7 Tips to Ensure You Never Pay for Shipping

 

Happy Thursday, friends!!  Today, we welcome Kyle from the amazing money-saving site, Rather Be Shopping.  Kyle is the go-to guy if you’re looking to save money on purchases; the husband and father of three, with his wife’s help, keeps frugal consumers up-to-date on the latest online coupon codes, printable coupons and bargains out there in Internet land.  Kyle has offered to share his money-saving secrets with The Frugal Farmer readers twice a month – yea!!   Thanks, Kyle, and welcome!

First of all, I want to thank Laurie for allowing me the awesome opportunity to invade her blog a couple times a month. I hope to offer some advice on saving more of your hard-earned money as well as highlight some related coupons that you may be able to use. A little about me: I am married, have 3 young kids, and am a work-from-home dad. Since 2001, my wife and I have run a website called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which specializes in not only coupons, but also frugal living tips for families trying to get out of debt or stay ahead financially every month.

For my first post I wanted to delve into the topic of free shipping, or better yet, how to make sure you always get free shipping when shopping online. By now we all know that by shopping online you can often find some great deals and save substantial money if you do a little research. But sometimes we forget to look for a free shipping coupon, or are just not aware they readily exist. So with that said, here are 5 tips to ensure you’ll quickly and easily save money on shipping on everyday items as well as gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

1. Find a Free Shipping Coupon

This sounds incredibly obvious, but it amazes me how many online shoppers still don’t search for a free shipping coupon before finalizing their purchase. Next time you are checking out and you see the ‘Coupon Code’ box on the retailer’s website, don’t ignore it, instead open a separate browser window and do a quick Google search for “store name free shipping coupon” and see what is available. This is especially a great idea when doing shopping this holiday season when over 70% of retailers are expected to offer a free shipping discount of one variety or another.

2. Shop Smart by Combining Orders

Many online retailers offer free shipping but put a required minimum purchase on the order, typically $50, $75 or $100. So be sure to shop smart and buy only when the items you purchase meet the shipping requirement, even if this means putting off smaller purchases until your order total meets the free shipping threshold.

3. Use Social Media

According to a survey we did recently on Rather-Be-Shopping.com, 55% of retailers use their Facebook and Twitter accounts to hand out free shipping coupons. Be sure you are following your favorite stores on social media so you can quickly check their Facebook page or Twitter feed for free shipping coupons before you shop. Many stores also post other coupons like 15% or 20% off your online or in-store purchase so it’s always worth a look before you finalize your purchase.

4. ShopRunner 30-Day Trial

Have you heard of an online service called ShopRunner.com? It is a very cool service that gives you free 2-day shipping at close to 100 popular online retailers. The best part is they offer a free 30-day trial which gives you free 2-day shipping to every store they are affiliated with. I would recommend starting your free trial right before Black Friday/Cyber Monday in late November and take advantage of free shipping on all your Holiday shopping then cancel before your trial expires. If you absolutely love their service, and are an avid online shopper, you can continue your membership at $79 annually or $8.95 per month.

5. Try Ship-To-Store

Many of the big name brick & mortar stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lands’ End offer a feature called free ship-to-store which allows you to shop online and have the item delivered to your local store. Then the next time you are in the neighborhood stop by and pick up your item and thus avoid any shipping costs. This strategy works really well on large appliances and bulky items as shipping costs to your home are typically outrageously high.

6. Make Sure you’re Getting the Best Deal

It is always important to be aware that some online retailers will offer free shipping but then raise the price of their products to offset the shipping costs. So be sure to be diligent and shop around the Internet for the best price before you get sucked in by a free shipping promotion. All deals are not created equal so it’s important to be a smart consumer.

7. Ask “Live Chat” Operator

If you try the above tips and still can’t find a free shipping coupon, I have one last strategy for you. If the retailer you are shopping at has a ‘Live Chat’ feature, start up a chat session and politely ask the operator if he/she has a free shipping coupon to hand out. The conversation can go like this, “I really want to make this purchase today but I’m a little hung-up on the high shipping costs. Do you have a free shipping coupon I could take advantage of today, it would really help me out.” I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

There is nothing worse than paying for shipping only to stumble across a free shipping coupon a day or two later and kick yourself for not looking for one when you had the chance. Hopefully if you follow my tips that will never happen again.

To give you an idea of the coupons available, here is a sampling of some of the more popular free shipping offers on Rather-Be-Shopping.com right now. Thanks again Laurie!

 

About The Author: Kyle James operates Rather-Be-Shopping.com which lists free shipping coupons and printable in-store coupons to over 850 popular retailers. Updated daily with new offers.

26 comments

  1. These are all great tips Kyle! I HATE paying for shipping and will do what I can to avoid us having to pay it, as long as it makes financial sense to do so. We’ve started doing the ship to store thing a year or so ago to help get around paying for shipping.

  2. Alexa says:

    I hate to pay shipping as well. I always check for coupon codes before making an online purchase. If the shipping cost is too high I won’t buy from that site.

  3. Good tips. My wife has Amazon Prime (got it free as she was a student at the time). So we get free shipping for that. I have the Target RedCard which gives us free shipping. I like ship to store option…very convenient.

    • Amazon prime is great. When we had it, the one thing I had to be careful about was the ease of use. It is so darn easy, especially with their 1-click checkout, to order stuff on a whim which led to a little overspending on my part.

  4. I never pay for shipping and try to find the best possible way to avoid. Great tips Laurie, I prefer sometimes ship-to-store in my local area as it allows to grab the online discount and pick it up as per my convenience from the store.

  5. Awesome tips. I rarely ever pay for shipping now. The only time I do is when I’m forced to or if I’m getting such a good deal that it makes sense to pay for the shipping. Amazon and Target offer free shipping to certain customers (Prime for Amazon and Redcard holders for Target) which is where I do 90% of my online shopping anyways.

  6. Great tips! I always use promo codes before checkout and often get our orders shipped to store. But I guess so few do it where I am, no matter where I go, they always seem to be scrambling to find my package. Some of the big Canadian retailers, when they first went online years ago, started free shipping everywhere and less than a year later retracted that, because shipping hefty items like patio furniture was costing them dearly. But most of the electronics and a few other retailers now offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

  7. MonicaOnMoney says:

    These are awesome tips, I wasn’t aware of ShopRunner so I’ll check it out. Amazon Prime is another way to save on shipping with free 2 days shipping for members. Membership is free for students usually. Worth looking into.

  8. Mark Ross says:

    Whenever I shop online, I always buy in bulk, so that I can avail of the free shipping they offer and save myself money as well.
    I know every online stores will give you additional discounts whenever you cross a certain amount, usually its a big amount, so buying in bulk can really help you on this.

  9. I love LL Bean because shipping is super fast 2-3 days max and always free (and before it was “always free” I had the LL Bean card-well I still do, to make shipping free). I’m currently in a “fight” with Lands End for the worst shipping experience ever. I ordered several items including a bathing suit from lands end over 11 days ago and they hadn’t arrived by the time I left for my trip yesterday-very disappointing.

  10. Free shipping can be misleading though… make sure it’s not built into the price. Costco sold a router I wanted for significantly cheaper than Amazon and that product did incur a shipping charge. But even with shipping, it was still cheaper than buying from Amazon.

  11. Thomas says:

    We use the ship to store as much as possible or the wifey just finds some coupon that get us free shipping. With all the apps she has on her Iphone we rarely if every pay for shipping costs.

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