Shipping Smartly: 5 Frugal Tips To Save Money When Shopping Online
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How many times has this happened to you: you’re shopping online, with a budget, and find the perfect item just within that budget, only to notice the shipping is just way too much?

Don’t let shipping fees weigh you down. Here’s how to cut those fees down to size.

Note: Online shopping is extremely convenient but it can lead to impulsive shopping Buck The Trend: 5 Tips To Avoid Shopping Impulsively Online Buck The Trend: 5 Tips To Avoid Shopping Impulsively Online Are you an impulsive shopper? Do you throw away money on items you don’t really want or need? Here are some tips and tricks to help you regain control. Read More . Be careful of being sucked into the endless vortex of one-click purchases and spur-of-the-moment transactions!

Maximize Your Amazon Shopping

Despite the handful of alternatives to Amazon 5 Reliable Online Shopping Alternatives to Amazon 5 Reliable Online Shopping Alternatives to Amazon Amazon is the biggest player in the game of online retailers, but that doesn't mean you have to use them. Read More , the fact remains that Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world. For some, “Amazon” has become synonymous with online shopping just as “Google” is synonymous with online searching.

And while it is a popular service that everyone knows about, many people aren’t taking full advantage of Amazon’s offerings.

Get started with our guide to shopping on Amazon and become acquainted with the site’s main features. After that, you can explore some of our lesser-known Amazon tips and tricks Secrets Of The Amazon: 7 Useful Amazon Tips & Tricks Secrets Of The Amazon: 7 Useful Amazon Tips & Tricks Amazon is, without a doubt, one of the best and most popular places to shop online. It’s got there due to awesome features like Amazon Prime, Super Saver Shipping, the Wish List browser extension, the... Read More and learn how to get the best deals on Amazon Are You Taking Advantage Of All The Money Saving Deals On Amazon? Are You Taking Advantage Of All The Money Saving Deals On Amazon? I'm such a big fan of Amazon, and if you're someone who shops online then you have almost no choice but to be. You can get anything and everything on Amazon. It's trusted and reliable.... Read More .


What about Amazon’s free shipping? In most cases, Amazon will ship your order for free as long as your cart has at least $35 USD worth of products in it. Most people wait until they have a few big purchases to buy and then buy them all at once to meet the cut-off. But there’s another way.

Think of all the cheap household consumables that you’ve been meaning to replenish — e.g. paper towels, toilet paper, cotton swabs, non-perishable snacks, kitchen supplies, etc. — and add them to your cart until you hit the threshold.

These are known as “filler items” and there are a few free tools you can use to help “fill out” your Amazon cart when you’re short of the free shipping limit. CheapFiller is a well-known option, but SuperFillers and FillerItemFinder are helpful, too.

Search For Promos And Coupons

The Free Shipping Promotion is one of the most common promotions you’ll encounter. Ideally, the free shipping would automatically apply to your checkout without any effort on your part, but often you’ll need to enter some sort of code or coupon to unlock the promo for your purchase.

The next time you make a purchase — whether on Amazon or any other online retailer — take a moment before submitting your order to search for relevant promo codes and coupons. In your search engine of choice Pause Google: 8 Alternative Search Engines To Find What Google Can't Pause Google: 8 Alternative Search Engines To Find What Google Can't We probably know all the Google search tricks, but there are still things that Google can't tell us at first glance. Google's a Hercules, but we shouldn't be shortsighted not to spot the midgets. Yes,... Read More , type “<company> coupon codes” or something to that effect.

RetailMeNot is a great site where users can submit active promos on a per-store basis. Users can also rate each promo as successes or failures so you, the shopper, can know which promos are most likely to work. If you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a lot of savings.


There are two lesser-known ways to receive promos and discounts.

The first method is to try haggling with the support staff of whichever online retailer you’re shopping at. For best effect, you’ll want to dial their customer service line and ask for ways you can get discounts like free shipping. They’ll usually be happy to share a promo code with you in order to solidify a sale.

If you don’t like talking phone-to-phone with customer service, you could try Live Chat instead (if the retailer supports such a feature) or simple email. However, these may not be as effective as a direct call.

The other method is to wait at the last step of the checkout page. Many sites will detect your “cart abandonment” and send you a promotional email to clinch the sale. Not every site will do this, mind you, so don’t expect it to work reliably, but it is a treat when it does work.

Sites With Free International Shipping

Even though it might feel this way, free shipping isn’t always limited to those who are domestic to the United States. As Erez has pointed out in his piece on free international shipping 3 Interesting Shopping Websites Offering Free International Shipping 3 Interesting Shopping Websites Offering Free International Shipping For international shoppers, shipping is often a major pain: Items can be much cheaper on the Web than in your country, but once you factor in the shipping, so-called “killer” deals start looking much less... Read More , non-Americans can participate in the free shipping experience too.


Here are some of our favorites:

  • ASOS for clothing and apparel. Minimum $25.
  • Book Depository for books. No minimum.
  • StrawberryNET for cosmetics and fragrances. No minimum unless purchasing fragrances, in which case free shipping only applies if the cart also includes a skincare product.
  • DealExtreme for electronics, accessories, and gear. No minimum.

There’s no better way to save on shipping than to take advantage of free shipping offers, so consider using these sites when applicable.

Use Package Forwarding Services

But international shopping isn’t always that easy. What if the costs are prohibitive? Or worse, what if they don’t ship to your region at all?

Fortunately, as Kihara outlined in his post on package forwarding services How to Buy on and Get the Items Shipped Worldwide How to Buy on and Get the Items Shipped Worldwide Have missed some great Amazon deals because the items were not being shipped worldwide? With the right package forwarding service you can buy on Amazon and have packages delivered to you. Read More , there are ways to ship your purchases to the United States (to avoid international shipping costs) and have them forwarded to your location worldwide.


These services aren’t free, of course, but they can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. Plus, you gain the ability to purchase items that are normally only available to shipping destinations within the United States.

ShipIto is a great choice for this. With warehouses in California, Nevada, Oregon, and recently Austria, they’ll provide you an address to use while shopping on sites like Amazon, eBay, and more. They also provide the option to consolidate multiple packages into a single package before forwarding, which can save even more of your money.

Think Digital Instead

At the end of the day, when neither free nor discounted shipping are valid options, you could always go with the alternative: digital goods don’t need to be shipped.


Obviously, some products are easier than others to purchase in a digital format. Video games are great for this, particularly with the abundance of discount options in the form of Steam deals 5 Ways To Make Sure You Get The Best Deals On Steam Games 5 Ways To Make Sure You Get The Best Deals On Steam Games Steam is known for being super convenient for managing one’s video game library, and it’s also useful in a few other ways, but did you know that with a bit of effort you can obtain... Read More and GOG sales 5 Incredible Games For Under $6 You Can Play DRM Free From GOG 5 Incredible Games For Under $6 You Can Play DRM Free From GOG GOG, formerly known as Good Old Games, is a game distribution service that focuses on classics that are natively available on or have been ported to either Windows or Mac. Read More . The same is true for purchasing digital music $1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store $1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store The world of music is constantly changing. Vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s - and that means that we’ve gone from analog to digital. The best thing about digital music, in my opinion, is that... Read More .

But if you’re on the hunt for a gift, there are plenty of awesome digital gift ideas 7+ Last Minute Digital Gifts That Don’t Need Shipping 7+ Last Minute Digital Gifts That Don’t Need Shipping Haven't bought all your gifts, yet? Going digital may be your only hope for the present to arrive in time. Here are your last minute options. Read More that won’t burden you with shipping fees. Feeling more experimental? Forego the games and music in favor of a giftable online subscription Top 5 Online Subscriptions You Can Give As Gifts Top 5 Online Subscriptions You Can Give As Gifts With the ever increasing digitization of society, online subscriptions have become a valid form of gift-giving and they're often more fulfilling than a physical gift of same worth. Read More .

How do YOU save on shipping costs when shopping online? Share your best tips and tricks with us!

Image Credit: Amazon Mobile Via Shutterstock, Promo Coupon Via Shutterstock, Package Forwarding Via Shutterstock, International Shipping Via Shutterstock, Digital Download Via Shutterstock

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  1. eincar
    September 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

    it seems good , we like it , and we also like this company:

  2. Indiana Whitelegge
    June 30, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Nice post with great tips. Saving money is like a tough job for me but coupons sites like, and rebate sites work great.

    • Joel Lee
      July 4, 2016 at 2:06 am

      Thanks Indiana, I'll give those sites a look. :)

  3. Anonymous
    September 5, 2015 at 8:03 am

    YAY! I am gonna fill the filler items now, Never thought bout them before. Yeah I used to wait for a big order so I can save on shipping charges. But thanks to you now it will be easy and free.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2015 at 3:38 am

      You're welcome, Lisa. I hope those filler items help! :)

  4. Tony
    May 24, 2015 at 2:39 am

    I have been buying household stuff online from Amazon for years. The free shipping is great. The number of products is great. Generally I find that there is a significant cost savings with Amazon products relative to the grocery store.

  5. venkat
    December 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Great tips

  6. Willem
    December 5, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Great tips, you would be surprised how many store owners will just give you a couponcode for free shipping if you just straightforward ask for it. This is a shameless act of selfpromotion, but useful if you are not from the US and can't use Retailmenot. offers coupon codes currently in 22 different countries and counting. So for all the people from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and many other European and Asian countries it will help you out finding codes for discounts.

  7. Gina
    November 22, 2014 at 3:18 am

    These are great tips! You can also save some money and get cash back from shopping online. Just use Mr. Rebates!

  8. Ben
    October 12, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Thanks for these great tips! Perhaps mine will ad some value too for your readers ;-)
    I personally buy a lot on Amazon because I love there service and speed. Since a few months I use what's called the 'Fast Discount Finder' website every time I buy on Amazon to find the best discounts. Saved me a ton of money already. Check it out yourself It's easy and free. After putting in the item or product you're looking for the discount pages appear in a split second. Enjoy!