by Jeff Kaplan, CEO of LOZO, a free website that shows you ways to save money with tips, resources, coupons and more.
Shopping online can be absolutely wonderful. You can browse a ton of different stores in a matter of minutes, allowing you to easily comparison shop and ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. Then, you can do a quick search for online coupons to see if you can make the deal even better.
There is, however, one thing that’s not so great about online shopping: shipping fees. Just when you’ve found that great deal and that great coupon, you get hit with the extra cost to ship it to your home. Here are a few tips that will help you lower—or even avoid—the cost of shipping on your holiday purchases:
- Look for “Free Shipping” Options: It’s no surprise that our favorite solution to shipping costs is… to not pay them! The simplest way to get free shipping is to place your order when the store is running a free shipping promotion. During the holidays, you may not have that luxury, so we recommend searching for online coupons that include free shipping (you can start at LOZO’s coupons page). Another option is to sign-up for a free trial membership to different clubs or rewards programs. For example, you can get free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime and free “express” shipping (1-3 days) with Barnes and Noble. Check at your favorite online stores to see if they offer something comparable (most of them do).
- Factor Shipping into Your Final Cost: When you’re comparing prices at different online stores, be sure to factor in the cost of shipping. Store A may have a better price, but if their shipping fees are through the roof, you might be better off purchasing from Store B.
- Order Now! If at all possible, place your online orders now. The longer you wait, the more you’ll have to pay for expedited shipping in order for it to arrive in time for Christmas. For the next couple days, you can probably still get by with the cheapest shipping option and trust that it will arrive on time.
- Consolidate Your Order into One Shipment: When you’re purchasing multiple items, some retailers will offer you the option to break up your orders so the items that are available fastest are sent first and the items that take longer will ship later. The obvious benefit here is that you’ll receive some items sooner. The downside is that you’ll usually pay for it. Instead, consolidate your order into one shipment so you can keep your shipping costs lower.
- Pick-Up in Stores: If the online retailer you’re purchasing from has brick-and-mortar stores, see if you can order online but pick-up your items in a store. It’ll still save you time from having to shop in the store (and navigate all of those busy aisles and lines), but you won’t have to pay for shipping!
Have you got tips of your own? Leave a comment below and let us know all about them!