Tips to reduce stamp and mailing expenses

Email is a great way to save postage, but many of us still like to send and receive a real letter or card once in awhile. The best way to save money on postage is to know the rules and weight requirements. You can send five or six pages of normal printer paper for one stamp. If you still write long letters, then buy light-weight paper that allows you to send more pages. Weigh your letter before sending to make sure you do not need a second stamp. Buy stamps for the second ounce which are a few cents less per stamp. There is no need to put two first class stamps on an envelope, so have a few handy for the second ounce.  

Envelope size

Check the envelope when you purchase greeting cards. Oversized greeting cards will require extra postage. Some times it’s worth it when you find that perfect greeting card, but other times you can find one just as meaningful or funny that takes less postage. Most cards that require extra postage say so in the area where you’ll affix the stamp.  Sometimes this information is in very small print, so check carefully. 

Media mail

One of the best-kept secrets is the ‘media rate’, which is a special inexpensive rate for shipping books and other items considered ‘media’ by the post office. Ask about this when shipping books. You may not include anything with your book, such as a letter, business cards or other materials.

Flat rate USPS Priority Mail

Priority Mail envelopes are available that are a flat rate’ – which means whatever you can fit in the envelope goes for one price.

Below is the information cut and pasted from the USPS site:

Flat rate shipping options are available for priority packages. Ask your postal clerk about them. For one flat fee you can ship anything you can fit into one of these envelopes or boxes. The information is available online. The mailing boxes and tape are free; either pick them up at your local post office or order them online.

Now it is possible to print your own postage from your computer and mail from home. If you send a lot of small packages and gifts to friends and family,  then this service saves gas money and time. 

Other options

Online bill pay: Consider signing up for online payment of bills, which is very convenient and keeps a lot of paper out of the landfills. You can do this for insurance, utilities, garbage pickup, etc. The companies will still send you a statement, or sometimes you can request an online statement and keep their costs down, which in the end may save you money as well.

Weight: When shipping packages, think about the weight of the box. Those free USPS Priority Mail boxes provided by the post office weigh quite a bit, so consider this before choosing to ship items that way. There are weight limits on items shipped in those boxes, so if your package weighs over the allotted amount you will pay considerably more.

Timing: Another idea is to try and mail all of your packages at one time if you’re driving to the post office. If you have several friends or family members who have birthdays close together; early gifts may even be appreciated.

Shipper services: Also, many online stores like Amazon will gift wrap your purchase and ship it directly for you. This way you’re not paying for shipping to your address, then gift wrapping it and paying to ship it to your friend or family member.

If you shop online a lot, consider signing up for Amazon Prime. For a yearly fee, you get free shipping for many items sold on Amazon. This really saves you money if you purchase heavy products such as books or syrups online. It doesn’t take long for those shipping charges to add up.  

Consider the cost of shipping gifts when you purchase them.  A gift card or lighter-weight gift choice will often save you a large amount of money paid for shipping.