GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Inflation and the increased cost of labor and materials have led to a rise in shipping rates across the country.

A new survey from TopCashback shows that 86% of Americans say they will look elsewhere for gifts if shipping is too expensive.

Here are some tips for avoiding high prices if you’re shopping online.

First, shoppers are advised to beware of shipping deadlines. Experts say you should mark your calendar for Dec. 14. This will likely be the last time most retailers will offer free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

You’re also advised to compare prices and rates since shipping rates could be different depending on which online retailer you’re using.

Another way to save money is to keep your gift digital. Consider giving someone a digital gift card, for example.

One of the most important tips, however, is to know the store’s return policy.

“While some gift [returns] can be made at the physical store, sometimes you can only ship it back if the store’s too far away or the store’s only online,” said Rebecca Gramuglia, the public relations manager for TopCashBack, Inc. “So in that case, you may need to find out if you have to pay to ship the item back or if the retailer has free returns.”

Experts say another good way to save money when shopping online is to pick up your item at a brick-and-mortar location, if the company you’re buying from has one.


Story continues below:


In a strenuous effort to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised its key short-term rate six times this year, the last four times by an unusually large three-quarters of a point. Prices are accelerating at nearly the fastest pace in four decades.