This post is was originally published on The Penny Hoarder

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Here’s a simple way to save money this holiday season: Avoid unnecessary shipping costs.

If you’re sending gifts to friends and family away from home, do it early. You still have plenty of time to get packages to your loved ones before Christmas without paying extra for expedited shipping.

To help you plan ahead, we’ve rounded up standard shipping deadlines for the major postal services.

Note: Deadlines are for delivery by Dec. 24 within the continental U.S., unless otherwise noted.

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Deadline

Ship by Dec. 14 via USPS Retail Ground or Media Mail for standard rates.

USPS Retail Ground is the most common service for gifts and merchandise. Prices are based on delivery distance and the weight of your package(s). You’ll use Media Mail for books, film and printed materials of several pages.

For holiday cards and other envelopes or lightweight packages you can mail with a regular First Class postage stamp, ship by Dec. 19.

For later deadlines and expedited shipping rates, visit

United Parcel Service (UPS) Shipping Deadline

Ship before Dec. 18 via UPS Ground or UPS 3 Day Select.

Because it lands on a Sunday this year, there will be no UPS deliveries on Christmas Eve.

While you could technically schedule a delivery for the day before Christmas Eve, this lands on a Saturday and packages are required to be processed and labeled for Saturday delivery.

The Saturday delivery includes a pricy fee and isn’t available in some regions, so your best bet is to make sure you ship by Dec. 18 for delivery by Friday, Dec. 22.

For later deadlines and expedited shipping rates, see the UPS 2017 Year-End Holiday Schedule.

FedEx Shipping Deadline

Ship by Dec. 18 via FedEx Ground or Home Delivery.

FedEx Ground delivers in one to five business days, depending on your location in the continental U.S. See this handy map for delivery times in your area.

FedEx Home Delivery offers faster delivery to residential addresses. Ship packages up to 70 pounds for delivery within one to five business days plus delivery on Dec. 23 at no additional cost.

For later deadlines and expedited shipping rates, visit

Happy Holidays, Penny Hoarders!

Dana Sitar ( is a senior writer/newsletter editor at The Penny Hoarder. Say hi and tell her a good joke on Twitter @danasitar.


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