8 Ways to Save Money on Postage
Maybe we shouldn’t complain about the 44¢ it costs to send a first-class letter today. After all, the Pony Express charged $15 per ounce when they began the first mail service in 1860! But postage and shipping costs can still add up. And frugal moms look for ways to save in every area of life, so here are some tips to help you reduce your postage and mailing costs considerably.
1. Use the Forever stamp. Even when the price of postage goes up, you will only have paid the current rate. Consider Forever stamps an investment and buy as many as you can realistically afford.
2. Use email whenever possible. There are certain types of correspondence that should always be done through “snail mail,” but many others work just as well electronically.
Use the Post Office when a document must be signed, when the recipient needs the original, when there are attachments that can’t be included via email, or when the situation is more formal and etiquette requires a physical mailing. For most other types of communication, email is fine.
3. Pay bills in person if you’re nearby. Spending extra money on gas to drive a long distance to pay a bill can defeat your frugal purposes. But if, for instance, you pass the utility company every day anyway, drop in and pay your bill at the office instead of mailing it.
4. Pay bills online when you can. Many companies offer this service now at no additional cost. Paying bills online is quick and easy, and saves the cost and hassle of writing a check. Most sites will require you to register the first time you use their service, but after that it’s just a matter of logging in. And many sites will even securely store your banking information which really speeds up the bill-paying process in consecutive months.
5. Pay bills over the phone. If the company doesn’t offer online bill paying services, ask them if you can pay over the phone with a debit card. Again, it’s quick and easy and saves a stamp every month. Always ask if there is a fee for this service before you commit to the payment.
6. Send a gift card instead of a package. Shipping packages is especially expensive. For long distance relatives and friends to whom you mail gifts, opt for gift cards to national stores whenever possible. That way you can keep your postage cost to a first-class stamp on a card.
If you want to buy a specific item and you’re not sure it could be found locally, shop online and have it shipped directly to the recipient. Many online stores will even include a gift card free of charge with this service.
7. Avoid international shipping if at all possible. A friend of mine had some used books she wanted to donate to an orphanage in Kenya that had requested them. When she went to mail the package, she discovered it would cost over $40! That was more than four times the value of the literature she planned to send. Sadly, she was unable to send the books at that rate.
8. Buy stamps at the Post Office rather than printing them or buying them online. USPS.com charges $1 extra for every roll of stamps you purchase online. Obviously, it’s cheaper to buy them locally and save that fee.
The same goes for printing stamps with an online service. While the convenience of Stamps.com is great, it’s generally not worth the money for frugal moms. Even at their lowest rate (which they will only give you if you specifically ask), Stamps.com charges $7.99 a month for the privilege of using their postage-printing service. For most of us, that money can be better spent on something else.
While our families today don’t use as much postage as previous generations, thanks to many of the cost-saving strategies mentioned, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be able to fully eliminate the expense of mailing letters and packages. That’s why saving every penny we can is essential and these tips will help us do just that.