The Cheapest Overnight Shipping Fees for Christmas

Photo (cc) by bikracer

If you’ve ever spent Dec. 23 standing in line to ship a last-minute Christmas gift, you know all about the crazy cost of sending packages by overnight mail. Sometimes the fees cost as much as the presents.

What you may not know is that there’s a huge difference in fees for the same service among the big three shippers — the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson compares prices for overnight shipping. When you’re done watching, read on for more details and more shipping tips.

Who’s cheapest?

We compared the cost of overnight shipping between New York and Los Angeles for the three largest shippers: UPS, the Postal Service and FedEx. Here are the results for an overnight letter, delivered by no later than the next afternoon:

  • The U.S. post office had the cheapest price — $19.95 for a flat-rate envelope.
  • FedEx ranked second, at $37.40 for the same package.
  • UPS came in a close third, at $37.57.

The results were similar for shipping a 5-pound box:

  • USPS charged $39.95.
  • FedEx charged a whopping $82.89 for the exact same box.
  • UPS came in even a bit more expensive, at $83.26.

We compare overnight shipping options every year and each year the Postal Service is the winner. By a lot.

The costs rise steeply, of course, when you’re shipping heavy packages, so take that into account when you’re doing your holiday shopping for items you’ll mail.

Even cheaper

USPS offers even cheaper rates if you go online, print your own label and request a pickup online. Cheapism.com’s survey of shipping costs included prices for 5-pound packages sent overnight from New York to Chicago. The results:

  • FedEx, $78.16.
  • UPS, $82.05.
  • At the post office, $48.10.
  • On USPS.com, $34.08

You can compare shipping prices at sites like Shipping Sidekick, ShipGooder and PostalAnnex.

Five more ways to save

There’s more you can do to cut your shipping costs for the holidays and throughout the year. Here are five tips:

  • Check out flat-rate shipping. USPS and FedEx offer it. Delivery takes one, two or three days, depending on where you’re sending to and from. (Shipping can be faster from some towns than others.) Buy the box and pay a flat price for everything you ship in it. Flat rate is a better deal if your package is heavy.
  • Give gift cards. Personalize them to make them unique. To keep shipping costs down, buy them in a brick-and-mortar store and mail them yourself. If you buy online, be sure to read the fine print about shipping and other charges.
  • Shop online stores that offer free shipping. L.L. Bean, Nordstrom, Zappos and Abe Books are a few companies offering free shipping with no minimum purchase. We compared free shipping deals recently.
  • Use Free Shipping Day. It’s a one-day promotional event — on Dec. 18 this year. Participating merchants offer free shipping with delivery guaranteed by Christmas Eve.
  • Mail your stuff now. Avoid the rush and the cost of overnight shipping by mailing gifts as soon as possible.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Save Money
11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Save Money

These are simple solutions for life’s irritations.

Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest
13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest

These Amazon products can help you finally catch 40 winks — or more.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.