As if inflation wasn’t already straining your wallet enough, sending gifts in the mail will be a little more expensive this year. The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it's requesting temporary price increases for certain domestic mail services during the holiday season.
If approved, the new prices would go into effect on Oct. 2 and last through Jan. 22. They're designed to help offset higher shipping costs and help the agency stay competitive relative to UPS and FedEx. International rates will not change.
Both individuals and businesses would pay between 25 cents and $6.50 extra, depending on the type of package and type of shipping service they use. Rates for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground would be affected, among other services.
Flat-rate envelopes and boxes would cost an extra 95 cents for retail customers, for instance, while heavy packages (above 26 pounds) sent more than 600 miles would cost an extra $5.85. Lighter packages would see rate increases of a dollar or less.
You can find the full list of suggested USPS price changes here.
Why the mail is getting more expensive
The Postal Regulatory Commission still has to review the holiday fee proposal. But the USPS said the price increases are “similar to ones in past years that help cover extra handling costs to ensure a successful peak season,” which last year saw 13.2 billion pieces of mail between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. It raised rates over the 2020 and 2021 holiday seasons, too.
The USPS has struggled in recent years with budget, staffing and logistical constraints. It has raised stamp prices several times lately — most recently in July — to cope with rising costs, and it has reduced its shipping speeds. A viral campaign in 2020 even implored Americans to buy stamps to help make a dent in the agency's ballooning debt.
More price hikes could be on the way, too.
“As everyone knows, inflation has hit the nation hard, and the Postal Service has not avoided its impact,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told the agency’s Board of Governors this week, adding that he expects inflation to add more than a billion dollars in unexpected costs to the USPS’s 2022 budget.
As a result, DeJoy said, he is recommending that the agency raise its rates again in January.