How to Send Parcels Cheaply

Sending parcels cheaply can be done by comparing prices on line or using flat-rate shipping.
Sending parcels cheaply can be done by comparing prices on line or using flat-rate shipping. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Almost everyone sends a parcel at some point or another, whether it be a care package to a friend or loved one, a gift, or an item that someone bought from you in an on-line auction. When sending a package, it is ideal to find the cheapest shipping rate that you can. To find the best rates, you can compare shipping rates on line or consider using a flat-rate box from the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Visit the websites of the USPS, FedEx and UPS. All three websites allow you to enter information such as box dimensions, package weight and the ZIP code of the destination to help you calculate how much your shipping costs will be. Each website also allows you to pay for your shipping online and print your own shipping labels. In many cases, these couriers charge you $1 or $2 less if you pay for the shipping of your parcel online with a credit card as opposed to taking it to one of their physical locations and shipping from there. All three couriers also have free at-home parcel pick-up.

Select how fast you want your package to arrive at its destination. Combined with package weight and size, the speed of delivery is a factor on how much shipping will cost you. The USPS, FedEx and UPS all offer shipping speeds ranging from one to a week or more. For example, you can choose to have your parcel arrive in one day, two days, five to seven days, or longer. The faster the shipping speed, the more the shipping will cost. To save money, ship your parcel at least a week before you want it to arrive, if possible. In addition, you may incur additional costs if you're shipping your parcel to a home residence as opposed to a business or office building.

Use one of the flat-rate shipping envelopes or boxes provided by the USPS. As of April 2011, you can choose to send a small box for $5.20, a medium-sized box for $10.95, or a large box for $14.95. These boxes ship to anywhere in the United States and can weigh up to 70 pounds. The flat-rate boxes are available for free and can be picked up at your nearest post office, or you can have the box delivered to your door by your postal carrier.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some of the nation's leading office-supply chains have contracts with UPS and FedEx and occasionally have coupons available for reduced prices on shipping in their Sunday circulars.

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