Things have changed since I wrote this post. You can read a current article detailing the new shipping options and prices here.
My next question comes from someone I know in real life. I am not sure if she will be reading the answer since she just had a baby on Christmas day.
I have a practical question I’ve been meaning to ask…Do you know the cheapest way to mail packages? USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx?
Unfortunately I don’t have a great answer for this one. It really depends on the size and weight of the package as well as how fast you need it to arrive. The good news is that all of these companies have websites where you can price out the cost of your shipment. You can also pay for and print out shipping labels in your own home. For Vanessa, a mom of two under two this would be a huge time saver.
Most of these companies offer package pick-up as well. There is a charge for this, so depending on your season of life this might be worth the money.
There are a few things to think about when mailing items. If you are sending media (which the post office classifies as small and large packages consisting of books, film, manuscripts, sound recordings, video tapes, and computer readable media such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes) you can get a huge discount on postage by using the post office. Ten pounds of books costs a little over $5. The post office is probably the cheapest option when shipping media.
The post office also offers a discounted APO/FPO shipping rate in special priority mail boxes. You must ship the items in these boxes, but they are available for free and can be delivered to your front door.
UPS includes $100 of insurance when shipping packages through them, while the post office charges for this service. The post office also charges for delivery confirmation and tracking, something that is included in the price of FedEx and UPS.
In order to calculate shipping costs online you will need to know the dimensions of your package as well as the weight. I have a postage scale, but if you don’t have one you can weigh larger packages with a bathroom scale. Weigh yourself and then weigh yourself holding the package. Subtract your weight from the total weight and you will have your package weight. With this information you should be able to find out the cheapest option for shipping your packages.