‘Packaging on a Budget’: Creative Ideas for Free Packaging

Looking to save money on packaging? Here are some creative ideas for free shipping materials that you can use! We'll review how to find free shipping boxes and mailers, as well as tips on using household items creatively in the package.


How do you get packaging on the cheap? If you are a business owner, it is likely one of your top priorities especially if you are offering free shipping options. It’s actually not that hard to achieve packaging goals if you know where to look for creative packaging ideas and free packaging materials. In this post we will discuss how to find free packaging materials in stores and at home. Additionally we’ll give some tips on how to use household items creatively as packaging!

person in black pants sitting on brown cardboard box
Photo by cottonbro on

Look For Free Boxes At Your Local Grocery Or Hardware Store

Look for packaging at your local grocery or hardware store. You can often find packaging that being discarded that is free to reuse and recycle. With a little creativity, these boxes work great as shipping containers! Just ask an associate if they have any extra boxes you can have many stores will be more than happy to have you take some off their hands!

items organized on shelves
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Take Advantage Of Free Carrier Packaging

Every time you send out a package, it’s best to spend the money on packaging materials. This ensures your items are well protected and prevent any damage in transit. You can buy packaging supplies at Staples or Office Depot but those prices quickly add up! Fortunately, there is an easy solution that will save you some cash: free carrier packaging from USPS, Fedex and UPS. Why pay for something when it’s already available?

USPS has free boxes and boxes and easy to open envelopes and mailers as part of their priority mail service and flat rate programs. You can pick up these these items by visiting any any of of their locations or even order supplies online.

Fedex and UPS also have packaging materials that are free with their flat rate programs. You can find these boxes at any of the nearest locations or order online.

All shipping supplies are free of charge with these programs, so stock up! It’s the perfect way to save on packaging.

city road people street
Photo by Sasha Prasastika on

Reuse Packaging From Your Own Purchases

One way to practice sustainable packaging on a budget is by reusing packaging from your own purchases. This can include boxes, envelopes, and bubblewrap that you may have lying around at home from a previous shipment or purchases. As long as previously used packaging material is in good fictional shape you can reuse it ship items to your own customers. This is a great way to score some free packaging without having to leave your home. Just be sure to cover or remove any existing labels with customer information on them. It can also be useful to save some dunnage such as bubble wrap, air pillows, and packing peanuts from your own shipments as adequately protecting your goods is a great way to delight customers.

woman in grey shirt holding brown cardboard box
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Use Household Items To Secure And Protect Shipments

The packaging industry is a booming one, with companies spending millions of dollars on packaging materials each year. One way to keep this cost down for your small business is by using household items like newspaper, magazines, and more to secure your shipment. Here are some creative packaging ideas that can help you save money:

Newspaper: When packing fragile items like glass, use a layer of newspaper to cushion it.

Cotton Balls: To fill gaps in packaging or for filler material, cotton balls are great on the cheap!

Magazine Clips: Has your packaging been crushed? Use magazine clips and an old rubber band to hold items together again. The best part is that they’re free!

Baby Food Jars: These clear jars are great packaging for small items that need protection like jewelry. They can be washed and reused as well, making them a budget-friendly choice.

Pool Noodles: Pool noodles are a versatile packaging material. Use them to make your packaging taller, use them as padding between items or to protect your customer from sharp edges!

These are just a few ways you can use household items in creative ways within your parcel shipping.

white printer paper on white table
Photo by cottonbro on

Use Brown Paper Or Newspaper:

Here is a trick straight out of my grandmother’s playbook. Wrap your box in brown paper or newspaper when shipping. If your shipment is not fragile and it comes in sturdy packaging like a display box already, sometimes brown paper can be used as a sustainable packaging alternative to ship your goods. This is a classic shipping method that is timeless and still looks great! If you don’t want to buy brown paper, for truly free packaging just use newspaper instead! This is a creative packaging idea that will save you lots of money on packaging supplies and can even be reused!

woman in brown dress holding her brown leather bag
Photo by cottonbro on


We hope that this post has been helpful in giving you some ideas for how to get creative with your packaging. If you have any additional tips or tricks, please share them below! What is a creative packaging material you have used in the past?

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