Christmas postage is one of those unanticipated holiday expenses that we often forget about when planning our Christmas gift budget. Unfortunately, the cost of Christmas postage can often be as high as the Christmas gifts themselves. If you have friends and family that will be receiving their Christmas gifts from you via the mail this year, these tips will help you save money on Christmas postage costs.
Always ship parcel post
Parcel post is what used to be known as “ground” freight or 4th class. Shipping time across the United States can be between 10-14 days, but the savings on postage cost is definitely worth it. When I was an eBay vendor, parcel post had consistently the lowest shipping rates for my customers, no matter where the package was shipped. One good rule of thumb I discovered was that if the parcel weighed three pounds or less, Priority Mail was the best rate. For Christmas gift packages weighing four pounds and over, parcel post is always cheaper.
Worth noting is that during the Christmas season, parcel post shipping may take up to three weeks. This is is why it’s recommended to get those Christmas gift parcels in the mail by the first of December.
Watch the weight
Postage costs are based on several factors. One of these factors is the weight of the package which is totally in your control. When selecting Christmas gifts for shipping, you can save money on Christmas postage by selecting gifts that are lighter in weight. While this might not always be possible, it’s worth remembering that if you are given the choice between shipping a heavy item or a lighter weight item, the lighter weight gift will always cost less.
Something else that people often forget is that packaging material also adds weight to a parcel. Instead of wrapping gifts in heavy newspaper, use recycled foam peanuts, bubble wrap, or styrofoam instead which will protect your Christmas gifts from damage without adding unnecessary weight.
Watch the dimensions
In addition to weight, dimensional size also determines the cost of postage. Dimensional size refers to the width, height, and depth of a package.
You might not think the size of the box matters, but surprising it does. To use as an example, shipping a 5 pound package measuring 12 x 12 x 12 inches to Los Angeles from Boise costs around $10. But, that same pile of gifts packed in a box measuring 24 x 24 x 24 inches will cost $65 to ship.
Sometimes it’s cheaper to package your gifts into a couple of smaller boxes that try to pack them all in one large box. One helpful tip is to always check the US Postal Service online postage price calculator first for postage rates, before sealing up the box. The online calculator is found at postcalc.usps.gov.
To save money on Christmas postage, remember to watch the weight, watch the dimensions, and send parcel post when possible. Following these tips will help keep Christmas postage costs down to a minimum and your Christmas gift budget on track.