Ordering gifts online? You need to know these deadlines

This comes from USA Today

•Amazon. Prime members get free expedited shipping, but some options — including one-day delivery — are available only in select cities. Make sure your purchase qualifies before relying on same-day service. For non-Prime free shipping, you must order by Friday and for standard shipping by Monday. If you want to wait and order two-day shipping, the deadline is Dec. 22, one-day is Dec. 23 and same-day is Dec. 24 before 9:30 a.m. local time.

•Best Buy. If you make a purchase from the electronics retailer by 11:30 a.m. ET on Dec. 21, you’ll have it by the end of the day on Dec. 23. And you’ll receive free shipping on most purchases through Dec. 24. Major appliances are excluded.

•Dell. Standard delivery is free with all purchases, and expedited delivery is free for members of the Dell Advantage Rewards program this season. You must order some Dell items — including TVs 46 inches or larger and monitors 55 inches or larger — by Dec. 12 to get delivery by Christmas. But the guidelines for PCs that “ship same day” are Friday at 3 p.m. ET for standard shipping, 3 p.m. ET on Dec. 21 for expedited shipping and 3 p.m. ET on Dec. 22 for express shipping.

•J.C. Penney. J.C. Penney shoppers score free standard shipping on orders of $49 or more and free store delivery on orders of $25 or more. Truck-delivered and manufacturer-delivered items are exceptions. If you want to pick up your item at your local store, you need to order by Friday. For standard shipping to your home, the deadline is Monday. The two-day shipping deadline is Dec. 20 and the one-day deadline is Dec. 22.

•Macy’s. Macy’s carries a variety of products and has some of the latest shipping deadlines on this list, making it a solid resource for procrastinators. Furniture and other, often larger, items have different deadlines. Orders of $99 or more get free standard shipping. The standard and premium shipping deadline is at 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 21, and the express shipping deadline is Dec. 22. But if you’re going to pick up your item at the store, you can until until Dec. 24.

•Sears. Sears provides free standard shipping on orders of $49 or more and free in-store pickup with no minimum purchase. Sears provides free shipping until 1 a.m. ET Tuesday. The standard shipping deadline is 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 21 and the premium shipping deadline is at the same time on the next day. In-store pickup is available until Dec. 24.

•Toys R Us. The toy store offers free in-store pickup year-round, but Monday is the last day to receive free shipping on purchases of $19 or more. The standard shipping deadline is at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday. Expedited shipping is available until 3 p.m. ET on Dec. 21 and express shipping until 11:59 p.m. that same day. In-store pickup is available until 6 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve.

Victoria’s Secret

The lingerie seller’s minimum spending amount for free standard shipping changes, so check its website for current details.

•    Standard shipping: Dec. 15, 5 p.m.ET.
•   Third business day: Dec. 20, 5 p.m. ET.
•   Second business day: Dec. 21, 5 p.m. ET.
•    Next business day: Dec. 22, 5 p.m. ET.
•   Saturday delivery: Dec. 23, 5 p.m. ET.

Keep in mind: Free shipping day is Dec. 16.

On that day, retailers including Target, Bloomingdale’s and Cabela’s will waive their minimum free shipping amounts and promise to deliver your order by Christmas Eve. If your favorite store is participating, consider taking advantage.

And despite what retailers suggest, the U.S. Postal Service recommends that you mail for ground service by Thursday, first class by Tuesday and priority mail by Dec. 21. Priority express packages must be mailed by Dec. 23.

•   Ground service: Dec.15.
•   First-class mail: Dec. 20.
•   Priority mail: Dec. 21.
•   Priority mail express: Dec. 23.

If you live outside of the continental U.S., you’ll need to act earlier.

The sooner you order, the better. This creates a buffer against shipping delays, and it could save you money, because most expedited shipping methods cost extra.

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