MoneyMailCare packages, gifts, and items sold in online auctions all require shipping -; but among weights, boxes, overnight flights, and rising postal rates, getting a package from point A to B can become pricey.

As fuel and food costs strain Americans’ budgets, many people look to cut costs in unexpected places, and trimming shipping costs can free up extra cash. Here are some tips for Americans looking to save money on shipping:

– Consolidate packages. If your brother’s kids all share summer birthdays, why send gifts in June, July and August? Shop ahead, then send the gifts in one box to save on packaging and shipping costs.

– Plan ahead. Sometimes you must rush items overnight, but with non-emergency items, it’s better to choose non-priority domestic mail services. The holidays, for example, arrive at the same time every year, so send packages a week or two ahead of time. Trains and trucks, while slower than airplanes, also cost less.

– Consider what you’re shipping. When choosing what present to ship to your friend living overseas, you might want to consider an object’s heft before you swipe your credit card. Heavy objects cost more to ship.

– Look for free services. If a company offers free boxes, free pickup or delivery, or other deals, factor that into your overall shipping costs.

– Compare rates. Not all shipping carriers offer the same deals, so price shopping is never a bad idea. One company, Pak Mail (, which offers custom packaging and shipping services from over 400 locations nationwide, provides free shipping estimates. Pak Mail uses different carriers to ensure that its customers get great deals on international and domestic shipping, making saving money easy.