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With the huge holiday shopping period ahead of us, saving has become a particularly hot topic; and with looming economic crisis and undefined gas prices, shipping is the first thing you probably want to save on. So let’s look at some useful (and what’s more free!) online tools that can help you manage and save on shipping your holiday presents.
1. How to find retailers offering free shipping coupons
FreeShipping.org lists all retailers offering free shipping coupons. You can browse coupons by category or by the retailer’s name and also spot soon-to-expire or newest codes. The site reports to have more than 850 retailers in various categories with some prominent retailers like Target and Toys R us.
2. How to find cheap items to qualify for free shipping on Amazon
Certain items at Amazon.com qualify for free shipping, but sometimes purchase fall short of the minimum $25 needed to receive the free shipping. Just enter the amount you need to get free shipping on Filleritem, to see a list of products that will get you the free shipping.. The site also offers a FireFox extension or Greasemonkey script that "will add a link to filleritem from Amazon.com when you are short of the free shipping limit".
3. How to do online shopping with free shipping
Pricegrabber has a separate section for products with free shipping option. You can browse the site by category or just use the keyword-based search to find items that can be shipped for free. What’s more you can compare these product prices and thus save twice: by paying nothing for shipping and choosing a cheaper option. You can also browse through the product reviews and ratings, set the price alerts and add products to your list to manage your holiday purchases.
4. How to estimate shipping charges for delivery
Shippingsidekick.com is a great web-based tool helping you avoid any shipping surprises. Fill in the online form: input "from" and "to" zip code, package size, declared value, etc and the site will estimate your shipping charges and compare them across various carriers. What’s more, the site offers some great informational resources, like shipping tips and advice, info on international shipping, etc. Currently only works within the US.
5. How to compare different courier charges
ShipGooder.com is another shipping cost calculator that will help you choose the best shipping option. With it you can compare prices of express shipping, ground shipping by various services and based on the route you specify. What’s more, you can see the route on map, export all shipping options to Excel or bookmark the page for further reference. Currently only works within the US.
6. How to let people bid for the the cheapest rates to ship for you
uShip is "an online shipping marketplace that connects customers with Transportation Service Providers to make shipping more affordable and efficient". Essentially, that’s a free (can be paid for urgent and featured listings) online auction where you create an account, post your shipment details, and let service providers bid for the privilege to ship your item. The listing takes no more than 10 minutes to post (if you are also creating an account); you can also choose bid-alerting methods (email message, phone call, text messages).