When is Shipping Worth It?

First off, let's talk free shipping. I absolutely adore the concept of free shipping. When I lived in USA, I did not buy from any online store unless that purchase came with free shipping. I also maintained an Amazon Prime subscription which ensured that with a flat annual fee, I got a year's worth of 2-day shipping on items sold by Amazon. Believe me, I got quadruple value from that subscription just from ordering groceries, baby supplies and family gifts online.

Cue 2011 when I moved to Canada. One of the things that I considered a bummer was the dearth of online shopping options compared to what I had going on Stateside. Plus the options that existed usually had a minimum purchase value to qualify for free shipping that was higher than what I would like. I've had to revisit my personal policy of only making online purchases that come with free shipping. I've paid for shipping a couple of times in the last couple of years. Sometimes it was just worth it.

Situations When Shipping is Worth The Extra Expense

1) When you're ordering the golden fleece aka something you've spent months or years searching for 
I've owned a Nordic Ware Microwave Egg Boiler for 5+ years and that little baby has served me well. I've used it at the very least twice a week since the day it was bought and considering it cost all of $10 back then, the return on investment for me has been amazing. I've been terrified of the day when that little piece of white magic will give up the ghost. That day came last month.

Prior to last month, I'd spent over 2 years looking to buy a backup eggboiler in case the one I had got damaged. I spent hours scouring stores in Calgary and online looking for a replacement. No dice! Just when I was close to despair, I found my precious on the Walmart website for $13. The catch? Buying it alone did not qualify for free shipping; I'd have to pay another $6 for shipping.

So less than $20 for a household appliance that I'll get at least 500 uses out of (if it lasts 5 years like it's predecessor) and that I know for a fact was hard to find in stores? Paying for shipping was a no-brainer and totally worth it.

2) When you'd rather not pay for air aka the net out of pocket amount is the same or nearly the same
I usually encounter this situation when buying clothes online. Case in point, I recently scooped up an insulated winter skirt from the Skhoop website for 60% off. That's another item that I've been waiting 4 years to buy at a reasonable price-point. The catch with this purchase was that free shipping started at $75 and my skirt only cost $68 so I'd have to pay an additional $18 for shipping. Total out of pocket would then be $86 plus tax. That's $68 for the skirt and $18 for "air"

OR, I could order another lower priced item that would get me to the minimum required for free shipping. As long as my total out of pocket did not exceed the $86 plus tax, I was still coming out ahead.

So the choice is to pay the additional expense for shipping or for a filler item. In situations where the filler item exists at a price close to the cost of shipping, I would totally chose to add a filler my shopping cart.*

*What if you don't need the filler item? Then give it to someone who needs or will appreciate it.

My conclusion, sometimes paying for shipping is worth it and sometimes it's not.

Have you ever bought fillers to qualify for free shipping?


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