If you're scrolling through hot deals this Cyber Monday week, don't forget that the deadline for sending holiday packages is only a few weeks out.
With recent postal delays, you don't want to delay shipping items this year.
Mason McCarty runs a shipping store, Safe Ship, and is enjoying this last calm before the storm.
"I will have a line out the door in the next couple of weeks," he said, "I will have 10 to 15 people in a line all day long."
He says the first thing you need to know is that prices are up on all services this year. "Pretty much down the line you are going to see a 5 to 10 percent increase," he said.
McCarty warns prices will be even higher the longer you wait. "If you are one of those that want to go Priority Mail," he said, "you need to get those out before the middle of December. It's not worth waiting until the last minute and counting on Priority shipping."
When it comes to shipping around the holidays, experts say there is very little wiggle room this year due to staffing shortages plus a higher demand for services.
Kate Hoots with Merchant Maverick says it is essential to pay attention to the holiday deadlines if you want your gifts to arrive on time.
"If you were planning a two-day FedEx package, for example, you can't always take it to the facility two days before," she said.
For FedEx Ground:
- December 14 is last day to ship.
After that, you'll need to rely on much pricier options like FedEx Express Saver, or FedEx Same Day.
US Postal Service deadlines
The US Postal Service, meantime, recommends:
- December 17 for Ground service.
- December 19 for Priority Mail.
- December 20 is the deadline using its 3-day Select service.
For UPS Ground, the deadline varies by location, so check with a local UPS store, or check the company's online calculator for an arrival date.
Bottom line, this year: the longer you wait, Hoots says, "More hassle, more time and more money. There's just no other way around it."
"You do not want to get stuck with packages not delivered for Christmas," she cautioned.
And remember, you can always send gifts directly from a store's website, often for free - so don't waste your money.
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