Do you remember the last time you paid attention to the cost of a postage stamp? With the prevalence of digital communication and Amazon shipping, postage stamps rarely cross our minds these days.
Eventually the need for postage stamps strikes, particularly around the holidays. Are you stressed about how to send that beautiful personal letter you spent time writing? When the time comes to mail a bill, holiday card, party invitation, you might find yourself stumped. Our guide to first-class postage stamps will catch you up on recent changes, forever stamps, weight requirements, and stamp pricing.
- Where Can You Purchase Stamps?
- Stamps can be purchased at grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, some banks and office stores, as well as through many vendors online.
- How Much Do Stamps Cost?
- Currently, a postage stamp for a standard one ounce letter costs $0.55. This means one First Class Mail Letter sent domestically requires either a forever stamp or $0.55 worth of postage stamps.
- How Much Does it Cost to Add Weight to a Letter?
- The cost of adding weight to First Class Mail letters is $0.15 per ounce. This means it only costs $0.70 to mail a two ounce letter. You can use a combination of stamps of lower values to equal the new amount, such as a $0.55, a $0.10 and a $0.05 stamp.
- Do All of Today’s Stamps Cost $0.55?
- No. Stamps can be purchased in a range of denominations from amounts as low as 1,2, 3, cents to larger amounts up to $25.50 (Priority Express Stamps).
- How Much Do Standard Postcards Cost?
- Regular postcards cost $0.35.
- Does It Cost More To Send Letters Internationally?
- Yes. Stamps for one ounce letters sent as First Class International Mail start at $1.15.
- Can You Purchase Stamps in Bulk?
- Yes. Stamps can be purchased as sheets/books of 20 as well as coils/rolls of 100. Stamps can often be purchased for discount prices online with older styles and forever stamps.
- What Happens to Mail That Cannot Be Delivered?
- Mail that cannot be delivered and does not have return address may sent to a Mail Recovery Center (formally referred to as the Dead Letter Office). There items are donated, recycled, destroyed, discarded, or auctioned off. Remembering to include a return address can help ensure that items that are undeliverable are returned to the sender.
Increasing Postage Stamp Rates
On January 27th, 2019, the Postal Service increased the cost of a stamp from $0.50 to $0.55. This 10% increase was the biggest increase in USPS history, according to NBCSanDiego.com. The Postal Service upped the price of stamps to help offset the loss in mail volume and the cost of operating expenses.
The company reported a net loss of$3.9 billion in 2018 due to the cost of operating expenses related to employee pensions and health care. This was the 12th unprofitable year for the company, which is not funded by tax dollars, but rather products and services.
The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the large increase in stamp costs, which have steadily been increasing since First Class Mail was established in 1863, as a mailing system based on cost rather than distance to destination.
The forever stamp is one of the products developed to help with mailing convenience during price changes.
How Forever Stamps Work
Forever stamps were first used in April 2007 with a Liberty Bell Stamp. Forever stamps are sold at the current rate for a 1-ounce letter.
These stamps are timeless – even when stamp prices go up, forever stamps remain valid. For example, if you have an old forever stamp that was purchased for $0.47 originally, you can still use it years later.
Starting in 2011, most new first-class one ounce stamps were made as forever stamps. Coils of 500, 3,000, and 10,000, however, were not sold as in forever versions, but at the current one ounce rate of then ($0.47).
When using forever stamps for international letters or mail that is heavier than one ounce, simply add the remaining postage to whatever the cost of one ounce first stamps are at that time. For example, since the current postage requirement is $0.55, you would need to add 2 forever stamps and a $0.05 stamp to send a letter internationally.
Custom Postage Stamps & Return Addresses
Third party vendors have introduced custom postage stamps. Companies like PictureItPostage and PhotoStamps provide consumers with personalized postage stamps featuring images and graphics of their choosing.
You can now pair a custom photo postage stamp with a Last Name Letter Return Address rubber stamp to get a unique look for your family holiday letter or school newsletter. With the custom postage stamp options and Simply Stamps’ collection of return address self-inking stamps, you have all the tools you need to make your next mailing into a work of art.