How to Save Money at the Post Office

By Andrea Cannon on 12 July 2016 0 comments

Visiting the post office can get very expensive, very quickly. Fortunately, there are several ways to save money at the post office, without sacrificing any of the quality or services you've come to expect.

Buy Forever Stamps

The benefit of forever stamps is that the value never "expires." This means that if the cost of stamps increases again, your forever stamps will still be just as valuable as they were when the price was lower. On the other hand, if you have a bunch of $0.47 stamps lying around and the price of stamps increases again, you will need to purchase supplemental stamps to make up the difference in cost. Forever stamps aren't any more expensive than normal stamps, so there's no reason not to purchase them.

Buy Stamps Elsewhere

Making a trip to the post office just for stamps can be a waste of time, money, and effort. Instead, consider purchasing stamps at your local grocery store, ATM, or even ordering them online and printing them out at home.

Go With Postcards

If you're sending a lot of holiday cards or making an announcement, consider sending postcards instead of traditional cards. When it comes to sending cards, saving money with the postcard stamp of $0.34 on all those cards can really add up. That's because for every postcard you send (rather than a traditional card), you will save $0.13.

Weigh Your Items First

You can often choose your shipping options and print out the shipping label at home using services like PayPal. However, if you need to go into the post office to arrange shipment, then make sure to weigh your items beforehand and do some research on the USPS site to find which option will be the most affordable, so that you're prepared when you get there.

Use Media Mail

Use Media Mail whenever possible to save on shipping costs. Media mail service is for shipping things like books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, educational media, and computer-related media at a low cost. Visit the USPS.com for more information on what you can send using Media Mail services.

Keep in mind that the post office has the right to examine what's inside your Media Mail package to ensure it fits within their guidelines, so make sure you're only shipping the approved items. If you attempt to ship items that are not approved via Media Mail, it can be considered a postal crime, which is a federal offense, and definitely not worth the savings.

Use First-Class Mail for Small Packages

If you have a package that weighs less than 13 oz, you likely won't find a cheaper, faster option than First-Class mail. Your item will arrive in 1-3 business days and won't cost much.

Use Priority Mail

Priority Mail flat rate shipping offers a flat rate to any state, for shipments up to 70 lbs. It includes free package pickup, online tracking, and up to $50 of insurance with most shipments. For small, heavy items, this is usually the way to go. Best of all, if you print your label from home and have the package picked up for free, you won't have to visit the post office at all.

You can pick up the appropriate Priority Mail envelopes or boxes from your local post office. You can also order free Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express supplies online with free home delivery.

Go Minimal

Shipping an item is expensive enough as it is. Adding services like insurance, tracking, receipt confirmation, and other add-ons can really rack up the cost. When possible, choose the slowest shipping option with minimal add-ons to save the most.

Recycle Shipping Supplies

Whenever possible, save your packaging materials from previous shipments so that you don't have to buy new ones later. When you receive a package, consider saving the bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and even the box. If you have old newspapers, you may want to save those for your next shipment, as well.

Choose the Right Shipping Service

USPS is typically the most affordable shipping service provider, but that's not always the case, particularly when you have larger items to ship. If you aren't set on using USPS, sites like ShipGooder can help you choose the best shipping service for your items.

Go With UPS Instead

Sometimes, the best way to save money with USPS is to choose a different service provider altogether. For instance, if you need insurance on your package, it may be a better idea to go with UPS. UPS offers $100 in insurance for free, so it may be a better option if you're shipping a large or valuable package.

Do you have other tips for saving money at the post office? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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