Expect more expensive post office visits in the near future: Stamp prices are about to rise once again. The newest price hike will make for the U.S. Postal Service's second increase this year — and its fourth since the start of the decade.
The USPS plans to raise the price of its first-class "Forever" stamps from 63 cents to 66 cents starting Sunday. These new rates have been on the agency's calendar since April in an attempt to ameliorate the USPS's heavy operating costs.
Why are stamp prices going up?
Despite its operating budget of $10 billion, the postal service operates at a loss constantly: In the second fiscal quarter of 2023, it posted a loss of $2.5 billion.
In a May news release, the agency blamed inflation's role in magnifying operating costs for the losses as well as other costs outside of its control. Seeing as the agency relies on its postage sales as a primary source of funding, stamp price increases are one of the more common methods the USPS uses to offset its costs.
July's 3-cent increase is the second this year. Forever stamp prices previously rose from 60 to 63 cents in January. The new 66-cent price marks a 32% rise in stamp prices since 2019, when a Forever stamp was priced at 50 cents.
What you should expect to pay for shipping
Forever stamps can be used for sending all regular-letter mail weighing less than 1 ounce. As the name suggests, Forever stamps can be used at any time after purchase, regardless of whether the postage rate goes up in the future (meaning those old Forever stamps you bought for cheap a few years ago won't expire).
But other postage costs are also going up as the agency works to combat inflation, too.
Metered mail postage is rising from 60 cents to 63 cents, and domestic postcards are rising from 48 cents to 51 cents. International mail is seeing a slightly larger increase than domestic mail; international postcards and letters are both rising from $1.45 to $1.50.
On the upside for consumers is news that the USPS will also be launching its Ground Advantage services on Sunday. Ground Advantage consolidates several of the agency's existing services into a single, more streamlined domestic ground shipping option for retailers. Ground Advantage users will be able to take advantage of up to $100 in included insurance for parcels and a 3.2% decrease from current retail shipping average costs.
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