Do enough mailing, and you’ll wonder if there’s a way to do it cheaper. In this post, we’ll go over a handful of ways you can save money on postage stamps now and in the future, both online and in person.
How Much Do Postage Stamps Cost?
Both online and in-person, postage stamps can range in cost from as little as a penny to as much as $26.95 each. In most cases, you’ll buy postage stamps for letters and postcards in the $0.44 to $0.60 range.
First Class Mail
The most comment type of postage for First Class Mail is forever stamps. Forever stamps always represent the value of the first ounce of letter-size mail, no matter the current price for purchasing new forever stamps. If you bought a roll of Forever Stamps in 2007, the year they first came out, they’d be worth what they sell for today. In other words, a roll of forever stamps in 2007 cost $0.41 each but are worth $0.60 each today.
Additionally, the Postal Service sells Forever Additional Ounce Stamps with the same scaling value.
First Class Mailing is rated by the ounce and starts at $0.60 for the first ounce of letter-size mail. Each additional ounce after that, up to 13 oz, is an extra $0.24/each.
For large envelopes, the first ounce is $1.20 (twice the letter price), and each additional ounce after that up to 13 oz is $0.24/each, as well.
That’s right. You don’t need to put two Forever stamps on a letter-sized envelope if it weighs two ounces!
The Forever Stamp train doesn’t stop there, though. To nail the hat trick, the USPS also sells international one-ounce forever stamps, which represent the cost of mailing a one-ounce letter to another country.
Most postage stamps are purchased in sets (Forever Stamps come with books of 20 stamps for $12.00), in sheets (the sheet size can vary, but they’re often also printed in sets of 20 stamps), or in rolls (usually 100).
While not as common, one buys stamps for packages and uses them like an envelope. For example, one can purchase specific stamps to send Priority Mail Express flat-rate envelopes in sets of four for $107.80 or $26.95 each or regular Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes for $35.80 or $8.95 each.
How to Save Money on Postage Stamps
Postage stamps are neat, and some folks like collecting them, but everything has been about the retail price for stamps if you buy them from USPS directly. From here on, we’ll discuss ways to purchase postage and sometimes save money.
Buy Postage Stamps Online at Stamps.com
One of the easiest ways to buy postage stamps online is, in our opinion, through Stamps.com. Stamps.com is one of the most popular sources for printing exact postage for letters and packages. Their web-based software is intuitive and gives you access to discounted postage rates.
One thing the Postal Service loves to do is give discounts for doing their work for them. When you buy stamps from Stamps.com, you’ll get the “Metered rate,” meaning the piece of mail you’re sending has already been weighed, and that weight is known. In exchange, you get a $0.03 discount (5%) on each stamp you purchase.
Additionally, Stamps.com allows you to print shipping labels for your packages, send them to both USPS and UPS, and get steep discounts simultaneously. For example, a Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope at the post office is $9.90. At Stamps.com, that Flat Rate Envelope is $7.60, a 23% discount.
When you sign up for Stamps.com, you’ll get $5 in free postage right from the start and a free postage scale. I have the scale they sent out a few years ago, and it’s great. I still use it today for mailing envelopes and packages.
Additionally, when your free trial is up, they’ll give you another $20 in postage for future mailings. Also, be on the lookout for the complimentary supplies kit they send you, including special paper to print your stamps on. It’s not required, but it is nice if you can’t print directly on an envelope.
Retailers and Wholesale Clubs
If you’re a member of Costco and other wholesale clubs, you’ll no doubt have seen mentions of stamps for sale at a reduced price. Costco often sells stamps in sets of 100 for anywhere from $0.25 to a couple of dollars off the retail price. As I covered earlier in this article, you can save money by buying now and using it later. It never hurts to stock up if you’re in the area or are already headed to Costco.
Look for Occasional Deals on Amazon
I don’t have the professional expertise to say whether stamps on Amazon are 100% legitimate, but the risk is pretty low, given Amazon’s more-than-gracious return policy. What you’ll want to look for on Amazon are sets of easy-to-divide numbers like 20 or 100. This way, you can quickly do the math and see if you’re getting a good deal. For example, given the current per-stamp rate of $0.60, any listing of 20 stamps for less than $12.00 ($0.60 x 20) is a saving; for 100 stamps, anything less than $60 ($0.60 x 100).
The above image is an excellent example of this. The first listing is for a roll of 100 of the 2022-edition forever stamps. We know the retail price is $60.00, so we can save $5.00 by buying that specific set.
The second listing is 100 stamps, also one of the forever designs, but they’re asking $72.00, or $0.72/each. The third listing is a book of 20 stamps, and they’re asking $17.50 or $0.875/each. The fourth is asking $83.00, or $0.83/each. However, the other three are not good deals.
Here’s a direct link if you’re interested in that first listing.
Look for Sellers on eBay
On eBay, I often look specifically for rolls of 100. Rolls of 100 forever stamps are frequently sold to businesses at bulk rates. How these eBay sellers get their hands on them is beyond the scope of this article, but I’ve never had bad luck with them. These rolls come in particular packaging you won’t usually see when buying at the post office, which helps identify them as legitimate.
Above are two good options I would consider if I needed to stock up on stamps. While they’re not of any specific design for a holiday, The opportunity to pay well under retail prices for forever stamps intrigues me.
Buy Bulk Postage Stamps from BuyDiscountStamps.com
If you’re in the market for a large number of stamps, BuyDiscountStamps.com is my favorite place to go. All of the symbols they sell come from third parties that were no longer in need of them (gone out of business, etc.). They have a minimum order of $500, so keep that in mind when shopping.
The going rate for Forever Stamps on BuyDiscountStamps.com is about $0.54/each, a 10% discount off the retail price. Additional Ounce Forever Stamps are also marked down to $0.204/each, a 15% discount.
I wish I needed $500 in stamps at any one time. Unfortunately, I don’t, but if you do, I hope to live vicariously through you!
Presort, Non-Profit, Bulk Rate
If you’re a professional mailer, so to speak, then it’s time to think about doing more of the Postal Service’s work for them. As I mentioned earlier, they’ll give you a discount on postage by doing some of the weighing and sorting for them.
The savings can be huge if you can presort your mailings (bundle by zip code). When presorted, the postage for a letter up to 3.5 ounces is anywhere from $0.455 (~$0.151/ounce) to $0.526 (~$0.175/ounce). Large envelopes get a steep discount, too. The retail rate for the first ounce of a large envelope is $1.20. Presorted, it’s $0.555. An envelope full of documents (say 6 ounces) would be $2.40 retail. Presorted it would be as low as $1.75, a savings of $0.65.
If you’re running a non-profit organization and looking to send marketing mail, the Postal Service offers substantial discounts. For fully presorted mailing, the postage rate is as low as $0.098, a whopping 83% discount.
Similarly, the bulk rates for marketing mail can be as low as $0.179/ounce.
With the resources available online, there’s little to no need to go to a store or post office and pay retail prices. While there is some allure to buying stamps while you purchase food at the local grocery store, if you can find a good deal on a coil of postage stamps or are already a member of warehouse clubs and shops like Costco, you’re in an excellent position to save money. If you’d prefer to do everything online with the click of a mouse, Stamps.com has you covered.
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