Advertising
Advertising

Hacks for Shipping Holiday Gifts

Hacks for Shipping Holiday Gifts

The holiday season is a time when you are shopping around for the best deals on gifts. However, not all of your gifts can be given in person, and not all of your deals are always found online. This turns into you having to make sure of shipping services to ensure that your gifts are sent and received in a timely manner.  Today, let’s go a bit over how to find the most affordable provider, how to stay on top of deadlines, and ways on how to track your shipments effectively.

Shipping Providers: Compared

For this article, we will focus on American shipping providers. The main providers are FedEx, UPS, and USPS. In terms of price, USPS is a good choice for individuals who don’t have an issue with size. If you item is able to fit into USPS’s flat rate boxes, you will be able to pay a specified price, as long as it’s under 7 pounds.

This is perfect for individuals who aren’t frequent shippers and want to take the guess work out of shipping. So, when is UPS or FedEx a good choice? The holiday season is a unique time when timing is of the essence. You may send a card or gift throughout the year for birthdays or anniversaries, and if they come a couple of days later than expected, then it’s not a problem.

However, during the holidays individuals are more serious about delivery times, something USPS isn’t as good at holding on to. FedEx and UPS aren’t apart of the postal service, these shipping companies are focused solely on shipments, and in turn they have been more reliable in terms of arrival times and dates. If price and delivery timing is an issue, you best bet would be FedEx.

Affordable Supplies for Shipping

If you are price conscious, USPS is a provider that provides individuals with free flat rate shipping items by request. These boxes, usually arriving at your door step a week after request, allows you to not only skip having to rush out for shipping supplies relative to your item’s size, but you can also ensure that you’ll pay a certain price. If you are shipping with USPS or considering this option, here’s how to get your boxes.

Advertising

    Deadlines: Closer than you Think

    You can choose a provider with the best deals or the fastest delivery times, but all of these titles become empty if you don’t put in the effort to ship on time. Providers love when we ship late because this gives them a promise to hike up prices.

    Don’t become victim to last minute shipping price gouging by making sure you know the deadlines for your basic ground shipment dates. As follows, USPS’s deadline is December 20th, three days earlier on the 17th (ten days from today) is FedEx’s deadline on Ground shipments, and finally, UPS is the most attractive in that you can ship anytime up till December 24th, they will be shipping on Christmas Eve.

    Of course, in the end, everything comes at a price. FedEx is moderately priced, USPS is one of the cheapest, but UPS is the most expensive. This, of course, isn’t taking into consideration if you miss the aforementioned dates, which means you’ll have to pay even more for next day or two day shipping.

    Amazon shoppers: more on specific deadlines are found here.

      Tracking the Package

      Apps for tracking your packages are available on almost every system that you use. First, let’s look out for our iOS users and list a couple of applications that help with tracking packages:

      Advertising

        Slice for iOS – Focused not just on package tracking, but also your online spending habits, Slice automatically adds packages to track based on what you purchase online through your connected email accounts. Also, track how much you are spending and more. (Free)

          Delivery Status Touch – Resembling Parcels for Android, Delivery Status Touch makes use of visuals (including color scheme) as a way for you to quickly tell the provider. You can also get a high quality map view on the right side and up-to-date parcel information at the very bottom. ($2.99)

          Next up, Android users. Here are a couple of applications available to ensure that you know the status of your package.

          Advertising

            Parcels for Android – This free application ensures that you stay updated on your shipment. even without having to lift another finger after first setting up. Package statuses are viewable in the application’s Google Maps view. (Free)

              TrackChecker – This basic barebones tracker application is perfect for our international shipping readers out there. (Free)

                Package Tracker Pro – Along with package tracking, Package Tracker Pro also allows you to receive up-to-date notifications and the ability through the sync site to automatically add/remove shipment tracking. ($1.99)

                An IFTTT Hack: Shipment Tracking

                If you aren’t familiar with IFTTT (no pun intended), the website allows you to create your own online algorithms allowing different websites to connect with each other to perform novel tasks, allowing the “Internet to work for you”.

                Advertising

                  One quick example would be “If I take an Instagram photo, automatically add the photo to a specific folder in Dropbox”. Get it now? Well, there’s an algorithms (or recipe as they are called) for package tracking that can be sent as a text message to your phone, perfect for the non-smartphone owners. Simply edit the XXXXs with your tracking number, and there you go! Here’s the link to the recipe.

                  Holiday shopping can be stressful, but shipping your items don’t have to be. Let us know in the comments which tip was most helpful for you and which tips you have for our other readers.

                  Featured photo credit:  Tug boat taking out the ship from the harbor via Shutterstock

                  More by this author

                  10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily The 50 Best Desktop Wallpapers for 2013 23 Awesome Travel Hacks That Add Fun To Your Trip How to Stay in Good Shape During Black Friday 9 Apps Unrelated to Black Friday That Are Helpful

                  Trending in Lifestyle

                  1 13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride 2 Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life? 3 12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid 4 The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 5 15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on February 18, 2019

                  13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                  13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                  Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                  Why is this so critically important to you?

                  The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                  Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                  1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                  Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                  When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                  • The man facing the judge.
                  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                  These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                  Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                  Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                  2. Accept Your Fear

                  Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                  We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                  And here’s what can be done.

                  Advertising

                  3. Get Some Perspective

                  I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                  And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                  That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                  We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                  So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                  • Are you really at risk?
                  • Will this kill you?
                  • Which leads us on to..
                  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                  4. Hold a Hand

                  As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                  Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                  We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                  Ask yourself:

                  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                  • Could that really happen?
                  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                  By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                  5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                  This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                  Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

                  Advertising

                  The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                  It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                  For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                  Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                  6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                  I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                  Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                  Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                  Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                  Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                  Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                  7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                  Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                  I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

                  Advertising

                  It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                  One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                  Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                  It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                  8. Assume the Worse

                  If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                  Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                  And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                  When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                  Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                  9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                  If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                  Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                  Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

                  Advertising

                  10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                  One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                  11. Go with Fear

                  When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                  I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                  Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                  One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                  However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                  We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                  12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                  And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                  The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                  What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                  13. Own Your Fear

                  Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                  We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                  You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                  More Resources About Fighting Fear

                  Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

                  Read Next