How Much Is A Postal Stamp and How to Send Packages Within The US?
How Much Is A Postal Stamp and How to Send Packages Within The US?
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Walk into a U.S. post office today and you'll pay 58 cents for a first-class stamp. If the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has its way, however, your stamps will cost 60 cents — a 3.4 percent increase — starting July 10.

The U.S. Postal Service is set to raise stamp prices, increasing the cost of regular postage by 5.5%. First-Class Mail Forever stamps, as well as the cost of mailing a single-piece, 1-ounce letter, will go from $0.55 to $0.58.

A first-class stamp covers the price of a 1-ounce letter. An additional ounce costs 20 cents, and that would rise to 24 cents under the new proposal. Other postal products would see increases as well:

  • Metered letters would rise to 57 cents from 53 cents
  • Domestic postcards would rise to 44 cents from 40 cents
  • Outbound international letters would rise to $1.40 from $1.30

Postal History in the US: Blame the internet

It's no secret that the widespread use of email and the shift to online banking has taken a toll on the post office. People need fewer stamps for letters and bills these days, and businesses can reach customers more affordably and efficiently with email instead of junk mail.

The original Post Office Department, established in 1792 as part of the federal government, was reorganized in 1970 as the USPS, a separate agency, and generally receives no taxpayer money for operating expenses. According to a May 28, 2021 statement from USPS, the proposed postage price hikes are a first step in a plan to reverse a projected $160 billion in operating losses over the next decade.

A 2006 law capped postage increases at the Consumer Price Index, the government's main measure of inflation. The same law, however, allowed the Postal Regulatory Commission to review the effects of the postage price cap, and in 2017, the commission ruled that the price cap hurt USPS profitability. In November 2020, the commission issued new rules that gave the Postal Service more flexibility when it comes to rate increases.

Do I need a stamp to mail a letter?

Yes, you do need stamps to mail a letter both for domestic and international routes. The number of letter stamps will depend on the weight, size, and destination (domestic or international). Post offices require this proof that postage was paid to help them scan and orient the letter further.

How to send packages within the US?

Domestic Letter Shipping

If you are sending from the United States of America to the United States of America, you just have to pay $0.55 for a Domestic Forever Stamp. Your letter will reach the recipient within 1 to 3 working days. How cool is that? Just 55 cents for such quick delivery should be truly cherished.

Bear in mind though, that this covers the first ounce. As soon as your envelope goes over that weight, you need to add an extra 15 cents per ounce onto the price. Don’t stress, we’re going to discuss this in more detail in the next section.

There are some requirements that your envelope must fit to be eligible for posting this way. These rules are as follows:

  • The envelope needs to be at least 5 inches by 3.5 inches but not bigger than 11.5 inches by 6.125 inches, and no thicker than ¼ inches.
  • It needs to have a uniform thickness.
  • It must be rectangular.
  • It must be bendable. If not, you might have to pay an extra 21 cents since it will be classed as “non-machinable”.
  • If your envelope is square, it needs to be at least 5 inches. This will be non-machinable so you’ll have to pay an additional 21 cents like we just mentioned.

Domestic Postcard Shipping

If you plan to send a postcard within the United States of America, it is a bit cheaper. You just need to buy a Postcard Stamp for 35 cents and pop it in the mailbox. However, you do have the option of overpaying by purchasing a Domestic Forever Stamp. As you now know, this is 55 cents.

To be eligible for this stamp class, your postcard must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be rectangular. If it’s not, different rates and stamp rules apply.
  • It must be at least 3.5 inches high by 5 inches long
  • It must be at least 0.007 inches thick.
  • It cannot be bigger than 4.25 inches high by 6 inches long.
  • It cannot be thicker than 0.016 inches.

International Letter Shipping — USA to UK

Unfortunately, we can’t list every country here otherwise we’d never stop. But we will go through the main ones briefly. Sound like a plan? Great! Let’s get to it then.

The easiest way to ship letters from the United States of America to the United Kingdom is with the Global Forever Stamps. These will cost you $1.20 and feature a green succulent. They add a certain element of style to your international mail!

If you would rather use the Domestic Forever Stamps, then you need to make sure they add up to $1.20. It’s impossible to do this exactly, so you will end up overpaying by 45 cents this way. For some of you, this might not be a problem, in which case, go for it!

How do Forever Stamps Work?

Photo: edhat
Photo: edhat

Forever Stamps are easy to use. Simply buy stamps at the current first-class rate and you don't have to worry about how much sending a standard letter costs. Stick a Forever Stamp on your #10 (or other standard-sized) envelope, drop your letter in the mailbox, and voila, you're done.

You can use more than one Forever Stamp if you need to send a package or a letter that weighs more than an ounce.

Each stamp is worth the current first-class rate (not what you paid for them). So if you paid $0.49 and the rate rises to $0.50, you can put two Forever Stamps on a package to get $1.00 worth of postage.

You can also use Forever Stamps to send letters internationally. All you'll need to do is to calculate the rate of your international letter or package and divide that amount by the current first-class postage rate to determine how many Forever Stamps you'll need to cover the price.

Be aware that you might save money by getting the exact postage you need at the post office or on the USPS website rather than using only Forever Stamps. For example, if a Forever Stamp is currently worth $0.55 and you need $0.60 worth of stamps, you'd lose $0.50 if you use two Forever Stamps.

How much is a forever stamp in the USA?

The price of a "forever" stamp, used on the standard first-class letter, is held at 58 cents.

The forever stamp rate was last changed on Aug. 29, 2021, when it rose from 55 cents to 58 cents. The cost is holding steady in 2022, but Priority Mail postage rates are going up by more than 3%.

Officials say in a news release that the mail rates remain competitive: "The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter-mail postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer a great value in shipping."

How much will a forever stamp cost in 2022?

The Postal Service started 2022 by making no change in the price of a forever stamp or the first-class letter rate. They remain at 58 cents.

There's no indication that an increase will come later in the year, but officials noted around the time of last year's price hike that the Postal Service is losing billions of dollars because of a 28% drop in mail volume over the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, 2022 is bringing average 3.1% increase in rates for Priority Mail services.

To give a couple of examples: The cost of using a Priority Mail medium flat-rate box is climbing from $15.50 to $16.10, and the rate for a small flat-rate box is going up from $8.45 to $9.45.

Postal officials say in the news release that they believe these new rates will help keep the Postal Service competitive while providing some needed revenue.

Why have forever stamps?

Postage prices are roughly tied to inflation. The U.S. Postal Service requests rate increases as inflation rises, meaning prices at the post office go up most years.

A good deal of the USPS' revenue comes from stamps — so why does it want you to use older forever stamps when rates go up? Wouldn't it make more sense for the agency to make and sell new stamps with higher values?

Well, it turns out that the increased revenue from offering new, costlier stamps would be more than offset by the expense of having to collect and destroy outdated stamps each time the postage rate changes.

With forever stamps, everyone wins. You can buy a stockpile of stamps when rates are set to go up and save yourself those extra cents. You might even invest those small savings using a popular stock trading app that allows you to buy fractions of shares with as little as a $1.

Meanwhile, the Postal Service wins because it will never have to track down "expired" postage.

Where to Buy Forever Stamps

U.S. Forever Stamps can be purchased from the United States Postal Service at your local post office, online, or by telephone. Many other stores, like grocery stores and gift shops, also carry the stamps.

For people who live in other regions, the Canadian Post offers a similar product, the Permanent Stamp. Many European countries also have versions of the Forever Stamp. Contact your local post office for more details.

What happens when you forget a postage stamp and send the letter without it?

After you place the letter in the mail collection box, it goes to a post office department where it gets sorted using automated equipment. If there is no stamp on your envelope, a special scanner will detect it, and the letter will be attributed to a separate category of mail. It will then be sent to a dedicated employee who checks for missing postage stamps on letters.

In case you forgot to put a postage stamp on the letter you already sent somewhere, it will be:

  • returned to you (the sender), or;
  • the receiver will have to pay for the missing stamp.

The price the receiver will have to pay depends on the post office. In most cases, the receiver will pay a fee that equals the price of the stamp for the letter, but it can also happen that they need to pay a surcharge for insufficient postage for the unstamped letter.

If the receiver refuses to pay, the letter will be returned to you as the sender. You, as the initial sender, will then have to cover the required fees.

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