package-1512783_1280

Cheapest Way to Mail Packages?

package-1512783_1280UPDATE (11/21/16):  Today I discovered that Office Depot no longer uses UPS!  They now compare USPS and FedEx. FedEx is usually more expensive, but when I was there today there was a FedEx option that was cheaper for my (heavy and not small) package.  UPS Priority, using one of their boxes, is still probably the best way to go in general.  But when you go to Office Depot, you have the advantage of knowing for sure what your best option is between USPS and FedEx.

This will be a very brief post, but I find myself offering this suggestion to people regularly, so figured I might as well devote some space to it.  I don’t find myself needing to mail packages too often.  When the kids were younger, I did need to mail items for another business venture. In that case, hauling the kids to stand in line wasn’t happening, so I found the convenience of USPS.com and paying for  Priority Mail to be the best time and frustration saving option.

Now when I need to mail a package, I head to Office Depot.  First, I can buy any packaging I am lacking.  I usually show up ready to ship, though.  There, after I enter my shipping information into the computer, they will weigh and measure my package.  Then, they will compare the shipping costs of both USPS AND UPS. They show me a calendar that clearly outlines all the different shipping options and when they would be delivered.  That makes it SO EASY for me to decide which method I should choose, depending on how late I was in finally mailing the items and how much I want to spend.  They then print the label for me, attach it, and off it goes!  Oh yeah, then I have to pay for it.

PROS:

  • no lines.  I think I’ve had to wait for someone in front of me once.  This will obviously vary by location and how many people read my tip here!
  • No going to different locations to compare costs and/or guessing at which one will be cheaper.
  • If you participate in Office Depot’s rewards program, stamps and shipping used to count toward your total.  That helped me out. But that program is constantly changing, so that may no longer be the case.
  • When they tape my label on, my package gets a little extra reinforcement – bonus!

CONS:

  • There’s not someone manning the shipping station at all times.  So sometimes you have to wait for someone. But since there’s no line, it’s not much of a wait.  So my strategy has been to be proactive as I walk into the store.  Someone always greets me and I say, “I need to mail something!” so they’ll send someone over.  As I wait for them, I turn the computer around and start typing in my info (addresses, mostly).  It’s very intuitive and easy to do.
  • Sometimes you get someone new who isn’t too familiar with the system.  That can increase the time it takes.  I try to view it as my opportunity to teach them something new 😉
  • If you don’t have one in your area, this doesn’t help you!

Well, that was much longer than I expected.  Guess I had more to say about mailing packages than I ever imagined I would. Hope it helped!

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