Last Updated on 10 months by Lee Meier
Looking for ideas to get free or cheap shipping supplies?
Maybe you’re just starting out selling, or thinking about starting. You may not have any shipping supplies yet.
The last thing you probably want to do is to drop a bunch of money on shipping supplies.
Or maybe you’re just looking for some cheap alternatives and some ways to save money.
For either case, I have some ideas for you that won’t break the bank! And some are even free!
(Affiliate link disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon Affiliates, which I may make a small percentage from at no cost to you to help keep this blog running.)
As a side note, if you are interested in the EXACT Reseller Supplies I Use, you can find that here:
1) FREE – Reuse Packaging Material You Receive
Did you know you can re-use boxes? As long as they are still in good condition (not smashed), you can use them again. You will just need to remove or cover any previous shipping barcodes. So next time you get a delivery you may want to start setting boxes aside if they are the size you need. You can also cut boxes down to size.
If you’re going to be sending anything breakable, also keep your eye out for bubble wrap or airpacks. They can be kind of expensive to buy so it’s nice to get a package with some. Just be sure to set some aside for when they are needed.
For polymailers, they can be reused as well as long as they are in good condition. Some are even made to be used twice! These will have two tear strips on them.
A friend queued me into this great tip: Save and reuse the large polymailers you get when you order FREE Shipping Supplies From USPS. Read on to learn about FREE USPS Supplies.
2) Neighbors, Family and Friends
If you’ve exhausted your own supply, or maybe you don’t get many deliveries, don’t forget about asking your neighbors, family and friends for free shipping supplies.
Chances are one of them gets lots of deliveries and would be happy to get rid of some boxes. They may even have some bubble wrap or some type of cushioning for you!
3) Craigslist, Buy Nothing, etc
Another place to look for free shipping supplies is online.
On Criagslist, just go to the free section. There are always interesting things. You can even post an ad looking for shipping supplies.
If you haven’t heard of the Buy Nothing Project, it is a hyper-local gifting community, usually through Facebook Groups. Simply put an ask out for boxes or other shipping supplies you need and you will likely get a response quickly.
I did this method when I needed a box and ran out of my own. The lady I picked up from had a garage full of broken down boxes. I was able to pick the size I needed and she was happy to get rid of it. A win for both of us!
4) FREE – USPS Shipping Supplies
The postal services offers lots of free boxes and envelopes. They of course need to be used with the shipping services they offer. They should not be used for anything else as misuse may be a violation of federal law.
Supplies can be ordered and sent right to your home or you can stop by your local post office to pick some up. The online store has a bigger variety than can be found locally. Here is the link to the USPS Postal Store.
These free supplies are the main way I save money on shipping – up to $1,200 every year! Between using these and using saved boxes, I actually never have to buy boxes. Some of the items I order on a regular basis include:
- Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope (unpadded) EP14F (great for clothes)
- Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope (unpadded) EP14L (longer and great for clothes)
- Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope EP14PE (great for shoes or anything that needs a little protection
- Priority Mail Regional Rate Box A2 (side loading) (great for coats and larger items.
- Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box (side loading) (great for coats and larger items)
- Priority Mail Regional Rate Box B2 (side loading) (great for very large items)
- Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box (great for very large items)
5) Dollar Store
The dollar store is a good place to get shipping supplies if you are just starting out. They will cost more per item as compared to buying in bulk online, but sometimes it’s easier to spend $1 on a 6-pack of envelopes compared to $10-15 for say 100 polymailers.
When I was first starting out, I started with the brown envelopes sold at the dollar store. I didn’t get many, but I only spent $1. (It works out to about 17 cents per envelope, still pretty cheap). Buy the time I had made a few sales, I was able to buy polymailers online in a larger quantity.
The brown envelopes I am referring to are these:
Just use a little packing tape to make sure these stay sealed during shipping.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into selling, the cheapest shipping materials come when you purchase in bulk.
Like I mentioned previously, Amazon is a great place to buy bubble wrap in bulk if you need it.
You can get polymailers very cheap on Amazon. The cheapest are just plain ones, which are okay. But, I like to splurge a little and get some cute mailers. It makes packaging items just a little bit more fun! Here’s some ideas for you:
When shopping you will want to compare the “per unit cost.” Simply divide the price by the number of bags.
I’ve put together an Ultimate Roundup of the Trendiest Poly Mailers for you here!
7) FREE – Stores You Frequent
Another idea for free shipping supplies is from stores you go to frequently. If you’ve exhausted your own supply of boxes and that from neighbors and friends, many stores are happy to give you their empty, used boxes.
Some ideas are: grocery stores, pet stores, craft stores, electronic stores. The ideas are really endless. Just ask to speak with the manager and you may have a regular place to pick up boxes from.
Don’t forget about eBay! I always like to price shop between Amazon and eBay. It is surprising the price difference between the two for some items.
eBay is where I have always found the cheapest polymailers. I have been purchasing through one seller for a while now. There are tons of cute print options.
You can get 500 bags for just $30! That’s 6 cents per bag! You can’t get much cheaper than that. The bags I buy are these.
You can read about these bags and the exact list of items I use here.
9) Free Supplies With eBay Store Subscription
If you have a basic eBay store subscription or higher, you will get a quarterly coupon for eBay-branded shipping supplies.
Make sure you use it because it is like free money!
If you don’t have a store and you are curious about selling on eBay you will want to read this article to find out 9 other perks of having an eBay store and how it can pay for itself.
This is not an affiliate link and I do not get anything for having you open a store. It is just the way that has worked for me to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and make almost $20,000 this last year. And I know that eBay can provide that for you to!
That’s why I’m offering everything you need to get started making money today. All it takes is signing up for my FREE 5-Day Reseller Bootcamp, where you can learn to make money from home through reselling. The course is even conveniently delivered straight to your inbox!
Just enter below to start making money today!
Thanks For Joining Me!
Thanks for joining me for 9 Places To Get Free or Cheap Shipping Supplies! Hope to see you in Reseller Bootcamp!
Oh, and if you’re new to selling on eBay, check out How To Sell On eBay, where I walk you through 8 easy steps to get started making money today.
P.S. Here’s some other things you will want to check out:
- NEW – Top 20 Sales from 2019!
- Looking for other items to thrift? Check out my on-going Thrift To Sell Series here where I feature easy-to-find thrift store clothes!
- Don’t forget to check out my Revenue & Expense Reports where I share my actual income with you!!
- Be sure to check out my How-To’s.
- Read about my crazy goal to pay off more than $100,000 in mortgage debt by reselling thrifted items. Find out how I’m currently doing on meeting that goal.