OT: Save some money shipping stuff USPS.

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Forum topic by JustJoe posted 07-19-2013 01:42 PM 2523 views 2 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1554 posts in 2032 days

07-19-2013 01:42 PM

I’ve seen a few LJers selling tools here and they mention when it fits in a priority box they can ship it for $12.35. Actually there are some great ways to save. I ship a lot of items and everything goes USPS for me. I’m also a Master Cheapskate and for a couple of years I worked as a mailman. Here is the way to get the cheapest USPS rates (and they blow away the UPS/FEDEX rates):

Buy the postage online through USPS. That’s it. Buy online. It takes 2 minutes to set up an account. You don’t need to be a business. All you need is an email address, a mailing address, and a credit card (you can also use paypal now) and a regular printer. No fancy sticker sheets, no expensive postal meter.

Once you have an account you just log in to the website, enter the address you are sending to and the type of flat-rate priority box (delivery confirmation comes included in the price but you can click to add insurance or signature confirmation). Then you are asked if you want to make another label, or checkout. Checkout is a matter of putting in the security code for your credit card (2 seconds) or going to the paypal site to pay (2 minutes). When it’s all done you just print out the label on regular paper and tape it to the box. You get an email confirmation and you get a copy of the label to save. I can go online and create/pay for a bunch of labels in less than 3 minutes. How long does it take you to make one by hand, and then how long would you be standing at the USPS counter to pay for it?

So what do you save? That $12.35 flat-rate box is now $11.30. The $16.85 box drops down to $15.30. All the other flat rate boxes and envelopes also have savings.

But wait, there’s more…
If you’ve got a scale accurate enough to read ounces, you can buy priority postage for regular non-flat rate boxes and the rates will sometimes beat parcel post. You can’t buy parcel post labels online though. And it doesn’t work for just stamps unless you have a special printer.

And wait, act now before midnight and there is even more!!!! If you aren’t like me, living out in the boonies with the coyotes, then once you’ve got your package label paid for you can skip the trip to the post office. Just go to the USPS site: and click on “Schedule a pickup”. Your carrier will drop off your mail the next day and take your package(s) with him. And he’ll leave a receipt saying how many he picked up. If you’re like me though then you’ll still have to drive to the post office, but it only takes 10 seconds at the counter for the clerk to scan the label and give you a receipt.

And it won’t save you money, but it will save you time: The USPS website has a place to buy supplies. You can order the flat-rate priority boxes there for FREE and they will deliver them to your house (singles or bundles of 5-20 at a time). Delivery takes about a week. I keep a stash of all five size boxes, and some padded envelopes stored in the closet.

And finally – the “large” flat-rate box is 12×12 and it isn’t all that large. But they make another “large” that is huge – it’s 23-11/16” x 11-3/4” x 3” and it holds long planes, braces, and a LOT of stuff. And there is a flat-rate padded envelope only available online. Like the ad says, if it fits it ships so you can take a non-breakable object and if you can cram it in the padded mailer and get it closed then just wrap it up in clear tape and you can ship a package for extra cheap.

Hope this helps someone save a few bucks. Remember every buck you DON’T give the post office, is a dollar you can spend on tools or lumber…

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

6 replies so far

View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

151 posts in 2685 days

#1 posted 07-19-2013 02:07 PM

Thanks – Good Information to know

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2571 days

#2 posted 07-19-2013 02:19 PM

Thank you for the friendly advice.

I prefer to support the private sector.

View poopiekat's profile


4354 posts in 3728 days

#3 posted 07-19-2013 03:47 PM

Additionally, USPS is THE only way to go when shipping from the US to Canada.
The “Private Sector” stands at the door with their hand out, to collect bogus customs charges and broker’s fees. It can easily triple the expense of shipping over what the USPS rates would be. FedEx and UPS is an instant deal-breaker for me.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1933 days

#4 posted 07-19-2013 05:46 PM


Well said.

Free Trade, No. it sure ain’t

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3764 days

#5 posted 07-19-2013 05:56 PM

Thanks for the info.

-- Tom D

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3642 days

#6 posted 07-19-2013 06:00 PM

good info.

BUT – do you homework, and compare prices per package/destination . sometimes fedex/UPS is cheaper than USPS (shocking I know…)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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