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Ships in the Night

Ships in the Night
by Gary Woods

Have you shipped anything lately? Dang, it's expensive. Whether you use FedEx, DHL, UPS or the good ol' United States Postal Service it's expensive to move stuff around. Ideally you'd like to shop around a little bit to figure out who has the least expensive way of getting your stuff where you want it to go but who has an extra afternoon to go from place to place and stand in line.

There is a cool service however that allows you to figure out the best way to go. The site is Shipping Sidekick and will quickly provide you with rates for all the major carriers. Unlike some other sites Shipping Sidekick takes its rates straight from the carriers and in real time. The best part is that the company recently dropped its subscription fee and now offers its service for free.

Another site you might want to check out is a little-known service called eShipper which offers discounted shipping that can save you some serious coin.

Something I was surprised to find out researching this article was that the U.S. Postal Service offers free envelopes, boxes, and others supplies which it will deliver to your door at no charge. You can also schedule no-cost package pickups. And if you pay for your postage online you'll pay about 11 percent less than you would at the counter.

A couple of final tips, ship to a business if you can, some carriers charge more for home delivery and don't waste money buying boxes. Google "cardboard recycling center" with your zip code and you'll find a ton of free boxes for the taking.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc