cheapest way to ship within the US

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Odd question, I know. But someone out here must have dealt with this before.

I am looking to ship a large package of general stuff (clothes, books, etc) within the US. Looks like USPS can do parcel post for $40. Anything better out there?
Thank you!!!

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For the books (and other media like dvds, cds, records, vhs) 70 lbs and under you can use USPS Media Mail which is cheaper than the regular USPS mail.

*edit* Not sure how much the media you have weighs but it should be drastically cheaper to ship those media mail just based on the prices page (http://www.usps.com/prices/welcome.htm):
Parcel Post® 2 - 8 days From $4.90 Prices based on weight and distance
Media Mail® 2 - 8 days From $2.38 Prices based on weight (content restrictions apply)

Generally, USPS Priority (purchased online at a discount) for light stuff (say under 5lb or so), and UPS for heavy stuff (say, over 5lb) - preferably with an eBay account associated to your Paypal account, used to purchase UPS shipping labels, to net a discount. Link.

the USPS flat rate boxes are great for heavy stuff if it fits into the box... For heavy items if they do not fit into a USPS flat rate box, ship UPS ground.

FedEx Ground is often more economical than UPS.

All three major carriers have websites which provide the exact cost to ship a package of a particular weight and dimensions.

If it qualifies for Media Mail, that beats anything.
If it fits in a Priority Mail flat rate box, that usually beats anything else.
(Not all Priority Mail boxes are flat rate boxes.)

Otherwise use FedEx Ground, but charge it to your own FedEx account. If you have a major credit card, you can open a FedEx account at their web site in about two minutes. They have two rates: retail and list. List is 15% to 25% less than retail. You pay list if you charge it to a FedEx account, no matter where you drop off the box. You can ship using your account at any Kinkos or FedEx service center (with or without a preprinted label). If you print out your own shipping label, you can also drop off at Officemax and some independent shipping stores (a few independent shipping stores add their own service fee). You don't need to know the exact weight to print out your own shipping label, just underestimate the weight and they will adjust it.

If I have a combination of stuff some of which qualifies for Media Mail and some of which doesn't, I have usually found it's cheaper just to combine it in one box and send it FedEx Ground. This isn't always true, but has almost always been true for me.

Thanks so much for all the response. I wonder why the red? I realized it was an odd question but we discuss even bonuses as low as $25 so thought this would be fair game. Based on this feedback, I am going to look into Fedex options for sure. Thanks again!!

Greyhound for heavy stuff.

learningtime said: Thanks so much for all the response. I wonder why the red? I realized it was an odd question but we discuss even bonuses as low as $25 so thought this would be fair game. Based on this feedback, I am going to look into Fedex options for sure. Thanks again!!

I have given you green. This is a legitimate question IMHO, and the information people are adding is an useful addition to the FWF knowledge base.

In addition to USPS, UPS, and FedEx, another point to consider is carry-on and checked-in luggage, or if you are driving, to drive with the stuff. Or if you have other stuff that you will need to get a mover for, then just use the mover for everything.

The best method depends on the distance involved, the amount of stuff, and the value of the stuff. eg. keep all educational/financial documents, correspondence about new job, stuff related to buying or selling house, or renting new house, etc with yourself. keep valuable electronics (laptop etc) with yourself.

if you are shipping, do not pack useless stuff with stuff you will need urgently. stuff you will need soon should be shipped such that it reaches just about when you get there. the rest -- which should be the bulk -- should be shipped with the cheapest and slowest option. don't forget to make sure you have all the tracking numbers.

also carefully look into whether the stuff is really needed. moving is a great time to cull stuff that you will never need. old books, old furniture, etc etc etc. give away as much as you can do without. the less material stuff you lug around in life, the happier you will be. it will also be easier to find the important stuff the less unimportant stuff you have.

don't forget to visit every store where you might have a tab (or library etc) and make sure all debts are paid. if you have any financial or other accounts that you will never use ever again, close them. make sure landlord knows where to mail the security deposit refund.

Anakin

scrouds said: Greyhound for heavy stuff.

great point. I mentioned checked-in and carry-on luggage or driving, but if you have cheap bus options like greyhound or chinatown bus, make use of it.

a $300 upright roller suitcase from Samsonite is what I recommend. It makes it real easy to lug around 50 lbs or more easily.

I had some valuable stuff (including some books -- books are heavy) that I did not trust movers with, and did not want to risk loss or damage in shipping. I was able to single-handedly transport 150lbs in one flight that I would have taken anyway. 50 lbs each in two checked-in suitcases, and 50 lbs more in a smaller carry on. You can buy belts specially made for this purpose that let you chain the 3 suitcases so that you can pull one and have the other two follow it. This lets one human being travel comfortably with 3 50lb suitcases controlled with one hand, leaving the other hand free to hold boarding passes etc.

Later I went back with some family members [for a trip we would have done anyway], and came back with several more suitcases full of stuff.

I still had to use movers for furniture-type big items, but I made sure movers or shippers did not have any valuable/irreplaceable stuff [books, laptops, research data, etc].

Anakin

PS: these "books" were irreplaceable to me, because they were research publications containing papers I had written. They have some sentimental value to me. These books cannot be bought in bookstores, and re-ordering from the publisher is, when possible, very expensive.

lastgaspjr said: If it qualifies for Media Mail, that beats anything.
If it fits in a Priority Mail flat rate box, that usually beats anything else.
(Not all Priority Mail boxes are flat rate boxes.)

Otherwise use FedEx Ground, but charge it to your own FedEx account. If you have a major credit card, you can open a FedEx account at their web site in about two minutes. They have two rates: retail and list. List is 15% to 25% less than retail. You pay list if you charge it to a FedEx account, no matter where you drop off the box. You can ship using your account at any Kinkos or FedEx service center (with or without a preprinted label). If you print out your own shipping label, you can also drop off at Officemax and some independent shipping stores (a few independent shipping stores add their own service fee). You don't need to know the exact weight to print out your own shipping label, just underestimate the weight and they will adjust it.

If I have a combination of stuff some of which qualifies for Media Mail and some of which doesn't, I have usually found it's cheaper just to combine it in one box and send it FedEx Ground. This isn't always true, but has almost always been true for me.




green for mentioning the benefit of fedex account. I have used fedex many times and always paid retail.


Anakin

anakinskywalker said: I have given you green. This is a legitimate question IMHO, and the information people are adding is an useful addition to the FWF knowledge base.

1. There is no FW "knowledge base". This thread will probably not appear in FW search results after a couple of months. That has been my experience with some other threads. Apparently an FW member/visitor has to ask the mods not to delete a thread from the search results if that member/visitor deems it useful to keep around in the search results for longer than a short while.

2. I have given the OP red. If he or she knows enough about the USA to know what USPS is, he or she surely understands that there are shippers such as FedEx, UPS, the airlines, moving companies, etc. A simplistic question like this, which is mainly asking that other people do his/her research for free and report back on their findings, would be shot down in the Travel forum. I'm quite suprised it was so warmly greeted here in Finance.

3. This is not an "odd question", and it's been asked several times before on Fatwallet. I remember contributing to at least 3 such threads. Normally a question with this topic about finding a good deal on shipping stuff is moved to the "Deal Discussion" forum since it's not exactly a Finance forum type of question.

Although these threads have been removed from the Fatwallet site's search results, I found one via the external search engine of Yahoo:
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/deal-discussion/914811/. This particular thread is about moving household belongings, but one of the options presented was shipping stuff cross-country, so there is useful advice within the thread.

...You might also find quite a lot of info on the various methods of shipping available in the US on FW's auction sales forum.

I was very intrigued by the idea of opening a FedEx account to save an additional 15-25% on FedEx Ground's already low shipping charges.

However, when I googled "fedex account credit card", I discovered two caveats concerning unexpected charges.

First, that FedEx may bill your account for rural delivery surcharges and/or dimensional weight. Although legitimate, these charges might be avoided by paying cash at the retail counter.

Second, that your account may be billed for packages you didn't send, either via fraud or accidental transposition of the account number digits. Does your FedEx acct number appear on the waybill or preprinted labels? If so, that's tantamount to writing your credit card number on the outside of the box!

Despite these (hopefully rare) caveats, the account may still be quite worthwhile, so I appreciate the tip and have given greens where appropriate.

dugggg said: I was very intrigued by the idea of opening a FedEx account to save an additional 15-25% on FedEx Ground's already low shipping charges.

However, when I googled "fedex account credit card", I discovered two caveats concerning unexpected charges.

First, that FedEx may bill your account for rural delivery surcharges and/or dimensional weight. Although legitimate, these charges might be avoided by paying cash at the retail counter.

Second, that your account may be billed for packages you didn't send, either via fraud or accidental transposition of the account number digits. Does your FedEx acct number appear on the waybill or preprinted labels? If so, that's tantamount to writing your credit card number on the outside of the box!

Despite these (hopefully rare) caveats, the account may still be quite worthwhile, so I appreciate the tip and have given greens where appropriate.
I don't know how you would avoid the rural delivery surcharge. As soon as the clerk types in the destination zip code, that should get into the rate. If you are paying cash, the clerk also measures your box and if he types that into the computer, the dim weight is automatically calculated. But often, the clerk might not check the "residential" box and you might get a freebie on that. But that's a mixed blessing, because that means your box won't get delivered on Saturday. Before I got my account, I had idiot clerks who didn't check the residential box on a shipment I was hoping would get delivered on Saturday and it got delayed to Monday. (If you don't know, FedEx Ground delivers to residences Tuesday through Saturday, except some rural areas. It delivers to businesses Monday through Friday.)

All in all, I would rather print my own labels rather than depending on the clerk at the FedEx office to type it in right. If I type the address wrong, I have no one but myself to blame.

No, your account number doesn't get printed on any labels. They stopped printing it out years ago. When you don't have a printed label for ground shipments, you have to fill out a form at the office and write your account number on it. The clerk then types it into the computer to generate a printed label. One time, I had a clerk at a Kinkos then also stick a copy of the hand-written form onto the box that had my account number on it, but I was mailing the box home to myself so I didn't raise a stink.

On the other hand, when you fill out an airbill by hand for an express shipment to drop into a box (ground shipments can't be left in the drop boxes) or to give to a driver, you put the airbill into a sleeve with the account number on it. They are supposed to remove the copies where your account number is visible, but most of the time they don't. This is only a problem if you fill out airbills by hand rather than generating one on your printer.

Even if you have an account number, you can always pay cash if you think you'll get away with something. But I think the discounts more than cover the occasional rural surcharge.

Thanks for all your suggestions, icluding UPS, Fedex and Greyhound. I am looking into them. I don't really want to travel, have to send this stuff to someone who just relocated elsewhere. I have used FedEx in the past but never for ground shipping and never realized I could get a discount by setting up an account (always presumed it would be volume-business users).

anakinskywalker said: learningtime said: Thanks so much for all the response. I wonder why the red? I realized it was an odd question but we discuss even bonuses as low as $25 so thought this would be fair game. Based on this feedback, I am going to look into Fedex options for sure. Thanks again!!

I have given you green. This is a legitimate question IMHO, and the information people are adding is an useful addition to the FWF knowledge base.

In addition to USPS, UPS, and FedEx, another point to consider is carry-on and checked-in luggage, or if you are driving, to drive with the stuff. Or if you have other stuff that you will need to get a mover for, then just use the mover for everything.

The best method depends on the distance involved, the amount of stuff, and the value of the stuff. eg. keep all educational/financial documents, correspondence about new job, stuff related to buying or selling house, or renting new house, etc with yourself. keep valuable electronics (laptop etc) with yourself.

if you are shipping, do not pack useless stuff with stuff you will need urgently. stuff you will need soon should be shipped such that it reaches just about when you get there. the rest -- which should be the bulk -- should be shipped with the cheapest and slowest option. don't forget to make sure you have all the tracking numbers.

also carefully look into whether the stuff is really needed. moving is a great time to cull stuff that you will never need. old books, old furniture, etc etc etc. give away as much as you can do without. the less material stuff you lug around in life, the happier you will be. it will also be easier to find the important stuff the less unimportant stuff you have.

don't forget to visit every store where you might have a tab (or library etc) and make sure all debts are paid. if you have any financial or other accounts that you will never use ever again, close them. make sure landlord knows where to mail the security deposit refund.

Anakin


Thank you!!!

Just beware USPS priority mail flat rate boxes have weight limit too. More so shipping to, say, Canada with those flat rate boxes. The limit is lower than domestic. There were a few times I found out, shipping with regular priority mail, by weight, getting the online discount, were cheaper than those flat rate boxes.

why did you originally post this in FW Finance?

Honest answer, that's what occurred to me. We have tons of discussion going on over there on insurance (the never ending debate on term v. whole), $25 Pass card, how to buy a used car, c-section v. natural birth, etc. So I posted it there. I know better now.

if you're employed, you can try shipping it from your office if they're willing to ship personal items. my employer and my wife's employer will ship personal stuff and charge us the corporate rate which is heavily discounted from the consumer rate. i think the corporate rate was about 60-70% cheaper when i had to ship stuff.



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