How to Mail your Package as Cheaply as Possible

Participation in this organization means you will be using the postal service at some point.  When that time comes, and you wish to send a package to another member, or you wish to receive a package, you may be worried about how much shipping will cost.  If you’re not careful, the shipping cost can become too much to justify shipping a "free" item.

Here are some ways to do it in the least expensive manner.  

(Those who wish their packages to be a little more “cared for” in transit may wish to ship in a padded envelope or box, but these ideas listed below will help those who don’t care how the item is shipped, or if it gets bumped around a bit.)

***The Postage Price Calculator from USPS is very helpful in estimating the cost of your package.***

It is recommended to use Paypal for the exchange of money, since it’s fast, reliable and safer than other methods.  If you use Paypal, you have two options:

  1. You can send money and classify it as “goods or services.”  You will be protected by Paypal’s buyer protection program this way.  The person receiving the money will have to pay a fee by Paypal (fees can be calculated here)
  2. You can send money and classify it as “family or friends.”  There are no Paypal fees this way.  However, we here at HSCFFS advise you not to do this except for true "family and friends" - it is actually against Paypal's policies (see section 4.6 "No Surcharges" here).  Although members are not technically "selling" anything, there is an exchange of money that Paypal has a right to receive a small portion of, since we are using their helpful system, and they deserve the few cents it takes to use it, don'tcha think?  Besides - it's safer to send money as "goods and services" or to receive it via an official Paypal invoice.  Paypal will not offer any protection for the giver or the recipient if money is sent via "friends and family."

If the donator and the recipient both agree that the package be mailed as cheaply as possible, here are helpful suggestions:
  1. You can wrap a book in plastic wrap, then in paper, taping any edges or loose spots with packing tape well.  The plastic wrap protects the book from any water damages.  The paper provides a place to write the address, and to place postage stickers.  Another option is to use a cereal box turned inside out and reinforced with packing tape.  Another person recommended using plastic grocery bags, then brown wrapping paper (rolls bought at the dollar store).
  2. US Postal Service Media Mail is usually the cheapest route, for shipping books, CD's, DVD's.  However, it takes longer, up to 4-6 weeks in some cases.  See below for a helpful infographic.
  3. Take your package to a US Post Office, instead of a postal or shipping store.  Or simply print postage from your printer by using an online service, and placing it in your mailbox for the mailman/woman to pick up for you.  There are often extra fees tacked on at postal/shipping stores, making a package more expensive to mail.

Information found at

Liability Statement:  All information shared in this document and within the group are simply friendly suggestions, and by using this group you are responsible for your own actions and repercussions.  The moderator(s) are not liable for anything that may happen, such as a deal going bad, or packages getting lost or damaged in the mail, trouble with Paypal, or whatever.  Just sayin'.