Cheapest Way to Post Parcels

Mail costs are rising, but it's possible to save money at the postal counter.
Mail costs are rising, but it's possible to save money at the postal counter. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

When it comes to shipping parcels, many services are available. UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail, parcel post, media mail and first class are some of these options. You can learn how to get your package where it needs to go as cheaply as possible. The key is to know your options for each shipping scenario.

First Class

First class mail is only for parcels that weigh 13 ounces or less. If your package is that light, first class is the way to go.

Media Mail

If your parcel contains books and magazines that are not of commercial nature and weighs more than 13 ounces, media mail is the cheapest category. Media mail can also be used for electronic media such as DVDs, CDs, software, and videocassettes and audiocassettes. Media mail allows customers to ship heavy parcels containing such matter for just a few dollars.

Parcel Post

Parcel post is the cheapest option for very heavy parcels. However, for packages of 10 pounds or less, parcel post costs about the same as Priority Mail but takes much longer to arrive, so it is not cost effective.

Priority Mail

Priority Mail is the cheapest option for parcels that weigh between 13 ounces and 10 pounds. For these weights, the only other shipping option is the slower parcel post.

UPS Ground

Packages that are larger in than 24 inches in girth or more than 5 pounds can usually be shipped by UPS Ground for less cost than the U.S. Postal Service charges. Always use the time and cost calculator on the UPS website to determine which service is cheapest.

FedEx Ground

FedEx Ground is similar in price to UPS, and it's FedEx's cheapest method of shipping. However, delivery times with FedEx are usually faster. FedEx is generally the best option for packages that must arrive very quickly. When choosing services, weigh costs versus expected delivery times.

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