Online shopping with free shipping is yet another great way to save when you shop online. Shipping costs usually add anywhere from $3 to $20 to the average-sized online order. If you spend this kind of money on shipping, then you've pretty much wiped out any discount that you may have received by using a coupon, a coupon code, a cash back site, or other savings method. But don't stress, because in most cases, you don't need to pay for shipping. By using one of the techniques below, you will rarely pay for shipping.
There are several ways to avoid paying for shipping. Here's how:
1. Purchase from sites that offer Free Shipping
There are many sites that will ship for free with no minimum purchase. This means that you do not have to meet any minimum purchase requirement to get free shipping. There are also sites that offer merchandise from various vendors (like eBay, AliExpress...) that will let you check a box that indicates that you only want to see options from vendors offering "Free Shipping."
2. Purchase from sites that offer Free Shipping with a minimum purchase
The majority of online sites require a minimum purchase amount (like Amazon, Target...). For example: Free Shipping on purchases over $35. Most times, you'll probably meet the minimum, but here's what I do if I don't: (1) Add another item; (2) Shop elsewhere; or (3) If I am not in a hurry for an item, and I purchase from that particular vendor regularly, I will simply leave the item(s) in my cart/basket until I need to add something else to the cart, thereby meeting the minimum for free shipping.
3. Use a "Free Shipping" Coupon Code
Search Google (or your preferred browser) for a Free Shipping Coupon Code for that Vendor. If you locate one, enter it during the checkout process. Cashback sites like ebates are good for finding these types of coupon codes.
4. Purchase at certain times of the year/Seasons
There are certain times of the year (such as Christmas) that many stores will offer free shipping with no minimum purchase amount as an enticement to drive sales.
5. Purchase on Free Shipping Day
This is held once per year in mid-December, and many large and small vendors offer free shipping. In mid-December, you can visit FreeShippingDay.com to see which vendors are participating.
6. Use a Free Shipping Plan
Websites such as Amazon, offer free shipping as a part of a package of services or a plan that is made available to customers for a quarterly or annual fee. If you are a frequent customer of a particular merchant, than it may be wise for you to sign up for these types of plans. Amazon Prime even offers a 30-day Free Trial so you can get unlimited free 2-day shipping with no minimum size order, along with the other benefits of Amazon Prime.
7. Choose the Ship-to-Store Option
Even if online shopping with free shipping is not an option, many of the larger chain stores now offer the Ship-to-Store option; where-in you can have the item shipped to a store close to your home, and pick it up from there. For example: sometimes, your local store will not carry a particular item, but if you select the Ship-to-Store option, a franchise will ship the item to the store that you select, and you can pickup the item at your local store. Use ship-to-store and let the store handle getting merchandise that may be out-of-State or out of your area to a store near you. This saves you money!
8. It never hurts to Ask
If a vendor is not offering online shopping with free shipping and you're placing a large order, I say, pickup the phone and ask if they can give you free shipping. If the first person says "no," then pleasantly ask for a Manager or Supervisor. They have a more vested interest in helping the business to make money, and to please customers, so they're more likely to take a large order seriously. Never be afraid to ask! These people don't know you, they can't see you, and you'll never speak to them again. If they say "no" you are no worse off than you were moments before. Don't let the "no's" hurt you. It's a part of negotiating and saving money. Many times, they will say "yes."