The USPS rates can get out of control. Flat rate shipping is $18 to APO/FPO locations, and that's not cheap. Try to ship by weight, and prices can range from $10 to well over $20. That can make it nearly impossible to send military care packages to your loved one abroad.
But fear not, because we're going to give you the secret that we use to get the CHEAPEST rates on military care packages, and it's called the "Regional Rate" system. Here's how it works:
USPS has two things that cost them money when shipping a package: weight and distance travelled. Normally, if you're not shipping to far-off lands, you're paying mostly for the weight of the package. But regional rate boxes allow you to get a discount for shipping closer distances.
"But wait!" you think. "I'm shipping to a military member who's deployed! I don't want to pay based on distances, because they're halfway around the world!"
Well, that's not quite how military mail works. You see, all USPS does is ship the mail to a military distribution center in the United States. After that, the military takes it to the specific unit. So as far as USPS is concerned, you're always shipping within the continental United States, so shipping regional rates can save you a ton of money.
How much? Regional rate boxes can be as low as $6 for each shipment, depending on the weight of the package, which is 1/3 the cost of shipping flat rate! It's a great deal.
So how do you use it? Follow our tutorial below, and we'll walk you through exactly how to do it, all without leaving your home:
How to Ship With Regional Rates
Step 1: Buy the boxes. This part is easy, and free. You can buy the "Regional Rate A" or "Regional Rate B" boxes on www.usps.com. They each come in two different variants. Usually, Regional Rate A is a little bit cheaper, but the boxes are a bit smaller. Pick the size that is best for you.
Step 2: Go to www.usps.com, and in the top task bar, click on "mail & ship" (It's the 2nd tab.)
Step 3: In the drop down menu, click "Click-N-Ship"
Step 4: Enter in the shipping and return addresses, and select that you are shipping by weight. You can weigh your package with any home scale, and simply round up to the nearest pound. It won't cost extra, (4 lb & 1 oz costs the same as a 5 lb package) and will give you a little wiggle room if your scale is a bit off.
Step 5: Scroll down until you see this "Select a service type" section. It won't let you click on available services and prices until you fill out all of your information correctly. Click on that big blue button. (If those check marks aren't next to all of the lines, it means you didn't fill something out, so go back up and fix it.)
Step 6: Once you click on that, a scrolling window like this will appear in its place. Scroll down and pick the regional rate with the box that you've ordered, either regional rate A or B.
Step 7: Click the box, and then print your label! You can either print it onto a piece of paper and tape it on the box, or onto a label that you can just slap on the box. After that, you can either schedule a pickup from USPS, or just drop it off at a USPS counter-- no waiting in line required.
That's all it takes to use regional rates. Once you do it once, you can save all of your information to make it easier (and still cheap!) the next time.
Anyone else have any other great ideas for saving money on shipping? Let us know below!