Package Tracker: Is Free Shipping Really Worth It?


When you’re shopping online, you’re probably looking for free shipping. It’s easy to see why! If you’re ordering dozens of items online at a time, you’ll probably spend a fortune on shipping if you’re not careful.

However, are there times when you spend more money by trying to get free shipping than you would by just paying a few extra dollars on your order for regular shipping? Let’s take a closer look at this issue to see when free shipping is really worth it and when it isn’t.

Amazon Prime

The most common way most online shoppers get free shipping is by signing up for Amazon Prime. This premium subscription costs $15 per month, or $139 per year if you buy it in advance. That’s a lot of money to spend just for free shipping!

If you order enough items from Amazon that you actually save money by not spending anything on shipping, then this could be a good deal. However, if you only order one or two things each month, you’re spending way more on Amazon Prime than you would on the few extra bucks of shipping. 

There’s an intangible value here that you might be using, though. If you already use Amazon Prime Video or Music for your streaming entertainment, then you might still want to spend $15 each month to keep access to these services.

Bulk Discounts

The other major way that people get free shipping online is by buying a large enough order to qualify for a waived shipping fee. Most retailers offer this when you get above a certain order threshold. For example, you might get free shipping through an online retailer when you order $100 or more of their products.

However, it’s often difficult to just get to this value without going out of your way. If you’re spending upwards of $30 more just to qualify for free shipping, then you’re really spending more money than you would by just paying for shipping.

Pooling Your Order

If you want to secure free shipping without spending a ton of money at once, you could choose to pool your order with some friends or family. If everyone knows that they want to order items from a site, you could all go in together on an online order to get above the free shipping threshold. This would allow everyone to save money without buying more items than you intended to!