How to Make the Holidays More Affordable
Save on Mailing Gifts
Tips from an anonymous shipping-company representative
Shipping rates are often determined by three factors: a package’s size, weight, and destination. So if you can fit something into a small box, you could spend less. Use a small to midsize flat-rate U.S. Postal Service priority box ($5.20 to $11) to send compact, heavy items (up to 70 pounds). To keep any shipment as light as possible, use inexpensive packing peanuts or popcorn for cushioning instead of paper, since they’re almost weightless.
Procrastinators, keep this in mind: About a week before Christmas, some carriers may automatically send packages out next-day within some regions of the country, regardless of whether you paid for expedited service. If you’re willing to take the risk, this could pay off big—saving you $30 to $40 a package.
Also, if you’re sending a box from one destination to another that’s reasonably close—say, from Long Island, New York, to Scotch Plains, New Jersey—during the final week before Christmas, you may not have to send it next-day delivery to have it arrive quickly. Send it ground—it still might arrive on the following day.