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Friday, January 18, 2013

Saving Time and Money by Shipping from Home

Here's a quick money- and time-saving tip for your Friday:  if you have packages to ship, buy the postage online and save.

Many of you probably already know that taking care of some of the tasks that used to be done by postal employees means a savings for you.  If not, I urge you to check out the self-shipping options that the U.S. postal service has, at www.usps.gov.  Simply click on "ship a package," and the site will walk you through the process of buying postage and printing a label, which you can do on plain printer paper.  Just attach the label with shipping tape, and place the item in your mailbox for pickup.

Hell can now freeze over, because I'm about to say something nice about the government:  this system absolutely rocks.  The system wisely takes advantage of the fact that, these days, almost everyone has a credit card and a printer to buy and print their postage.  It is a rare, wise step on the part of the government that demonstrates that not everything needs to be done at a higher level or by an "official."  Sometimes, it is cheaper for everyone to let people do things for themselves.

I use this to ship the occasional item to clients or presents to relatives out of town.  It is so much quicker than going to the post office and standing in line like we used to, and it is even better than using the self-serve kiosk at the post office.  You do need a scale that will allow you to mail your package, but I have been using my vegetable scale with no problems.

For my most recent shipping task, I sent a 10 oz. box for $5.14, which saved me 21 cents over going to the post office.  That's a 3.9% cost saving and a saving of about a half an hour of standing in line, based on my local P.O.  It also saves me the gas for 3 miles of commute, although this isn't a factor in the warmer weather when I bike.

The Analysis
Fast:  The big benefit of this service is time saved.  I'll print shipping labels from the comfort of my home any day rather than bundle up and head out to stand in line.

Cheap:  As you might imagine, I won't turn down a 3.9% savings either, even if it is only 21 cents.

Good:  Getting more done more easily in your day is a sustainable plan!


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