How To Save Money On Shipping Stuff

In the first company I was an owner in, part of my responsibilities were shipping out our self-published books. Twice a week I would use the UPS software, package and print 20-50 books, and head off to UPS.

When Katie & I ran our cat DVD business (don’t ask), I was the one driving to the post office on my scooter a couple of times a week to print shipping labels and ship DVDs.

Now that I’ve published my new book 99 Minute Millionaire, I’m back to shipping out complimentary copies for reviewers.

I’ve picked up a few tips over the years to save on shipping. A buck here and there adds up.

1. Always print from home

Sign up for free accounts on both USPS and UPS (or FedEx if you prefer).

Get your default payment saved (credit or debit card) and your home address. Set up your account to save you a lot of time.

Use the software to print your labels and tape them to the package. Drop off your packages on your way to or from work.

2. Print and ship books using Media Mail

Media Mail is the post office’s little secret on discounted shipping of books, DVDs, and CDs.

You will not find an option to print online postage using media mail on the USPS website.

But you can print USPS shipping labels through PayPal, including Media Mail…and not just for items purchased with PayPal.

You will need a PayPal account. Here’s this link.

Compare shipping a book via Media Mail ($2.65) to a Priority Mail envelope or small flat rate box ($6.45).

3. The U.S. Post Office is always cheaper for small packages

Once you get into medium and large packages, UPS or FedEx are significantly cheaper. For example, I had to return some new sheets (hated the color!). The package was 12 pounds.

  • USPS: $34.00
  • UPS: $24.00

Use your web browser to compare shipping costs between services.  It takes an extra minute to re-enter all the shipping info to get pricing, but it will save you money.

4. Never ship from a postal store

You will often pay significant markups when you walk into a mom-and-pop shop. The price difference can be $5 and up depending on the size of the package.

Not to mention you have to wait in line and wait to get the label printed.  If you don’t print a label from home visit a:

  • USPS branch location
  • FedEx Kinkos
  • Official UPS Store

The official stores of the shipping carriers offer better rates.

5. Skip the lines

Printing from home is not only cheaper, you will save a ton of time. Just walk into your local post office or UPS/FedEx and drop off the box.

You don’t have to stand and wait in line either. Walk to the front of the line, politely interrupt:

Excuse me…sorry, I just have a drop off.

Hand over your package(s) and walk out.

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