With major holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa just around the corner, it’s time to start planning who you’ll be sending gifts to. The U.S. Postal Service, as well as UPS and FedEx have all released their shipping deadlines to ensure that your loved one gets their package on time. Why is it extra important to plan ahead this year? Because like everything else, shipping is more expensive (especially during the holiday season).
Earlier this year, the USPS announced temporary price adjustments for key package products for the 2022 peak holiday season, specifically the period that started on October 2 and will remain in place until 12 a.m. CT Jan. 22, 2023. These shipping increases impact both commercial customers and retail customers.
How much will shipping cost this year?
Seasonal price adjustments range from $0.25 to $6.50 depending on the weight of your package and the shipping product, up to 70 pounds, with the largest increases for packages that weigh 11 pounds or more.
“This seasonal adjustment will bring prices for the Postal Service’s commercial and retail customers in line with competitive practices. No structural changes are planned as part of this limited pricing initiative,” the postal service said in a statement.
UPS announced its own surcharges that will remain in place until further notice. These increases range from $0.05 to $7.00. FedEx’s surcharges range from $1.50 to $68.75 per package, although their highest surcharge is $385 for certain U.S. ground services.
6 tips to save on shipping costs
If you’re hoping to cut costs during the holidays, one major way to do so is to take a close look at how much you’re spending to send gifts and look for alternatives or discounts that could help you save. A few tips to keep your costs down:
- Opt for store pick-up when you can. If the person you’re giving a gift to lives close enough, driving to the store to pick up the item and giving it to them in person, rather than shipping it to them can help you cut costs. It may take a few extra minutes, but shipping fees can add up quickly if you’re not keeping a close eye on them.
- Order and ship through an online retailer. If your recipient doesn’t live close enough to deliver a gift to them in person and your only option is to ship a gift, try to do so directly through the retailer you’re shopping from. Many retailers have gift wrapping and price tag removal options, and it’s often cheaper than shipping the item yourself.
- Keep a beat on shipping deals. Many retailers will ship your item for free if you meet a minimum spending threshold. Consider doing the bulk of your shopping through one specific retailer, if you can so that you can qualify for free shipping promotions. Another option: consider an Amazon Prime membership for fast and free shipping. You’ll still have to pay a membership fee, but it will likely be cheaper than paying to ship each individual gift. “Some larger e-tailers, Amazon, Target, and Walmart have been known to waive their free shipping minimums during the holidays. When you visit the website, these offers will be clearly indicated,” says Trae Bodge, Smart Shopping Expert at truetrae.com. “There’s also Free Shipping Day on December 14, when many retailers not only guarantee on-time delivery for the holidays, they also often offer free shipping and sales.”
- Ship your items early. Deadlines for holiday shipping vary from carrier to carrier, but the closer it gets to the holiday season, the more expensive it will be to ship your package. Plus, you run the risk of your item not arriving on time. Plan ahead and try to ship your items out well before your preferred carrier’s holiday deadline.
- Don’t leave any shipping discounts on the table. Certain carriers offer discounts for different memberships or credit cardholders. UPS offers discounts for AAA and AARP members (pro tip: you don’t have to be retired to join). And FedEx offers discounts for USAA members and American Express cardholders.
- Compare rates. If you prefer to wrap and ship an item yourself, do your homework first. “I would recommend using a local shipping store and asking them to compare prices between USPS, UPS, and Fedex before you decide which carrier to use,” says Bodge. “In general, I find USPS to be the least expensive, especially if you use their pre-paid boxes/envelopes. Just be prepared to wait in a long line as the holidays get closer.”
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