We’re pretty fortunate that most of our family lives nearby. But there have been years in which we’ve had to ship Christmas and birthday gifts to relatives who lived far away.
Shipping can really add up if you’re not careful. You have to worry about not only how much the gift weighs, but what its dimensions are as well.
You can visit your local post office and try to squeeze your gifts into a priority mail quick ship box. The “If it fits, it ships” packaging starts at $7.95. You can also shop around for various vendors to find out what they will charge.
But I’ve found that the easiest way to save money on shipping gifts is to get creative. With a little planning, gifts can be very inexpensive to send.
Ship directly to the recipient. Shop online and arrange to have the product wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient. You can find plenty of free shipping codes online and if you shop through Ebates, you can usually earn enough cash back on your purchase to make the gift-wrapping free.
Give the gift of magazines. Send a magazine subscription as a gift. Places like DiscountMags, Magazines.com, Amazon, and Best Deal Magazines offer great deals on magazines all the time. Order a magazine and then send a note to the recipient that a subscription is on its way.
Give experiences. Look for deals on daily deals sites like Groupon or Living Social and give the gift of an experience you can share the next time you are together. Buy a day pass at a spa and visit it with your mom the next time you see her. Buy your nieces or nephews a museum or zoo membership and take them when you visit.
Make it personal. Create a slideshow of photographs or put together a collection of old family videos onto a DVD. You’ll create a frugal and meaningful gift that doesn’t cost more than a couple bucks to make and ship.
Think light. Photo gifts and puzzles make for thoughtful gifts that don’t cost much to ship. Some clothing can be lightweight, too.
Change the exchange. If the reason you have to ship the gifts is because you won’t be together for the celebration, make arrangements to celebrate at a different time when you can get together in person. I know one family that always celebrates Christmas in January because that’s when they can get together. They can save money by shopping the after-Christmas sales and avoid paying to ship their gifts.
Do you have to ship gifts? How do you save on shipping?
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