How to avoid paying for postage and packaging
One of the most infuriating parts of online shopping is having to pay for delivery, and most of us are no stranger to shopping elsewhere if delivery is an additional cost.
But before you close that tab, give some of these tips a go to get you your deliveries without the added delivery fees.
Top up your order with everyday essentials
Some shops only give free delivery if you spend above a threshold. This is often really annoying, especially when you’re just a few quid out.
Try to avoid websites which help you find random cheap items such as washers that you don’t need – you’re still paying extra when you do this and these items are likely to just end up in the bin.
Instead, keep a list of those everyday essentials you know you’ll need at some point, like stamps, batteries or hand soap – all of which can be bought at Amazon, Tesco, Ocado, and other major supermarket’s websites. When you’re falling short, just add some of these in.
Top up your order with returnable items
An alternative is to add items you know you don’t want with the intention of returning them. I’ve done this with John Lewis to get to the £50 threshold.
Since anything you buy online can be returned within 14 days of you receiving the goods, the shops have to refund you. The only exception is anything that has been customised or is perishable.
Watch out for return charges
It’s not just delivery where you could have to pay – more and more retailers will now charge you for returns.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll keep what you buy, especially if you are trying multiple sizes and styles, then it’s worth shopping around to compare return costs.
It might even be worth paying a little more if overall you know you’ll pay less to send the items back.
Sign up for a delivery pass free trial
A few stores will offer a free trial of a delivery pass, usually giving unlimited deliveries – or at least some money off.
However, be careful that this trial doesn’t become one you pay for afterwards if you don’t think it offers value. And even then, the idea behind this type of membership is to encourage you to keep shopping with them as opposed to shopping around – which might work out cheaper even if you have to pay for delivery.
Collect in store or at a locker
Another option is to order online and then collect in-store or at a locker, with this often done for free. Yes, this does mean you have to go to the shops, but at least you know what you are buying will be there when you arrive, and you’re much less likely to throw extra impulse items in the basket.
Plus,you’re able to check your purchase at the shop. So if you don’t like it or it doesn’t fit you can usually return it there and then – saving an extra trip.
Rather cheekily, some retailers still charge for click and collect, but it’s worth a go.
Get a free delivery code
This can be a bit more work, but some retailers often have a free delivery code. The best bet is to have a little Google and see what comes up. If you’re signed up to their mailing list, check if you have an email offering free delivery.
Be careful if you are using a cashback site, as you might find the cashback claim is rejected for combining offers. Be sure to check the terms and conditions.
There are also some browser extensions available that will notify you if they find a deal – Zoe in the team has had some good luck with PayPal’s Honey in the past.
You could also try asking for a free delivery code on live chat via the website and see if they can do something for you.
Or, put the items you want to buy in your basket, leave it a little while, and see if the retailer pops you an email to ask if you’re forgotten to check out — there’s sometimes a discount code or free delivery code to give you that extra push.
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Check other retailers
It’s also worth checking that the item isn’t for sale at another shop with free or cheaper delivery. Even if the item itself costs more, the total amount including delivery could well be less.