If you still do a lot of business using the U.S. Postal Service, you might want to stock up on “Forever” stamps. The U.S. Postal Service will hike the price of a first-class stamp 4.8%, from 63 cents to 66 cents, effective July 9. A first-class stamp covers the cost to mail a 1-ounce letter. An additional ounce will remain at 24 cents.
Forever stamps aren’t the only item whose price is rising on the U.S. Postal Service’s menu. Metered letters will rise to 63 cents from 60 cents. If you want to send a postcard, the price will rise to 51 cents from 48 cents. Also, outbound international letters will rise to $1.50 from $1.45. The Postal Service also seeks price adjustments for Special Services products, including Certified Mail, Post Office Box rental fees, money orders and insurance to protect items you are mailing.
The postage price increases must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. If approved, overall postal prices will increase approximately 5.4%.
The last increase on “Forever” stamps went into effect on January 22 of this year and increased the price to 63 cents apiece. The “Forever” in their name means that even after the price rises in July, a Forever stamp you paid 63 cents for will still send a 1-ounce letter to any U.S. address. You won’t have to add postage to make up for the price increase. You can still use an original Forever stamp purchased 15 years ago for 42 cents to mail a first-class letter today without additional postage.
Forever stamps, introduced in 2007, are always equivalent to the current price of a first-class stamp. Since 2011, virtually all first-class stamps sold have been Forever stamps.
You can even use Forever stamps for outbound international letters. You’ll have to add stamps to get to the correct amount of postage for international mail, however. For international letters, a Forever stamp has the monetary value of the price of a first-class stamp on the day it is used.
Here is a list of Forever stamp prices since their introduction in 2007 provided by Historian U.S. Postal Service:
|Jan 7, 2001||$0.34|
|Jun 30, 2002||$0.37|
|Jan 8, 2006||$0.39|
|May 14, 2007||$0.41|
|May 12, 2008||$0.42|
|May 11, 2009||$0.44|
|Jan 22, 2012||$0.45|
|Jan 27, 2013||$0.46|
|Jan 26, 2014||$0.49|
|Apr 10, 2016||$0.47|
|Jan 22, 2017||$0.49|
|Jan 21, 2018||$0.50|
|Jan 27, 2019||$0.55|
|Aug 10, 2021||$0.58|
|July 10, 2022||$0.60|
|Jan 22, 2023||$0.63|
|July 9, 2023||$0.66|
A 1-ounce letter cost 6 cents in 1863, according to the USPS historian, and 8 cents 50 years ago. When the latest price goes into effect in July, the cost of postage will have risen from 60 cents at the end of July 2022 to 66 cents, a 10 percent increase. The Consumer Price Index, the government’s main gauge of inflation, has risen 5 percent in the 12 months ending March 2023.
It’s no secret that widespread use of email and the shift to online banking have taken a toll on the post office. People need fewer stamps for letters and bills, and businesses can reach customers more affordably and efficiently with email instead of junk mail.
The original U.S. Post Office Department, established in 1792 as part of the federal government, was reorganized in 1970 as the United States Postal Service (USPS), a separate agency, and generally receives no taxpayer money for operating expenses. According to a May 29, 2021 statement from the 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 (CPI). The same law, however, allowed the Postal Regulatory Commission to review the effects of the postal price cap, and in 2017, the commission ruled that the price cap hurt USPS profitability. In November 2020, the commission issued rules that gave the Postal Service more flexibility when it comes to rate increases.
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