More people are shopping online than in brick-and-mortar stores this 2017 holiday season for the first time ever.
That means millions of packages still have to get to homes in the coming days. And that's why you need to pay close attention to two important shipping deadlines.
The two dates to remember
Face it: We've been spoiled by Amazon. We've grown accustomed to placing an order, getting free shipping and then watching Amazon's magical warehouses get the order to us in two days.
But that's about to end.
You'll get free shipping at more than 1,000 retailers, and they promise your order will arrive by Christmas.
Meantime, every shipping site has its own deadlines for ground shipping, after which prices can skyrocket. It's confusing.
But there are really only two dates you need to remember. Besides Friday, Dec. 15, the other date to remember is Monday, Dec. 18.
It's the last day for Amazon Standard Shipping -- free for Prime members -- and also for affordable three-day shipping from UPS. (You can get free two-day shipping from Amazon if you're a Prime member until Dec. 22, but that seems like it's cutting it pretty close.)
By Tuesday, Dec. 19 you'll have to pay for expedited shipping with most sellers, and if it costs you $15 or $20 to ship a $20 gift, that seems like a waste of money.
Sure, you can ship as late as Friday, Dec. 22, but you probably don't want to do that. You could pay as much as $50 to overnight a package.
Bottom line: If you are ordering something in the final week before Christmas, be sure to check shipping rates.
And set Dec. 15 and 18 as your two personal deadlines, so you don't waste your money.
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