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6 Ways To Get Free Shipping for Holiday Gifts Without Paying Store Minimums

Anna Ostanina / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Anna Ostanina / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Free shipping is a big deal for a lot of consumers. According to Small Business Trends, citing a survey done by Amazon research tool Jungle Scout, 66% of shoppers expect it for every purchase they make — and 80% think it should be mandatory once purchases reach a certain dollar amount.

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This is especially prominent when it comes to holiday shopping trends. So much so that, in 2008, National Free Shipping Day became an annual celebration every December, scheduled this year for Dec. 14.

The Krazy Coupon Lady has released a list of 62 stores now carrying free shipping in time for the holidays. The list was published on Nov. 23 and shows that major retailers are offering this perk, including Walmart, Nordstrom and Target.

Most stores, however, still require a minimum purchase total in order to receive the benefit. Per its blog, Target requires a purchase of $35 or more (unless you are a RedCard carrying member, in which case shipping is free). Walmart requires a $35 or greater purchase to qualify for free shipping — though if you have a Walmart+ membership, every purchase comes with free shipping. Stores like Crate & Barrel have a “free shipping” section on their website to identify which items will net the perk.

But there are other ways to get around the store minimums and get free shipping this month.

Send the item directly to your gift recipient

Rather than paying to have the item shipped to you, unboxing it, rewrapping it and then again shipping it to your gift recipient, it’s best to send it right to them. As you’re checking out, use their address for the shipping section (just be sure to change the billing address to your own so your transaction goes through) and you can usually click a box that says “this is a gift” so that the receipt doesn’t show the price. Sometimes, retailers like Amazon allow you to add a personal greeting, too.

With USPS prices increasing by up to $6.50 this peak holiday season, as noted in a USPS press release, this is a great way to save some money — especially if the store is already offering free shipping.

Ship to store and pick up

During the pandemic, many stores started offering online orders with in-store pickups for people who didn’t want to actually do their shopping indoors but needed the items fast. That perk has stuck around years later, and has become a popular option for consumers.

Target is a big one for in-store shopping and Nordstrom is another retailer that offers a “ship to store” option. Free shipping is available for purchases if sent to a retail location in your area. If the store is convenient to get to, this is another great way to save on shipping fees. The Krazy Koupon lady lists 22 other chains allowing for this process, including Macy’s, Kohl’s and Apple.

Use trial periods to your advantage

Amazon Prime offers a 30-day free trial period for new members, as does Walmart+. Both memberships offer free shipping on every purchase. The 30-day trial period means you can enjoy free shipping for all of December — however, you’ll need to cancel by January in order to avoid being charged $12.95/month for Walmart+ and $14.99/month for Amazon Prime.

Check your memberships for perks

Per Fortune, UPS offers shipping discounts for both AAA and AARP members, and FedEx provides the same for USAA members.

American Express also has a partnership with ShopRunner wherein some AMEX cardholders can get a complimentary membership with ShopRunner, which provides shipping (this is normally a $79/annual fee). ShopRunner has agreements with 100-plus brands (like ProFlowers and the NFL Shop, for example), per The Motley Fool.

Do all your shopping at just a couple stores

For the stores that do have minimums to get free shipping, you might want to bulk shop for gift recipients there in order to meet the threshold and get everything shipped for free.

Since many major stores offer free shipping when spending around $35 (like Walmart and Target listed above) that’s a pretty easy number to reach — and their selection of gifts is pretty expansive, allowing you to find something for nearly everyone.

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Ask for free shipping

You never know unless you ask! Most online retailers now have convenient chat options embedded into the website where you can communicate with a brand representative. If you ask for free shopping they may offer it, especially if you make a case that a competitor is doing so and they fear you may “abandon cart.”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 6 Ways To Get Free Shipping for Holiday Gifts Without Paying Store Minimums