I consider it a matter of personal pride to avoid paying shipping by any means necessary. If it means I don't buy the item, so be it. If it means I jump in the car and go pick it up (thereby wasting gas instead) I will do it. Shipping is just one of those expenses I distrust on sight ($0.01 bestselling book + $3.99 shipping on Amazon – any takers?). So I have made it somewhat of a hobby to find creative ways to get around paying shipping costs. Here are 10 of my favorites!

1. Price + shipping price compare

This is one that nearly always makes me laugh…I was never great at math, but this common scenario is literally a cinch to calculate.

  • Let's say Retailer A is offering my favorite gardenia scented candle for $25 + free shipping.
  • Retailer B is offering the same fragrant gardenia candle for $20 + $6.99 shipping.
  • I choose Retailer A—even with the higher priced candle, I still end up saving $2!

2. Sign up for email lists and loyalty clubs

Amazon Prime may be the most obvious example, since every Prime item comes with free shipping, but there are many other clubs that offer similar shipping incentives. For instance, the other day I joined the online clubs for Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma—as a sign-up perk, both gave me a code for free shipping on my first order.

Note: If you have a Prime membership, did you know you can share your membership with up to four family members or co-workers? This is a great way to spread the joy of free shipping!

3. Consider high-end retailers

Many high-end luxury brands will offer free shipping to their online customers as a courtesy.

Here are a few examples to consider:

4. Watch the sales

Whether during the extremely competitive winter holidays or year-round, seasonal sales and free shipping tend to go hand-in-hand. If I have my eye on an item, I may bookmark it with an alert so I am notified when it goes on sale. Recently I bought a Williams Sonoma fry pan for my mom when it went on sale. The sale included a code to get free shipping on any sale items. Yay!

  • Use this app to help track sales online!

5. Have the item shipped to the store instead of to you

Often "site to store" shipping is free, even if "site to you" shipping costs you money. For instance, if you want to buy something you see on Walmart's online store, you can have it shipped for free to the Walmart nearest you and just pop over to pick it up when it arrives.

6. Shop on Free Shipping Day

This is one of my favorite days of the year! December 18th annually is Free Shipping Day nationwide. On this day, thousands of retailers offer free shipping for any products ordered on that date. Love it!

7. Call and ask for free shipping

If you have ever called a retailer to request coupons over the phone, you’re already an expert here. Even if you’re a bit phone shy, you can think of the money you’ll be saving to give you courage. One effective strategy is to call and say you will buy the product from that merchant if they waive the shipping fees. It never hurts to ask, and you just might score free shipping!

8. Use a service like RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot is a favorite in the KCL community for many reasons, not the least of which is that you can get codes for free shipping. Visit http://www.retailmenot.com/freeshipping.

9. Consider a trial membership for holiday online shopping

If you plan to shop online heavily during the holiday season, you might consider opting for a trial membership that offers free shipping as a perk (ShopRunner and Amazon Prime are two easy examples – if you have a specific retailer in mind, visit their website to find out if they have a program). Most trial memberships are 30 days, so you just need to remember to cancel before the 30th day to avoid being charged the monthly fee.

10. Become a savvy “follower”

Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have become hot spots for coupon and free shipping codes. While a retailer may offer free shipping incentives at any time of year, winter holidays, Valentine's Day and other popular holidays deserve special attention. Follow your favorite retailers to be alerted when they offer free shipping codes.

BONUS

Those who love Target (pretty much all of us, right?!) will be happy to hear that they are offering free shipping on all online orders through December 20, 2014! For more information, check out the post below: