A number of suppliers offer free shipping in December (or free shipping east of the Mississippi). Sometimes there are sales (for example, keep an eye on the ads in the upper right corner of the Beesource forums - I bought my Ultra Breeze last year on sale).
Also, ask nearby beekeepers about local suppliers/distributors. Some of the big suppliers such as Mann Lake and Kelley have a network of local distributors who usually operate on a relatively small scale. You can save a fortune on shipping if there's one near you. For example: http://www.mannlakeltd.com/infopage.asp?idPage=70
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