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The 6 Cheapest Ways To Ship A Package with USPS

9 min read

Shipping costs are an expense for any business that is hard to get around. And even worse: as your store grows, you’ll probably find yourself spending more and more on it! Eventually, you come to two options: keep spending an arm and a leg on shipping, or figure out a strategy for keeping shipping costs low.

Luckily, you don’t have to be at the mercy of your carrier—if you know how to ship smart! In this blog post, we’ll walk you through some strategies for reducing shipping costs with one of our most popular carriers, USPS. Read on to find the cheapest ways to ship that work, no matter what you sell.

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Use Lighter Packaging When Sending With First-Class Mail

The cost of shipping varies depending not only on the destination of the package but also its weight. You might already know that. But did you know that in some cases carriers round up on a package’s weight?

When looking for the cheapest shipping method, sellers often choose First-Class Mail via USPS for light-weight shipments. This option has different price ranges for parcels of over 4 oz, 8oz, or 12 oz. The weight is rounded up to the next biggest rank. So, if your parcel is 5 oz., it’ll be shipped for the price of 8 oz. parcel.

To save on shipping with First-Class Mail via USPS, use light packaging. For example, poly mailers instead of boxes:

Image: Amazon

If you sell fragile products, use cushioned shipping rolls:

Image: Amazon

This tip will help you save some hard earned cents on each shipment. The difference may seem not significant, but if you’re selling at a decent clip, it all adds up really quick. Don’t believe us? Calculate your monthly shipping costs. Now take 25 cents off each shipment and try it again.

Use Free Shipping Supplies

When you ship with USPS, you can stock up on free shipping supplies to save money on packaging.

Apart from boxes, envelopes, and pouches, you can order other handy things such as “Fragile” labels. Stick one to your parcel to increase the chances of getting it to a customer intact, thereby preventing refunds for broken items.

If you use your own packaging materials, you can order free labels to mark your packages. For example, if you ship with Priority Mail, use a special label to help postal workers identify your package as urgent.

Use Regional Rate Boxes A and B for Heavy Items

If you need to send a dense package a short distance, you can save with the USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate. That way, the package’s rates are based on the distance traveled. Note: this method requires the use of USPS-branded packaging (boxes A and B).

Box A allows you to ship a maximum of 15 pounds for domestic orders and a maximum of 10 pounds for international orders.

With Box B, you can ship a maximum of 20 pounds for both domestic and international orders. Both boxes come in different sizes, so you have several options to choose from.

This option can be the cheapest way to send a package that is heavy but small. Think of dumbbells, for example. The heavier your package, the more you save.

Check out this video for more tips on shipping with Regional Rate Boxes A and B:


Ship Boxes with Flat Rate Envelopes

A flat rate is a fixed rate of payment (as in, one that stays the same no matter what you’re shipping). It’s good for saving on costs as it is, and sometimes it can be the point blank cheapest way to ship a package, but we’ve got more tricks up our sleeves than just that.

What if you need an extra protection layer for your package but want to save on shipping? Here’s a hack for you: pack your product into a box and put the box inside a flat rate envelope (try a padded one for even more protection!)

You can use your own box, or order a free one from USPS. Stumped? Try out a Small Flat Rate Box. It snugly fits most USPS flat rate envelopes:

Image: video by Lindey Glenn

Obviously, this tip won’t work for every product, but if your item fits into a box and an envelope, you can send it flat rate and save some money. As the saying goes: if it fits, it ships!

Use Padded Flat Rate Envelopes

USPS offers a lot of flat rate packages—from small envelopes to large boxes. But the Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope has really caught our attention. It’s lined with bubble padding and thick enough to protect your product, no matter what it is (well, reasonably speaking).

That means you can ship relatively large items with padded envelopes, as long as they fit. This could be a great option for things like clothes, books, or wooden art pieces.

This video shows off how padded envelopes are flexible enough to fit bigger products:

Learn more: 6 Things You Can Ship with USPS Padded Envelopes to Save Money

Buy Discounted Shipping Labels via Ecwid

Tips and tricks for saving on supplies and optimizing packaging are great. But what if you could actually pay less overall to ship than you do by stopping into your local post office?

If you run an Ecwid store, you can buy discounted shipping labels right in your Control Panel. These offer the cheapest shipping rates—lower than retail rates at the post office!

Not only will printing your own labels save you on shipping costs, but they’ll also save you time. Buy a label, print it, stick it on your package and drop it off at your local post office, no need to wait in a line. You can even skip going to a post office (and add saving on gas to your list)—just request a home pickup and a postal worker will grab your package on their regular route.

International shipping costs are usually the highest, but with Ecwid, international shipping becomes affordable shipping, as you can buy discounted labels for international shipments too.

Here’s how to buy discounted shipping labels with Ecwid.

Learn more: Print Discounted Shipping Labels at Home with Ecwid

Start Saving on Shipping

We hope these tips for cheap shipping have been helpful so far—just remember: they may not work for every situation or location. We’re presenting you with a number of options so you can figure out which ones work best for you.

If you’re looking for more resources for optimizing your shipping, the Ecwid Blog has plenty of articles, videos, and podcasts on the topic. For example:

Have any other tips or tricks on the cheapest shipping for a small business?


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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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