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How to Save Money with PayPal Shipping

United States Post Office rates went up again. Fuel prices are not dropping. Traveling to the post office, then paying to mail something, is only becoming more expensive. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find an affordable way to print postage directly from your home computer?

This is where PayPal Shipping comes in. With this free service, you can buy and print postage from your PC. You’ll save money on traveling to the post office – and you’ll save time because you don’t have to wait in line to buy stamps anymore.

Here’s how the service works:

You log in to your PayPal account and go to the shipping section. There, you create your order. Enter the details about the package so that the site can calculate how much postage you need to buy. You will provide information like what type of mail service you’d like, the package’s weight, and both sender’s and recipient’s addresses.

Your PayPal balance is used to pay for the postage. If you don’t have any money in your account, the financial account linked to PayPal will work. Your credit or debit card, for example, will be billed for the difference – just as it would if you made any other type of purchase through PayPal.

Though you do, of course, pay for the actual postage costs, PayPal does not charge you anything for this service. You aren’t paying any extra fees for using PayPal to buy postage.

PayPal and the post office Web site work together to create a mailing label just for your package. This includes an electronic confirmation bar code, which is very nice if you’re selling things online and want proof that you really did mail your product.

You can track your packages from the PayPal Shipping site, too. This is a nice feature because you don’t have to look up the package-tracking part of the post office’s Web site, then try to find your confirmation number, et cetera. Just log in, check your history, and see what’s going on with your outgoing mail.

Simply print out the label, attach it to your package, and drop it in the mailbox. One nice thing about PayPal Shipping is the fact that, because you’re using electronic postage, you do not have to go to the post office. Even large packages, which are supposed to be physically handed to a clerk if you use regular stamps, can go into the nearest mailbox for collection.

If you use PayPal Shipping often enough, you’ll save a good bit of money on fuel. You won’t have to go to the post office anymore: just print your postage, deposit your outgoing mail in the nearest box, and let the post office take care of the rest.

There are, however, a couple of small disadvantages to this service. One is the fact that, because all PayPal postage includes electronic delivery confirmation, your outgoing mail must be at least three-quarters of an inch thick. You cannot print postage through PayPal for, say, a letter to your grandmother or a holiday card for your favorite uncle. In those instances, you’ll need to pick up a book of stamps the next time you’re out shopping.

The other problem is that PayPal’s site can be slow sometimes – even with fast Internet connections. PayPal is popular overall, but their Shipping section is seeing more traffic as well. Every now and then, that part of the site will in fact go down. But typically, the service is available and not too terribly slow. It’s definitely faster than driving all the way to the post office.

Overall, PayPal Shipping is a nice, free alternative to other online-postage sites. And if you end up not liking this service, you aren’t out anything. You don’t have to pay monthly fees or sign any contracts, so you can stop using PayPal Shipping whenever you want without any penalties.

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