Personal Finance 

Forever Stamps and Another Postage Rate Hike

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On May 14th, it will cost forty one cents to mail a first class letter. Also on May 14th, you will be able to buy what’s been called the “forever stamp.” The forever stamp, which will cost forty one cents, will let you mail a first class letter no matter what the rates increase to in the future, thus it will be good forever.

With a forever stamp, you will no longer care about the current stamp price, because the Forever Stamp covers it no matter what the price.

I don’t send many letters and the only personal correspondence I send nowadays that even requires a stamp are cards, whether their holiday cards or birthday cards or thank you cards, it’s mostly cards. I avoid stamps by using bank billpaying services or direct debit whenever possible because, let’s be honest, while the USPS is 99.9999999% reliable, I don’t want important payments being part of that .0000001% error rate (and I’ve received some mangled letters before). The excuse of “it got lost in the mail” really doesn’t work with mega-corporations, they want their money when they say they want it.

So, how many freaking 2 cent stamps will you need and how many of these forever stamps do you think you’ll be getting? And how many people are ecstatic that you’re no longer paying for Lance Armstrong’s sponsorship in the Tour de France? (Nothing against the Tour de France or Lance Armstrong, I just think the USPS advertising on something like that, a bike race, is stupid especially when they were jacking up stamp prices and claiming loss of market share to competitors)

{ 17 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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17 Responses to “Forever Stamps and Another Postage Rate Hike”

  1. aaron says:

    you know, i don’t really use any stamps, but i suppose i may pick up a book or two of the forever stamps. why not? they will be good forever, and then i won’t have to ever worry about 1 or 2 or 3 cent stamps again.

  2. Mike says:

    I haven’t even used up all my 37s, and I have a roll of 39s waiting to be used… Oh well.

  3. Matt says:

    I’ll probably buy a book of the forever stamps…and it may well last me through the next five or six rate increases, since I almost never use the Post Office. (Honestly, sending snail mail is so rare a thing for me that I couldn’t tell you where the stamps are in my house. We haven’t used any since we moved in last August, and indeed I might have left them behind in my apartment…where I hadn’t used any in almost a year before that.)

  4. Clever Dude says:

    Not all of your online billpays are purely electronic, unless you’re doing them directly with the company.

    For instance, I use Bank of America billpay, and only about 75% of my bills are purely electronic. Even if I don’t get an e-bill from them, I can tell if they’re set up for EFT based on the date BoA calculates for the payment to reach them. If it’s 1 day, then they’re EFT. Any longer and they’re probably not.

    So, I still have to be worried about being in that small percentage of lost mail, but BoA guarantee’s their payments (last I remember).

  5. Nick says:

    It figures that I just bought a book of 39-cent stamps the other day. I think I even have a couple of 34-cent stamps sitting around somewhere.

  6. FMF says:

    Bike hater.

  7. KMC says:

    I swear just last week as I was buying stamps (online) I told a coworker, “It’s been a while since they raised the rate. I’ll bet as soon as I buy these, it’ll change.” Like Matt, I’ll buy a crapload of forever stamps when they come out. I don’t know the details – will the forevers only offered for a little while?

  8. Dustin says:

    I am curious why the PO is doing this. Ok, I understand it will let people lock in a rate per se, but where is the incentive for them now. In five years when the price is $.50 per stamp and everybody is still paying $.41, they will be hurting. Do people have to pay a fee to get these forever stamps or something? How is this not going to screw them over later especially with the increasing costs and lower parcel count?

  9. Scott says:

    I think what’s being forgotten here is inflation. The USPS will mostly like make money on the forever stamp idea provided their rate increases are slower than inflation. Dustin – for your specific example, if you factor in 4% inflation per year then a $.41 stamp now is actually worth $.50 in five years. If the rate the USPS is charging five years from now happens to be less than $.50 (which is very likely given historical data) then people who bought forever stamps will have actually OVERPAID for them.

    Stepping back in time, a $.37 stamp five years ago (the going rate at the time) should cost around $.45 now (again assuming 4% inflation). No wonder the USPS lost money over the last five years – inflation kicked their butt and they’re undercharging consumers!

  10. Scott says:

    Jim, you also neglected to mention the one certifiably positive part of this proposal. The rate for each additional ounce you ship has been reduced from $.24 to $.17. So while sending envelopes will be more expensive, sending packages will be cheaper.

  11. zen says:

    None for me, thanks. I do all my bills through my credit union/bank and all my mail electronically. I think I’ve used a stamp maybe three times in the past two years.

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  13. Margo says:

    I wonder if the PO’s benefit to the ”forever” stamp is the cost savings, of not having to deal with people who just need a couple of the 2 cent stamps. Or, if the cost of printing those things combined with the cost of selling them, makes the 2 cent stamps unprofitable…so perhaps it’s more worth their while to do the “forever” thing.

  14. Rachel says:

    I think the “forever” stamp is hype to create an immediate cash flow. The PO could just create the policy of accepting old first class stamps while requiring new purchases at the current rate. This is basically what they are doing. The advantage of the “forever” stamp is that it will create a buying frenzy now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    the postage changes so often i had to come on line before ordering more stamps because the amount was not on the previous stamps.

  16. Elizabeth T. Wise says:

    I’m so sorry I bought 250 Xmas cards after Xmas in Jan. ’08. I should have mailed them right then with a “do open – it’s for next Xmas – farewell to future cards, Xmas cards should get a SPECIAL RATE. Oh, I forgot – Religion and state would forbid hat. Cheers,world.

  17. b. t. says:

    May 2009 i actually bought $300.00 worth of the forever stamps…so hopefully i wont EVER need anymore…lol.

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