Each year, the costs of shipping and handling via United States Postal Service (the Post Office) and United Parcel Service (UPS) have increased making it more expensive for those of us who have family members that reside in other states. Paying these higher shipping and handling costs can spoil a holiday season or the joy of sending a birthday or other type of personal gift. I have felt the increase of shipping costs since 2005. By 2008, I was annually paying nearly fifteen dollars per personal package (had about five gifts inside) shipped. Having six people out of state made sending them their personal gifts very expensive, especially when the holiday season arrived. Fortunately in the beginning of 2008, I found, by accident, on-line alternatives to wrapping and shipping gifts that saved time and shipping costs. No longer was I spending large chunks of time standing in line to pay for the expensive shipping and handling costs for the personal gifts being sent to loved ones. I was able to cut my shipping and handling costs in half (or more, depending upon how many people per address were covered in my gift giving).
The first thing noticed when searching for alternatives in sending gifts long distance, was certain companies have shipping specials depending upon how much purchased from them. Some companies even include wrapping and card prices that cost about the same if one bought the wrapping paper and card then wrapped the gift by themselves (a break even and time saver). One of my favorite places to shop on-line is Amazon.com for they have “free” shipping if one purchases a certain amount and have a wide variety of items that make excellent gifts. This “free” shipping offered by Amazon.com saved me the expense of shipping and handling costs when I sent my youngest son two books I knew he wanted for his book collection. JC Penny also has a great website. One can purchase to have individual gift items wrapped with a card (or without one). The gift wrapping service and card prices are reasonable. JC Penny offers free personal messages in their gift cards. JC Penny’s website was a time saver, user friendly, and saved me in the expense of shipping gifts to four people at the same address. These four people who received their gifts expressed how beautifully wrapped each gift was. I was delighted all gifts arrived in perfect condition.
Other recommended company websites I have become familiar with are Harry and David, Target, and L.L. Bean. These companies have good quality items, reasonable shipping costs, and my gifts have reached their destinations on time without problems. Each person I have sent a gift from these companies have expressed how much they loved them and commented positively on their gift’s quality.
Yes, it is a “buyer beware” market on-line. Why I shop on-line at the companies I have a good history (the one’s mentioned above in this article). I do compare item prices, weight of each item, and shipping costs before deciding where to purchase my gifts. This holiday season will be less expensive, not so much in gift price, but in the incurred shipping costs. This will mean the ability to spend a little more on gifts, and have some spending money left over.
Alicia Rose, personal experience, 2005 through present.
Amazon.com website: http://www.amazon.com/
Harry and David, Holiday Gift Collection catalog and website: http://www.harryanddavid.com/gifts/store/home___
JC Penny website: http://jcp.com/jcp/default.aspx
L.L. Bean catalog and website: http://www.llbean.com/
Target website: http://www.target.com/