cheapest way to ship packages

Cheapest Way To Ship Products in 2023

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Table Of Contents
  1. An Overview of the Cheapest Way To Ship
  2. Use the most economical shipping service available for your item
  3. Compare shipping cost between different shipper's
  4. Consider shipping options that don't require a box, like mailing envelopes
  5. Look for cheaper alternatives to standard courier services, such as USPS or FedEx.
  6. Don't forget to factor in insurance costs when estimating shipping expenses.
  7. Try bundling multiple items together to lower costs per item shipped
  8. Compare the cost of different shipping services online
  9. Choose the most economical option that matches your needs
  10. Research shipping discounts and deals offered by major shipping companies
  11. Make sure to select a service that offers tracking and insurance.
  12. Check for any fees associated with taxes, customs, and delivery times.
  13. Utilize flat-rate boxes or envelopes to keep costs low.
  14. Take advantage of free shipping options when available
  15. Compare carriers for the best deals on shipping
  16. Understand shipping zones
  17. Figure out what type of package is right for the item you're sending
  18. Choose an appropriate size box or envelope.
  19. Look into free packaging materials available from the carrier
  20. Use flat-rate shipping to save money if possible
  21. FAQs
  22. Conclusion

Shipping can be a complicated and costly endeavor if you’re not familiar with the shipping products. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for businesses—or anyone who needs to ship something—to save money on shipping costs. In this blog post, we will explore the cheapest ways to ship that could make it easier and less expensive for you to get your item where it needs to go without breaking your budget. With just a little knowledge about reliable carriers and affordable services, you’ll be able to send packages worldwide and secure the best value on delivery times, too!

An Overview of the Cheapest Way To Ship

Understanding the cheapest means of shipping requires a comprehensive knowledge of various factors that influence the cost. Domestic shipping, for instance, is generally more affordable than international shipping. The size, weight, and shape of the package also greatly contribute to the shipping costs. Large, heavy items are usually more expensive to ship than smaller, lighter ones.

Moreover, the speed of delivery can impact the price. Expedited shipping services, while providing quick delivery, tend to be costlier than standard delivery services. It’s also crucial to note the role of shipping carriers. Providers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS offer various shipping options with differing costs. USPS is often the go-to for small, lightweight packages, as it offers competitive rates for packages under 70 lbs.

FedEx and UPS, on the other hand, are generally more suitable for larger, heavier packages. They also offer reliable international shipping services. Bulk shipping is another strategy to cut shipping costs. Many carriers offer discounted rates for sending multiple packages at once, which can be particularly beneficial for businesses.

Lastly, online shipping platforms can provide access to discounted carrier rates, making it cheaper to ship packages. These platforms often have partnerships with major carriers and pass on the savings to the users. In conclusion, the cheapest way to ship is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It relies on a range of factors, including the package’s size, weight, destination, and the chosen carrier.

Use the most economical shipping service available for your item

To optimize your shipping costs, it’s crucial to utilize the most economical shipping service suitable for your goods. Each shipping provider offers a variety of services that cater to diverse shipping needs, and understanding these can help you make an informed decision. USPS, for instance, provides Media Mail, a cost-effective option for shipping educational materials, and First-Class Mail for lightweight packages.

FedEx’s Ground service is an economical choice for shipments that don’t require urgent delivery, while their SmartPost service combines the use of FedEx for the initial transportation and USPS for final delivery, often at a lower cost. UPS also offers Ground service for inexpensive, non-urgent deliveries. For international shipping, consider DHL eCommerce, a budget-friendly service that consolidates shipments to optimize costs.

Additionally, consider prepaid shipping if you frequently ship items of the same size and weight, as it can offer significant savings. Flat-rate shipping can be cost-effective for heavy items, as it charges a single rate regardless of weight. In contrast, dimensional weight pricing, which considers a package’s volume, can be a cheaper option for lightweight, large items.

Similarly, regional rate boxes, available through USPS, can be an economical choice for small, heavy items shipped within specific geographical areas. Online shipping platforms like Shippo, ShipStation, and ShippingEasy can also help you find the most economical shipping service for your package, as they negotiate rates with carriers and pass the discounts onto you.

Remember, the most economical shipping service isn’t necessarily the cheapest upfront. Take into account factors such as insurance, tracking, and reliability, which can save money in the long run by minimizing the risk of loss or damage. By understanding and comparing the services available, you can make the most economical choice for your shipping needs.

cheap shipping costs

Compare shipping cost between different shipper’s

To optimize your shipping expenses, it’s paramount to compare costs between various shipping providers. Each shipper offers different pricing structures, and comprehending these nuances can help you make a cost-effective choice. For instance, the USPS is often a go-to for small, lightweight packages, offering competitive rates for items up to 70 lbs.

However, for larger, heavier packages, FedEx and UPS often come into play. Both offer reliable ground services that are cost-effective for non-urgent deliveries. FedEx’s SmartPost service, which utilizes FedEx for initial transportation and USPS for final delivery, can be a cost-saving option.

It’s worth noting that the stated price of a shipping service isn’t the sole factor to consider. Many shippers offer discounted rates for bulk shipping, which can lead to substantial savings if you’re sending multiple packages at once. Prepaid shipping, flat-rate shipping, and dimensional weight pricing are other services that can offer cost advantages, depending on the size, weight, and number of items you’re shipping.

Also, bear in mind the role of online shipping platforms like Shippo, ShipStation, and ShippingEasy. These platforms negotiate rates with carriers and pass the discounts onto you, providing an easy way to compare costs and find the most economical service for your package.

Consider shipping options that don’t require a box, like mailing envelopes

Another strategy to save on shipping costs is to consider options that don’t necessitate the use of boxes, such as mailing envelopes or poly mailers. These lightweight options can significantly cut down on weight, allowing you to save on postage, particularly for small and flat items like documents, clothing, or jewelry.

For instance, USPS offers Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes, which provide the convenience of a single flat rate irrespective of the weight or where the package is going. When shipping with envelopes, it’s essential to ensure that your items are well-protected, particularly if they’re fragile.

You might consider padded envelopes or bubble mailers, which offer an added layer of protection for your goods. Ultimately, the goal is to select the right shipping material that provides adequate protection for your items while optimizing shipping costs.

Look for cheaper alternatives to standard courier services, such as USPS or FedEx.

Looking beyond standard courier services like USPS or FedEx can uncover more economical shipping alternatives. Regional shipping carriers, for instance, can offer lower rates, especially for local deliveries. These carriers, such as Spee-Dee Delivery in the Midwest or OnTrac on the West Coast, often provide comparable services at a fraction of the cost of national carriers.

Similarly, freight shipping services are a cost-effective choice for larger and heavier packages, as they consolidate shipments for enhanced efficiency. Another option is peer-to-peer courier services, like Roadie, which connect people with drivers already headed in the direction of your shipment, providing a more affordable and environmentally friendly solution. Lastly, consider hybrid services, such as FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost.

These services use national carriers for long-distance transportation and local postal services for final delivery, reducing costs. However, cheaper doesn’t always mean better. It’s crucial to consider factors such as delivery speed, tracking capabilities, and reliability when choosing a shipping service. A comprehensive approach to shipping can lead to substantial savings and more efficient logistics.

Don’t forget to factor in insurance costs when estimating shipping expenses.

While striving to find the most affordable shipping solution, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of insurance. Insurance costs should be factored into your shipping expenses estimation to ensure comprehensive financial protection.

Insurance coverage offers peace of mind by safeguarding your shipment against potential loss or damage during transit. This becomes especially important for high-value or fragile items. Although adding insurance to your shipping costs may increase your expenses in the short term, it can save you significant financial loss in the event of an unfortunate incident.

Moreover, different shipping providers offer varying insurance options at different rates, further emphasizing the need to include these costs in your shipping expenses calculation. For instance, USPS provides automatic insurance for Priority Mail and Express Mail up to a certain value. However, for high-value shipments, additional insurance may be needed.

Insurance costs can also be impacted by the nature of the goods being shipped. Fragile or high-risk items like electronics or artwork may require specialized insurance, leading to higher costs. It’s also essential to note that some items may not be insurable or may require additional paperwork to be insured.

Online platforms such as Shipsurance or InsureShip offer third-party shipping insurance, often at lower rates than carrier-provided insurance. These platforms can be particularly beneficial for businesses looking to insure a large number of shipments as they offer bulk discounts.

Try bundling multiple items together to lower costs per item shipped

Best ways to ship USPS prority shipping

Bundling presents a smart strategy for reducing per-item shipping costs, particularly when dealing with multiple items going to the same location. By combining several items into one package, you can optimize the use of space, reduce the number of packages being sent out, and consequently lower your overall shipping costs.

Bulk shipping, as this practice is commonly known, also offers the advantage of potentially qualifying for volume-based discounted rates offered by some shipping providers. However, it’s pivotal to ensure that items are securely packed and adequately protected to prevent damage during transit.

The cost savings from bundling must not compromise the safety of the goods. Additionally, it’s worth noting that while this approach can be cost-effective for light items, bundling heavy items may lead to higher costs due to weight-based pricing models. Therefore, the suitability of this strategy largely depends on the nature and weight of the items being shipped.

Compare the cost of different shipping services online

Utilizing online resources to compare the cost of different shipping services is a strategic approach to finding the most cost-effective solution. Websites such as ParcelMonkey, ShipGooder, and ShippingEasy allow users to compare prices from a variety of shipping providers in a matter of minutes.

Users input the package weight, dimensions, origin, and destination, and the website calculates and displays the best rates from various carriers. This not only saves time but also gives an unbiased comparison of rates, making it easier to find the most affordable option. However, it’s important to remember that the cheapest option might not always be the best fit for your needs.

Factors such as delivery speed, tracking services, insurance options, and carrier reliability should also be considered alongside cost. By taking a holistic approach, businesses and individuals can maximize value while minimizing shipping expenses.

Choose the most economical option that matches your needs

When determining the most cost-effective shipping method, the primary objective is to find a balance between your budget constraints and the specific requirements of your shipments. For example, if you’re shipping items that are not time-sensitive, you may want to opt for more affordable but slower ground transportation methods.

This approach often costs less than faster, express options yet still guarantees delivery. On the other hand, for smaller, lighter items, it may be worth considering a courier service that provides a flat-rate box. This service allows you to pay a fixed price for any items that can be accommodated within the specified box, regardless of their weight.

However, it’s essential to include the costs of add-on services, such as tracking and insurance, as these can significantly impact the final shipping costs. These additions ensure a higher level of security and peace of mind for your shipments, but they also add to the overall cost. The goal is to scrutinize every available option about the specific requirements and budgetary constraints of your shipping needs.

Research shipping discounts and deals offered by major shipping companies

Major shipping companies often offer numerous discounts and deals that can significantly reduce your shipping costs. For instance, UPS, a leading global shipping provider, offers a variety of discounts for small businesses through its UPS Small Business Program. This includes up to 28% off on UPS Ground shipments and up to 45% off on UPS International shipments.

FedEx, another global courier giant, has a ‘FedEx Advantage’ program that provides up to 29% off FedEx Express international, 25% off FedEx Express U.S., and up to 20% off FedEx Ground services.

Moreover, DHL, renowned for its international shipping services, provides volume-based discounts that can lead to substantial savings for businesses shipping large quantities. They also occasionally offer promotional deals, especially to new customers or during certain periods of the year.

USPS, though primarily a domestic service, offers ‘Commercial Plus Pricing’ for businesses that ship a high volume of products, leading to reduced shipping rates. It’s advisable to explore each of these options, examine the terms and conditions thoroughly, and calculate potential savings before deciding on the most cost-effective shipping provider.

Always remember that the most inexpensive service might not always be the best fit for your specific needs. The key is to find a balance between cost, reliability, delivery speed, and customer service.

Make sure to select a service that offers tracking and insurance.

Selecting a shipping service that provides both tracking and insurance features is a crucial consideration. The ability to track a shipment grants a higher degree of transparency, allowing you to keep tabs on the package’s journey and offer real-time updates to your customers. This level of openness fosters trust with your clients and equips you to respond promptly if any shipping irregularities occur.

Meanwhile, insurance equips you with a financial safety net in case of any shipping mishaps, such as lost or damaged goods. During transit, packages are susceptible to being mishandled, and replacing these items can lead to substantial costs. Thus, even though incorporating tracking and insurance might escalate the overall shipping expense, the security and financial protection they offer are worth the additional cost.

Therefore, it is advisable to prioritize shipping services that deliver reliable tracking solutions and extensive insurance coverage to ensure you receive maximum value for your investment.

Check for any fees associated with taxes, customs, and delivery times.

When shipping, especially internationally, it’s imperative to be aware of any additional fees that may be levied due to taxes, customs duties, and specific delivery times. Many shipping providers charge taxes as part of their service, and these are usually reflected in the upfront costs. However, unexpected customs charges can often come as a surprise and add a significant amount to your shipping expenses.

Moreover, delivery times can also impact the cost of shipping. Expedited or express deliveries often come with a premium price tag. Conversely, opting for slower, standard delivery times can help save on shipping costs. However, it’s crucial to balance this with your customer’s expectations and the nature of your goods; perishable items, for instance, may require faster shipping.

Therefore, when choosing a shipping service, always inquire about any potential extra charges for taxes, customs, and delivery times. Where possible, consider using shipping companies that offer transparent pricing structures to avoid any unexpected costs.

Utilize flat-rate boxes or envelopes to keep costs low.

Flat-rate boxes or envelopes present an economical shipping alternative, particularly beneficial for small businesses or individuals dispatching items of similar or lesser weight. Numerous shipping service providers, such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, and others, offer this service, enabling clients to pack as many items as fit into a standard-sized box or envelope for a pre-determined price.

The cost remains unchanged irrespective of the weight of the package or the shipping destination within the country, making it a cost-effective option, especially for heavier items. Additionally, these flat-rate options often include added features, such as package tracking, which further enhance their overall value.

However, it’s critical to ensure that the items being shipped adhere to the specified dimensions of the flat-rate box or envelope, as any deviations may incur supplementary costs. Ultimately, flat-rate boxes or envelopes provide a practical and straightforward strategy for maintaining manageable and predictable shipping costs.

Take advantage of free shipping options when available

Several carriers extend complimentary shipping services under certain criteria, presenting an opportune moment to lessen your logistic expenses significantly. The United States Postal Service (USPS), for example, extends a free pick-up service for parcels, erasing the extra costs and time associated with dropping off your consignments personally.

Furthermore, they supply priority mailboxes and envelopes at no additional charge, conveniently accessible either online or at the nearest USPS outlet. This service is a boon for businesses, facilitating seamless shipping without incurring additional charges. Other carriers, such as UPS and FedEx, also offer similar services, extending complimentary supplies for their express shipping amenities.

These materials, when used strategically, can result in substantial savings on shipping expenses. Additionally, some online commerce platforms have established alliances with these shipping giants. Shopify, for instance, collaborates with carriers to offer their merchants discounted, and sometimes even free, shipping options.

Exploring these opportunities and utilizing any free shipping services that fit your operational needs could potentially lead to significant savings. In business, every saved cost contributes towards your profit, making the use of free shipping services a strategic approach for cost-effective logistics management.

Compare carriers for the best deals on shipping

Investigate Multiple Carriers for Cost-Effective Shipping Solutions

Investigating and comparing the services provided by different carriers is an effective strategy for attaining considerable cost savings. This allows you to find the optimal balance between cost and service quality, thus ensuring maximum return on your investment.

USPS Priority Mail (USPS)

USPS often proves to be the most cost-effective option for shipping small, lightweight packages, especially for domestic shipments within the United States. They provide a range of mail classes, such as Media Mail and Priority Mail, to cater to a variety of shipping needs. Additionally, their free package pick-up service can lead to significant time and cost savings.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

UPS is an excellent option for shipping larger packages or if guaranteed overnight delivery is needed. They provide a broad range of services, including international delivery and freight shipping. While their rates may be higher than USPS for smaller packages, they often provide better value for larger and heavier packages.


FedEx is known for its reliable domestic and international express delivery services. Although their rates may be higher than USPS and sometimes UPS, they offer comprehensive tracking and guaranteed delivery dates. Thus, they are a solid option for urgent shipments.


DHL excels in international shipping, offering extensive coverage and competitive rates, particularly for shipments destined outside the United States. It’s important to note that the ‘cheapest way to ship’ doesn’t always mean the best value. Different carriers offer different strengths and services, so it’s essential to consider your specific needs and requirements when comparing carriers.

Understand shipping zones

Understanding shipping zones is imperative to finding the cheapest way to ship. Shipping zones are the geographical areas that carriers use to measure the distance a package travels from the point of origin to the destination. The zones are typically numbered from 1 to 8, and the higher the zone number, the further the package has to travel, which naturally increases the shipping cost.

Carriers, including USPS, FedEx, and UPS, all use shipping zones, but each determines and applies them differently. For instance, USPS bases its zones on the distance between its facilities, while UPS and FedEx use the shipper’s location as the point of origin. Therefore, understanding how these zones are calculated and factored into your shipping costs is essential to finding the most cost-effective shipping solution.

Remember, shipping zones do not follow a straightforward ‘distance equals cost’ equation. Other factors, such as package weight and size, delivery speed, and the specific service level (like overnight or two-day shipping), also impact the final cost. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of shipping zones allows you to make more informed shipping decisions, optimize your logistics, and ultimately, ship in the most economical manner possible.

Figure out what type of package is right for the item you’re sending

Make the Right Choice for Packaging

Choosing the most appropriate type of packaging is a crucial step toward ensuring the safe and economical delivery of your items. The packaging decision should take into account various factors, such as the dimensions, weight, and delicacy of the item you are dispatching.

Opt for Envelopes for Flat Items

When it comes to mailing documents, photographs or other flat items, padded or document envelopes are usually the best choice. They provide a compact, lightweight solution that can contribute significantly to reducing shipping costs.

Use Boxes for Heavier or Larger Items

In case you’re dispatching heavier or larger items, sturdy cardboard boxes should be your go-to choice. It’s essential that the box’s size closely matches the item’s size. Too much space can result in damage during transit, while an excessively large box can inflate your shipping costs unnecessarily. Ensure you use packing materials like bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or air pillows to fill any gaps and provide extra protection.

Consider Tubes for Flexible, Long Items

For items like posters, blueprints, or artwork that are susceptible to creases or bends, shipping tubes present a valuable solution. Shipping tubes not only protect your items but are typically more affordable to ship due to their distinctive shape.

Custom Packaging for Irregular or Fragile Items

For items that are irregularly shaped, delicate, or of high value, custom packaging may be the most suitable choice. This could include custom boxes, foam inserts, or even pallets for larger shipments. While custom packaging might require a higher initial investment, it can lead to long-term savings by minimizing the risk of damage during transportation.

Choose an appropriate size box or envelope.

Choosing an appropriate size box or envelope is essential in ensuring the safety of your items during transit, as well as in controlling shipping costs. As a general rule of thumb, your box or envelope should be just a bit larger than the item you’re shipping, allowing for adequate cushioning materials.

When dealing with documents or small, flat items, envelopes, particularly padded envelopes, are ideal as they provide sufficient protection while keeping the shipping weight minimal. For larger or heavier items, choose a sturdy box that can comfortably accommodate the item and additional padding.

Remember, an oversized box can lead to increased affordable shipping options costs due to volumetric weight pricing, while an undersized box can compromise the safety of your item. Balancing the need for safety and cost-efficiency is key in selecting the perfect box or envelope.

Look into free packaging materials available from the carrier

Many carriers provide free packaging materials, which can be a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to reduce their shipping expenses. USPS flat-rate boxes, for instance, offer a variety of free boxes and envelopes that are designed specifically for their services.

These materials can be picked up at local USPS first-class mail locations or ordered online and delivered directly to your door at no additional cost. FedEx and UPS also offer free supplies for express and ground shipments.

However, be aware that using these free materials may restrict you to the carrier’s services. While this is a great way to save on packaging costs, it’s crucial to calculate the overall cost, including the shipping rate, to ensure it’s truly the most economical option.

Use flat-rate shipping to save money if possible

Flat-rate shipping is a cost-effective option that can save you money, particularly when shipping heavier items over long distances. Carriers like USPS priority mail, FedEx, and UPS offer flat rate services where you pay a predetermined rate regardless of the package’s weight or size, as long as it fits within the carrier’s flat rate packaging.

This method can be advantageous, especially for businesses that regularly ship items of consistent size and weight. However, it’s important to note that while flat-rate shipping can often be cheaper, it’s not always the least expensive option. It’s crucial to compare flat rate prices with standard shipping rates based on the package’s weight, size, and destination.

In some instances, standard rates may be cheaper, especially for lightweight packages or shipments traveling short distances. Therefore, it’s advised to consider all your options and choose the one that provides the best value.


How can I determine the cheapest way to ship my items?

To determine the most cost-effective free shipping supplies method, you should consider factors such as shipping zones, package weight and size, delivery speed, and specific service levels. Understanding these elements will enable you to make informed decisions that can help you optimize your logistics and ultimately save on the cheapest shipping rates costs.

What type of packaging should I use for my items?

The most appropriate packaging depends on the type, size, and delicacy of the item you’re shipping. Envelopes are great for flat items like documents or photographs, while boxes provide better protection for heavier or larger objects.

Are there any free packaging materials available from carriers?

Yes, many carriers offer free packaging materials that can be picked up at their locations or ordered online. However, using these materials may limit your. Maintain steady shipping costs and options, so it’s important to compare costs and services to ensure it’s the most economical choice.

What is flat-rate shipping, and when should I use it?

Flat-rate shipping involves paying a predetermined rate regardless of the package’s weight or size as long as it fits within the carrier’s flat-rate packaging. This method can be cost-effective for shipping discounts on heavier items over long distances.

What are some other factors to consider when trying to save on shipping costs?

Other factors to consider include packaging materials, transit times, tracking options, and insurance coverage. It’s also important to regularly review your shipping practices and explore new solutions that may provide better value for your business.


I hope you have found this guide on the cheapest way to ship your items helpful. By taking into account various factors such as packaging materials, shipping options, and transit times, you can effectively reduce your shipping costs while ensuring the safety of your packages.

Remember to always compare prices and services from different carriers to find the best value for your business. With these tips in mind, you can streamline your shipping processes and save money in the long run.

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Cam Morales

Cam is the Founder & CEO of, Bix and EcomUpstart - he built two 7 figure businesses since he started his entrepreneurship journey in 2016. He now helps others launch ecommerce stores and other online businesses.

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