When Paying For Shipping is Worth It

shipping costs, paying for shipping, shipping fees

The holiday season is the best time of the year to score free shipping for online orders. Retailers increasingly offer free ship to store and even free shipping to your home. For stores that don’t blatantly offer it on their websites, coupon codes can sometimes be found with a little internet searching. Free shipping offers are great for my online shopping challenge, as shipping costs can add a significant amount to the cost of an item.Shipping_pic

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A new computer desk is on his Christmas list, as he’s currently using the one I bought for my laptop. Santa bringing him a new desk would be a present for both of us as I’m currently making due with a table that’s too high for my laptop station. I was looking at desks from online retailers that were offering free shipping, and bookmarked several that I thought he’d like. When I summoned him from his room, he gave me the thumbs down on all of them.

A few minutes after he went back to his gaming lair, he told me that he found exactly what he wanted from IKEA. He showed me the desk, and it was a reasonable price, well within what I wanted to spend. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a way to get free shipping, and it was going to cost me $41 to have it shipped to me.

There is an IKEA about 80 miles away from me that I could bounce up to on an afternoon, and pick up the desk which I would call and have ready for me at the customer service desk. Technically this would violate my online shopping challenge, but I’d do it to save $41. But then I got to thinking, how much would it really save me?

It would be 160 miles round trip, and with my van getting about 20 MPG the cost of gas would be about $20 (8 gallons * $2.50 per gallon). Drive time and store time combined would take a minimum of three hours of my time. For three hours of my time, I would save $21.

I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I filled out my address info, and credit card number to order the desk. With a push of the submit button, I had purchased my first online Christmas present of 2014. Shopping online is very convenient, and many times you can get free shipping. But even if you can’t, sometimes it’s still worth paying the price.

Have you ever had a situation where paying for shipping was worth it even though you could have easily gone and picked up the item at the store? How are you coming with your Christmas gift shopping?

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I’ve made that choice more than once. I just got a new microwave and I could have had it delivered to the store or shipped to the house. Way more convenient to have it shipped here, even though the store was only 10 minutes away. For some reason I just can’t reconcile having my stuff sent to a store where I have to get cleaned up, dressed, and burn through my gas when someone else can deliver it to my door.

  • Absolutely, the time and the costs are often barriers to where avoiding shipping costs just doesn’t make sense. It sounds like you definitely crossed that threshold and made the wise decision. Good work.

  • @Mark – that’s certainly something that people don’t think about…since it’s not money out of their pocket at that moment in time. I’m a little late in responding to these comments, but I hope you’ve started your shopping by now….time is getting short!

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