Saving on Postage

This month, I sent a few packages overseas and I noticed one interesting thing: I ended up paying the same price for two packages even if one was a lot bigger and heavier. What I have discovered is that Canada Post charges the same price for a package if it’s in the same weight and size category. If you go over by a few grams (a tiny fraction of an ounce), or a couple of centimeters (an inch), you will end up paying twice as much. A 500g packages costs $15.50, for example, and a 505g package $30.40. That is quite a hefty jump in price for less than an ounce (5 grams = 0.176 ounces, 2.5cm = 1 inch) .

A case in point, I paid $30.40 to send a package that weighed .906kg and the same price for a package that weighed .512 kg. If I had shaved off 12 grams off of the second package, it would have cost me $15.50. In other words, it would be possible for me to save quite a bit by maximizing the weight of my packages: better to wait and send one package that is close to the maximum weight for any given category, than two packages weighing slightly more than a given category.

How can I do this? This might be one of those cases where spending a bit of money can help me save a lot of money in the long run. Browsing on the Staples website, I found a digital electronic postal scale for $46.99.

postal_scale

I could, with this scale, weigh and measure my packages at home and calculate the cost using Canada Post’s online “Find a Rate” tool. This would allow me to calculate how much it will cost me to send a package before going to the post office. I could then maximize my weight-to-cost ratio and keep costs down. For example, if I had a scale, I could have saved close to $15 when mailing one of my packages this week.

If I save $15 per month by weighing packages before going to the post office, and if I send on average one package per month, this will in theory save me $180 over the course of the year, or more than three times the cost of the scale. At the very least, I should not have any unexpected surprises when I go to mail my packages.

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