A comprehensive, borderline-obsessive list of strategies for saving money and avoiding wasted time at your friendly neighborhood government-run establishment.
Jim at Bargaineering has been kind enough to share his tactics for coping with the post office, which he hates, and which he is often able to avoid entirely. He owns his own scale (helpful in avoiding overpaying for postage), knows when it’s smarter to choose first-class over media mail (and vice versa), prints postage at home, and is a pro at getting postal carriers to pick up packages at his home, saving him a trip, not to mention the aggravation.
And when you can’t avoid going in person to a post office, he has strategies for selecting the least busy location:
Each ZIP code has it’s own post office but the busiest ones are those found in residential areas. If you know of a very commercial area (lots of stores, warehouses, transport facilities), try that ZIP code’s post office instead. My experience with this has been very good because stores, warehouses, and transport facilities don’t send a lot of mail through the USPS.
Finally, most post offices have a late-morning short-line sweet spot, which is an optimal time to get your errands done:
A USPS spokesperson told Real Simple that the best time to go to the post office is half an hour after it opens. You avoid the morning rush and hit that morning lull… I try to go around around 10:30 AM, just before the people running lunch errands, mid-week. I avoid the days around major holidays too because that’s when the post offices are absolutely packed to the gills.
Thanks Jim! I can’t wait to read your tips for dealing with the DMV.