Taxes are huge, but postage costs are miniscule. So why bother with this line item? Because you have so many cheap options, that it’s hard to remember them all. Each time you’re about to pay postage on anything, these strategies deliver real savings.
21.1 Choose Alternatives to Mailing
□ 21.1.1 Call
At current long distance rates, you can talk at least 15 minutes before it costs you as much as postage.
□ 21.1.2 Email
If you enjoy internet access, an email costs nothing extra. Meanwhile, the price of first class postage jumps every year.
□ 21.1.3 Scan
You can mail the paperwork or you can email the .pdf file for FREE.
□ 21.1.4 Fax
This is older technology, but it still gets the pages there for less than the cost of postage.
□ 21.1.5 Avoid Mailing Checks
Instead, pay online or set up automatic withdrawals.
□ 21.1.7 Use Business Reply Envelopes
If a company mails you postage-paid envelopes, use them.
□ 21.1.8 Hand-Deliver
If you attend a lunch to celebrate someone’s birthday, deliver the card in person. Distribute cards at holiday parties.
21.2 Shop Around
□ 21.2.2 Buy Stamps at Warehouse Clubs
Somehow, they manage to sell stamps below face value. Maybe it’s something extra you get for your membership fee.
21.3 Buy the Right Size of Postage
□ 21.3.1 Ship With USPS Priority Mail
Whatever fits in the box ships anywhere in the United States for the same flat rate. Packages must weigh less than 70 pounds.
□ 21.3.2 Use Third Class Mail
If your letter weighs more than one ounce and you can wait two or three days more for it to arrive, you save.
□ 21.3.3 Mail Postcards
Cheaper than letters.
□ 21.3.4 Ship With Media Mail
Ship these items for less: books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes).
□ 21.3.5 Choose Certified Mail
If you need proof of delivery, certified costs less than registered.
□ 21.3.6 Avoid Overnight Deliveries
Plan ahead. If you wait until the last second, you absolutely, positively pay more.
□ 21.3.7 Use Postage Meters or Stamps.com
These services are cheaper when you mail large batches.
21.4 Save When Shipping Gifts
□ 21.4.1 Give Gift Codes
These ship for FREE because you email them.
□ 21.4.2 Buy Online and Ship Direct
Instruct the seller to ship the item directly to your recipient.
□ 21.4.3 Enlist Local Help
If a terrific gift for your out-of-state brother weighs a ton, mail his wife a check and ask her to buy it for you locally.
□ 21.4.4 Buy Presents Small and Light
Good things in small packages cost less to mail.
□ 21.4.5 Give Media
DVDs, books, and CDs all ship for less via media mail.
□ 21.4.6 Donate in Lieu of Gifting
A check in honor of your friend or family member costs much less to mail than a parcel (see 19.2.6).
21.5 Use FREE Shipping
□ 21.5.1 Find Free Shipping
As of this writing, Amazon ships for FREE on qualifying orders over $25. LL Bean ships everything for FREE except heavy freight. Find the policies of other retailers at FreeShipping.org.
□ 21.5.2 Consider In-Store Pickup
Some sites offer FREE delivery to your nearest store. Beware: this might increase your sales tax if the store is located in a higher tax district than your home. Run the numbers.