Unless you’re able and willing to hand-deliver Christmas presents to everyone on your list, it may seem postage is a necessary expense. It can add up if you have friends and family out of town. Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid spending anything on postage:
1. Check out companies that offer free shipping. This is more common than you’d think, especially around Christmas. There may be a minimum purchase you have to make, but not necessarily. L.L. Bean, for example, charges no shipping for a short time before Christmas. (Google “free shipping” to find lots more offers.) Just enter the other person’s street address on the order form instead of your own. Most companies, when shipping a gift this way, will put in a gift receipt that shows no price but can be used to make a return. They may even gift-wrap the item for you, for a little more money.
2. Go digital. Buy and send your friends eBooks, or anything else that can be delivered by email or a download link. If you’re not sure what they’d like, send a digital gift certificate – lots of online businesses sell these. This is not only postage-free, it’s close to instant.
3. Redeem some points. Rewards programs that ship or courier items to your home, like Airmiles, do charge you shipping for heavier ones. But it’s not a problem with things like gift cards, which can travel in an envelope. If you have them ship gift cards directly to your friends, you won’t even have to spend the price of a stamp.
Bonus: All this can be done online. So something else you won’t have to spend is time in a crowded mall.