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Watch for catches with free shipping deals

How free shipping can sometimes cost more
Posted at 2:06 PM, Nov 20, 2019

When we are ordering our holiday gifts, one of the things many of us look for is free shipping. It's almost standard if you are an Amazon Prime member.

But sometimes, if you choose free shipping, you could end up paying more.

Almost all major retailers, from Walmart, to Target, to Amazon and more are offering free shipping this 2019 holiday season.

Why? Because it gets us to buy more, according to

Who has free shipping?

  • Target may have the best deal this 2019 holiday season: There's no minimum purchase required to qualify for free shipping until December 21 (and if you wait until the 22nd to order, you really deserve to pay more).
  • Amazon Prime also has no minimum for prime members, but Prime will cost you $119 a year, so you need to make sure you order enough to make that worthwhile.
  • Walmart still requires a $35 minimum purchase for fast free shipping.

Many other retailers have free-shipping deals as well.

But from the doesn't that stink file: retailers may set higher prices on some free-shipping items, which leaves you paying more.

NerdWallet found a pair of Nike running shoes on one site -- which advertised free shipping -- for $65. It looked like a great deal, as it would ship at no charge.

But they found the same shoes for just $49 at JC Penney, if you paid an $8.95 shipping fee. Many people might skip that deal, not wanting to pay for shipping.

But in the end, the free-shipping deal would cost you $8 more, and have you saying "doesn't that stink?"

So take your time comparing prices: On some sites the free shipping may be added into the price of the product. MarketWatch says you should "take free shipping with a grain of salt."

Just because the words "free shipping" did not pop up, that may not be the better deal, so don't waste your money.


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