Tuesday, December 24, 2013

how to be a thoughtful frugal hermit: mailing things from home the easy way

Anytime I learn about a way to make something easy that was once was a pain in the ass...I feel the need to sing it from the mountaintop! I felt that way about buying glasses online [Tangent: See copious tips and tricks here. ] and now I get that same euphoria of somehow outsmarting the "man" when I ship things.  I have cut the drudgery out of going to the post office and my life is forever changed.

You can thank Miss Laura over at Boo Bobby for inspiring this post...and for my brother who spent probably $60 and 7 rolls of Bounty paper towels (used as padding) to ship us our Christmas presents from California to Nashville.  [Tangent: I realize you all are throwing things at your screen saying "woah! Why are you telling me this now, Kimmie!?! It's a little late to ship things for Christmas and I've already spent the money and waited in line and yelled at a USPS employee." Well, bookmark it and keep it for next December. Better late than never.] There is a way to ship things on the cheap and it's entirely possible you can do it all without leaving your house.

When I lost my job last year and started Ebaying and Poshmarking like a fiend to make a little cash here and there, I learned A LOT of tricks....and I mean game-changing money-saving tricks. So I thought, in the spirit of giving, I would share them with you now [Tangent: Many of you will just be rolling your eyes and again throwing things at the screen because you already know this. BUT I DIDN'T! I had to learn through trial and error and a lot of unnecessary expenditures, so I really thought surely there were other people out there that needed this knowledge.] :


Step One: If you have to send something heavy a long distance, it can get pricey- so embrace the flat rate boxes at your post office. They will be your best friend. There is usually a display of packing boxes at your local post office to take FREE of charge. Find the ones marked FLAT RATE, and take them...take several, in fact, and stash them away in your closet. They will get used, trust.  [Tangent: If you have played a lot of Tetris in your day, you are good at strategically packing a box. You would be amazed at how much you can fit in the large flat rate box.]

Also, if you are really hermitting hardcore, you can recommend the post office deliver you flat rate boxes free of charge by ordering them here.  They will come right to your door and you pay nothing until you actually send them. Then you won't have to leave the house at all. No waiting in line!!!

Step Two: Once you get them jammed chock full, you can go to USPS.com and print a shipping label [Tangent: No you don't need sticky paper...just paper. I always just tape around the edges with clear packing tape.] Since they are flat rate you are charged anywhere from about $5-$16 to ship them  depending on the size you choose (and when you print the labels off yourself you save  10%). [Tangent: If you don't have a printer, you can always go to the post office and them will make a label for you and send it off, but that would entail you interacting with people and putting clothes on and I am trying to save you these valuable steps!]

Step Three: Likely these big stuffed full of goodies boxes will not fit in your mailbox, but no worries -you still won't have to leave the house to hunt down a big blue box. With a couple clicks, you can easily schedule a USPS pickup and your postman will grab it off your doorstep or any pre-determined spot that you assign on this page [Tangent: It only takes a matter of 2 minutes tops to make the arrangements and this is such a time-saver.] They are priority boxes so your addressee with get them in just a couple days. Everyone's happy! [Tangent: Except maybe the mailman, because he has to walk to your door! So be friendly on major holidays or just whenever. Leave him a $10 gift card in the mail every once in a while. ]

2. Paying more than $1 for supplies is for chumps!
 Alongside the Flat Rate Boxes, you can also get standard boxes and envelopes (bubble or non-bubble, whatever you fancy) if that is the route you wanna go. I have no idea why you would pay for these if they are free to take.

There is absolutely no need for fancy supplies. They are just gonna get ripped apart, because it is truly whats on the inside that counts. If you want a certain size or if someone like me has already ransacked the free packing materials at the Post Office, you can buy everything you need at the dollar store. They have packs of 2-4 bubble envelopes for $1, [Tangent: Insanity considering Staples or Office Depot sells them for $1.50 a piece!] as well as huge rolls of packing tape.

OR, to show you're environmental and a cheap ass, you can do as I do, and just hoard boxes and bubble wrap and packing peanuts from your online shopping escapades to reuse! [Tangent: And/or ask your loving boyfriend to find you boxes at work that are just gonna be tossed. It's good to know people in high places.] I've been known to package something in an old shoebox wrapped in Kroger paper bags; don't judge. Also,  plastic shopping bags and newspaper make excellent padding...and you're sure to have that around.

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