How to save on shipping presents

Posted at 4:43 PM, Nov 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-11 16:43:48-05

An often forgotten expense in holiday shopping is the cost of shipping gifts across the country. This added cost could quickly add up if sending multiple presents to loved ones.

With a bit of planning and finding the right tools, saving on shipping could make it easy to save money.

- Buying gifts online

Many companies offer free shipping for purchasing gifts online. Establishments like QVC, Target and Amazon will offer free shipping on certain purchases. The ability to have gifts shipped anywhere is a real bonus to online buying not only for cost, but for convenience.

Typically companies will offer shipping up until the final week before Christmas.

- Plan ahead

Often times, people treat shipping packages like a game on the “Price is Right.” You want to get the package there as close to Christmas without it being late. But opting to use guaranteed next-day shipping options can be a very costly proposition. Most major shipping services will give customers a rough guess on shipping time through their websites.

For instance, shipping a 3-pound sweater box from Ohio to California through UPS is $18.38 through the company’s ground service. If you were to use UPS’ Second Day Air service, shipping the package would be $43.33.

Also keep in mind that companies get backed up the week before Christmas. Two years ago, UPS and FedEx were unable to get all packages to their destination in time for Christmas due to high volumes.

Planning ahead definitely pays when it comes to shipping.

- Finding the right service

Does one service offer better rates than the others? Let’s look at what the cost of shipping a 17 by 11 by 3-inch, 3-pound package cost to send from Ohio to California with the leading companies.

Next day:
UPS: $92.08
USPS: $46
FedEx: $81.99

Two-day shipping
UPS: $43.33
USPS: $15.50
FedEx: $40.64

UPS: $18.38 (four business days)
USPS $14.27 (up to six business days)
FedEx: $13.84 (four business days)

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs.

Tokyo Olympics Medal Count as of late Aug. 2, 2021