Money

Don’t Buy This: Never Pay Online Shipping Fees Again

Here are 50 retailers that offer free online shipping—plus tips on how to avoid these extras charges every time you shop.
June 11, 2018, 5:40pm
Illustration by Maggie Ahearn

Sometimes you just gotta have it. That cute pair of shoes you can’t seem to find anywhere except online—sometimes you just have to pull the trigger and tap "add to cart." But while online shopping may unearth a great find that looks like a bargain, you may actually end up paying more for your purchase in the form of the dreaded shipping fee.

These annoying charges can more than double the cost of an impulse buy in some cases. For example, a $7.50 bottle of scented room spray from Bath & Body Works costs an additional $9.99 with standard shipping—more than doubling the price. On the flip side, getting “free” shipping through Amazon Prime or other overpriced retailers can actually cost you more overall than if you took the time to find a lower-priced item elsewhere instead.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to saving on pesky shipping fees by avoiding the Amazon Prime trap, always checking the minimum purchase requirement before you buy, and shopping from the dozens of retailers that don’t charge a shipping fee:

Amazon Prime ≠ free shipping

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking your Amazon Prime membership actually gets you free shipping. In case you had any doubt, you are paying for shipping: $119 per year, to be exact. What’s more, you wind up overspending by only buying from the online shopping giant and failing to comparison shop in exchange for all that "free" shipping. “If you only have Amazon Prime for the free shipping it probably isn’t worth it,” said Kerri Anne Renzulli, a 28-year-old New Yorker said who says she buys just about everything online, including clothes, shoes, makeup and housewares.

How to get free shipping on your online purchases

To get free shipping you either need to find a store with no shipping fees (more on that below) or always make the minimum purchase—$35 at Target and $29 at Bed, Bath and Beyond for example. Other tricks include keeping an eye out for special deals via your favorite shops’ email list or instagram accounts.

And don’t forget to go to the store to pick up an item if it will eliminate the shipping fee. “Not only can you save by having it shipped to the store, you also won’t have to worry about your package being stolen if it is delivered while you are away from home or at work,” Renzulli said. Home Depot, Banana Republic, and Walmart all offer this option.

50 retailers with free shipping

By far the best way to get free shipping is by finding an online retailer that doesn’t charge one in the first place. Here’s a list of 50 retailers with free shipping with no minimum purchase required:

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