How to Ship Items/Packages as Cheaply as Possible


Getting items from one place to another can be tricky when you are working on a budget. Whether you send a small gift to a friend or ship several items for a small business venture, ensure you are getting the best price possible for the delivery service. Even small blunders can cost a fortune in mailing expenses. When you know how to prepare your items for shipment and take the time to plan ahead, you can frugally ship nearly anything.

  • Allot an appropriate amount of time for delivery. Get items in the mail long before the recipient needs them, so you do not have to pay for overnight or second-day shipping. Your package may arrive in just a few days, but you save a bundle if you do not need to guarantee a specific delivery date.

  • Use lightweight packing supplies. Shipping costs are determined by weight, so avoid adding heavy protective packaging if it is not necessary. Bubble wrap and bubble bags, which are mostly air, are much lighter than paper or fabric padding.

  • Keep your package as small as possible. The U.S. Postal Service, or USPS, has a separate price class for packages larger than 12 inches in any dimension. If the item is small, keep the box small as well; otherwise, you are paying to ship empty space.

  • Weigh your package or the items to be packaged. Use the weight to get a price from the USPS or another shipping company. Compare the price per weight with the price for a flat-rate USPS box. For heavy items, the flat-rate box may be the cheapest option.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you mail items in bulk for a small business, get a bulk-mail permit, which helps to reduce costs for big shipments. Reuse boxes and bubble wrap to save on the cost of new supplies.
  • Do not presume that a flat-rate box will give you the best deal. For lightweight items like clothing, you may pay much more for a flat-rate box than you would for a standard box.


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