One of the reasons that many people hold back from making online purchases  is the cost of shipping. What’s the point of saving $5 on a purchase when shipping will cost you $7?
The good news, though, is that free shipping is becoming easier to come by. Indeed, I rarely pay for shipping anymore. If you want free shipping on your online orders, here are 4 strategies you can follow:
Your first stop should be FreeShipping.org . This web site provides information on stores that offer free shipping, or have promo codes. During the holiday season, the web site is known for its spear-heading Free Shipping Day, which is a day that many companies offer free shipping and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. For 2012, Free Shipping Day is December 17.
If you want to know what companies are offering free shipping deals, no matter the time of the year, this is a great resource.
2. Rebate Web Sites
A number of shopping rebate web sites can help you find promos for free shipping, as well as help you earn points to help you avoid paying shipping charges. At the very least, cash back rebate programs, from sites like Ebates , provide you with enough cash back to offset shipping costs. With the right program, you can save money, and receive free shipping.
3. Minimum Orders
If you have a largish order, you can get free shipping by choosing to buy a minimum amount of merchandise. A minimum order, depending on the site, might be as little as $25 or as much as $150. Find out whether or not you can get a break on shipping with a minimum order, and then plan your shopping to take advantage of it. If you go this route, you will need to make sure that you make large orders, rather than making a lot of small orders.
4. Ship to the Local Store
Many retailers offer free shipping to local stores. You can order an item from Walmart or Best Buy, and have it shipped to your local store for free. As long as you willing to pick it up, you can save on shipping. This works best if the brick and mortar store in town doesn’t have what you are looking for, but you can find it online.
5. Join a Program
Another option is to join a program with the web site. I’m a member of Amazon Prime. Technically, of course, I pay shipping, since there is an annual fee. However, since I use Amazon quite a bit for video streaming, as well as for shopping, it works for me. And it’s more convenient than needing to always wait until I meet the minimum for Super Saver shipping. Plus my items come faster, since the free shipping is two-day shipping.
There are other programs out there that offer similar benefits, and you don’t have to pay a fee for all of them. Look around to see what your options are, and determine whether or not there is a program to join that will result in free shipping for your items.
With the right planning, you really can save money on your purchases over all.
(Photo: Thriving Ink )