Shopping online can be a very convenient way to find great deals on items you want or need. However, shipping costs can add up quickly. If you can find ways to avoid having to pay shipping fees, you'll really be able to maximize your savings and stretch your dollar the furthest.
Join Amazon Prime
If you are a frequent Amazon shopper, the cost of an Amazon Prime membership may more than offset the free shipping benefits you get as a member. For Prime members, two-day shipping is free on most items. Depending on your location, you may even be able to get free one-day or same-day delivery on some products. An Amazon Prime membership costs just under $100 per year or about $13 per month.
In addition to free shipping, members also receive access to Prime Video at no additional charge, so you can consider a portion of the fee to be a part of your overall entertainment budget.
Seek Out Stores With Free Shipping
With retailers scrambling to remain competitive with the increasing popularity of online shopping, it is becoming more common for stores to offer free shipping to customers. Some offer free shipping with a minimum purchase level. For example, Walmart and Target have started offering free shipping on many items when you purchase at least $35 worth of qualifying merchandise.
Some stores even offer no-cost shipping without requiring a minimum purchase. Examples include Wayfair and Zappos. See BradsDeals.com for a list of almost 60 stores that offer free shipping with no minimum order and even more that provide complimentary shipping for customers who meet a minimum order threshold.
Set Up Recurrent Delivery
If you find yourself reordering the same item over and over, you may be able to find an automatic reorder opportunity that provides free shipping. For example, Petco offers free shipping for customers who set up repeat delivery orders for pet food. The Vitamin Shoppe also offers free shipping for customers who participate in their Spark Auto-Delivery program. This can be a good option for any product that you tend to use up and replace at regular intervals.
Pool Your Order With Friends
If you want to purchase something from an online store that has a fairly steep minimum requirement to qualify for free shipping, check with your friends and family members to see if they might want to combine their order with yours. While your order might not be large enough to qualify for free shipping on its own, when you pair up with someone else (or multiple people), you just might be able to exceed the limit. The result will be savings for you and the others who combine their purchases with yours.
Use Store Credit and Loyalty Programs
Some stores offer free shipping as a benefit to customers who use their store-branded credit cards or who earn status in their loyalty programs. For example, Macy's credit card holders who achieve gold or platinum status based on purchasing levels qualify for free shipping without a minimum purchase requirement. As another example, Navyist Card members receive free shipping when they use their card to purchase from Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, or Athleta.
Look for Shipping Coupons Online
With so many retailers offering online coupons, it's not surprising that there's a website dedicated specifically to sharing coupon codes for free shipping. Before you decide where to shop online, visit FreeShipping.org to find out what offers your favorite stores have available. Many of the published offers are specific to free shipping, but you'll also find codes for other types of savings opportunities on the site as well.
A Word of Caution
Don't let the excitement of finding a free shipping offer cause you to overpay. Watch prices carefully in addition to looking for ways to avoid paying shipping charges. If the total cost of the product at a retailer where you can get free shipping is actually higher than the cost of the product plus shipping at another, then it would make sense to go ahead and pay the shipping fee. Make sure that you don't end up paying extra just to be able to take advantage of free shipping.