The following is a guest post by Andrea Woroch (Twitter and Facebook).
With just two weeks until Christmas, holiday shoppers are running out of time to get holiday gifts to loved ones on time. While retailers offer expedited shipping for an extra fee, tight schedules and even tighter budgets can make this option inconvenient and unaffordable.
To avoid exorbitant delivery costs while ensuring your packages arrive in time for Christmas morning, following these nine savvy tips for saving on shipping this season.
Review shipping deadlines
For those shipping gifts through a shipping carrier like FedEx, ground delivery deadlines hit this week. In fact, the USPS deadline for Standard Post is Tuesday, December 15. Many retail ground shipping deadlines are approaching, too, so it’s time to get your shopping done so you don’t waste money on rush delivery! Review shipping deadlines for over 60 stores and set alerts on your calendar so you don’t forget.
Use a free shipping code
Free shipping is one of the most popular online promotions, especially during the holiday season. Search or free shipping codes for popular retailers like Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney and more at http://freeshipping.org/, where you can also find rush shipping deals and discounts that may cover the cost of shipping and then some.
Sign up for a shipping club
Take advantage of Amazon’s free 30-day trial of Prime to get free two-day delivery or ShopRunner’s free 30-day trial of their expedited shipping service. These services are perfect during the holiday season, but it’s important to remember when you signed up so you can cancel before they automatically renew and start charging your account.
Choose payment with perks
You can get shipping perks depending on how you pay this holiday season. Customers who pay with their PayPal account will not only score free shipping but also free returns from any online retailer. VISA cardholders using VISA Checkout can also receive free two-day shipping from Lands’ End or special offers like $20 off $100 orders from Williams-Sonoma and Title Nine, or $20 off your next order from Shutterfly. Finally, American Express cardholders receive a complimentary subscription to ShopRunner for free expedited shipping and free returns.
Shop on Free Shipping Day
Mark your calendar for Free Shipping Day on Friday, Dec. 18, when hundreds of online retailers will offer free shipping with no minimum order and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. In its eighth year, this event already has over 700 stores signed up, including Walmart, which currently requires holiday shoppers to spend $50 to receive free delivery.
Opt for in store pickup
Many big-box stores like Target, Kmart and Home Depot offer free in-store pickup, but be careful not to leave the store with more than just your online order! Both Sears and Target provide curbside pick up so you don’t have to deal with crowded parking lots, plus you get the added convenience of shopping online without paying for delivery.
Save on same-day delivery
Google Express just launched a new local service offering overnight and same-day delivery from such stores as Target, Costco, Kohl’s and Barnes & Noble (stores vary by location). Check their site to see if this service is offered in your area. Google Express members receive free delivery when their orders meet minimum requirements set by stores, while non-members pay just $4.99 for same-day or overnight delivery.
Shop wisely at the airport
While I typically refrain from buying anything at the airport because of high markups, there are some airport stores where prices don’t deviate much from their traditional brick and mortar locations. Stick with options like Brookstone or Best Buy so your gift recipient can easily make exchanges and returns if necessary. Stay away from books, jewelry and chocolates, however, as you can buy those items for less when you get to your final destination!
Send an electronic gift
If you’re looking at exorbitant delivery charges to send a gift in time for the holidays, don’t do it; it’s a complete waste of money! Instead, send an electronic gift card directly to the recipient’s inbox. You can even save by purchasing a discount e-gift card code from sites like Raise or Gift Card Zen. Otherwise, purchase an item online with regular delivery and email the gift description to your loved one. It’s the thought that counts!
About Andrea Andrea Woroch is a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Consumer Reports, Forbes and many more. In addition, Andrea’s stories have been published among leading publications and sites such as Yahoo!, AOL Daily Finance, CNN Money, Huffington Post, LearnVest and New York Daily News.