all tape and labels have been removed.
- If you are boxing up a gift at home, make sure to avoid boxes that will not fit your gift. If your box is slightly popping open, held together with tape, you can risk damaging the gift, and oftentimes they end up getting discarded, which is essentially wasted money!
- Smaller gift items like jewelry ship best in padded envelopes. You may even be able to reuse an amazon padded envelope you have lying around. Padded envelopes offer great protection without adding unnecessary weight and cost.
- Ship early – the earlier you ship, the more savings you will see from lower rates. USPS, FedEx, and UPS are overwhelmed during the holidays. This is nothing new, so instead of waiting until the last minute to ship your gift, include a note requesting the recipient doesn’t open your gift until a specified date. Shipping has already been crazy this year, and with the increased holiday shipping traffic, shipping early is a good idea.
- Consider using the box within a box method with packing paper for a layer of protection. This can also ensure that note gets seen before the present gets opened.
- Did you know USPS offers discounted rates for packages under 13 ounces? It’s called First-Class Mail, and it is a great way to save money on packages and boxes weighing 13oz or less, and prices start at just $4.30!
- Knowing the rules of each carrier is important. USPS has restrictions both nationally and internationally. Did you know that items such as nail polish and perfumes have restrictions?
- Know the holiday deadlines. Holidays are the busiest time of year for carriers, and for USPS, they have deadlines for when packages can be shipped for a guaranteed arrival date. USPS first class mail: December 19th – First class mail: December 20th – Priority mail express: December 22nd. These dates do vary by state, so you may want to check with your local post office, and while many of us like to procrastinate, these dates are associated with increased rates, so be aware.
- Consider insurance for your package because Santas delivery service is not always perfect. Ask your shipper about what insurance is included and consider purchasing more if your package contains a high-dollar item. Rates are pretty good for insurance, considering if your package gets damaged in transit, you can get refunded.
- Don’t worry about spending a lot of money on fancy or decorated boxes. It is more important to have the right size box for your item and be sure all sides are strong enough, so they do not give when tossed around from truck to truck.
- Don’t forget to use some packaging peanuts or packing paper so items won’t move around inside the box during transit. Also, make sure you include padding between each layer if necessary, especially with breakable objects like glassware or dishes, because this will help keep them from breaking during transport!
- The last way we recommend to save time while shipping is to make sure to avoid UPS, FedEx, or USPS during peak hours. Typically these locations are busiest around lunchtime, so if possible, try to go as soon as they open or shortly before closing.
While many of us like to procrastinate on our holiday shopping and shipping, it is important to consider all of the factors. Holidays are always a busy time of year, the hustle and bustle of the season is just part of it, but you can save a lot of money and time by considering these tips. These tips should help keep costs down while still allowing you to get all those gifts delivered on time! We hope these tips help this holiday season! Happy shipping everyone!