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2016-12-01

Tis the season to ship smart

Contributed

The holiday season can be hectic, and thanks to that sometimes frenetic pace, it can be easy to put things on the back burner. While it’s okay to put off some things until the holiday season has come and gone, shipping gifts to loved ones does not fall into that category. Shipping can be expensive, especially for last-minute shoppers who want to ensure their gifts arrive in time for the holidays. But the following are a handful of ways to ship smart and save both time and money.
• Ship directly to the recipient. Last-minute shoppers who are buying online can save money by shipping gifts directly to the recipient. While shipping directly to the recipient may seem less personal than sending a gift you wrapped yourself, many online retailers allow shoppers to send gift-wrapped items directly to another person. Just be sure to have the recipient’s correct address when choosing this option.
• Ship early. Waiting to ship all gifts at the same time may be more convenient, but it can prove more costly as well. If you typically finish your holiday shopping just a few days before Christmas, then waiting to ship everything will cost more money than shipping gifts as you buy them. The longer you wait to ship gifts, the more you can expect to pay if you expect those gifts to arrive on time. Shipping gifts as you buy them, especially if you get much of your shopping done early, can save you short-term or overnight shipping fees, which can be significant.
• Comparison shop. Much like you can save money by comparison shopping for holiday gifts, you can save by comparing shipping costs as well. Pack-and-ship companies compete for consumers’ business during the height of the holiday shipping season, so compare the costs between the various pack-and-ship companies, including the postal service, to see which offers the best deal.
• Insure the items you ship. The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the pack-and-ship industry. While the industry is often remarkably effective at delivering gifts intact and on time, items are sometimes lost or damaged. By insuring your packages, you’re ensuring you won’t be out of luck should your package be lost, damaged or stolen before it reaches its destination. HL16A468