USPS Rate Hike: Introducing The 'Forever Stamp'

The USPS has approved a rate hike from $.39 to $.41 cents for a first class letter. They’ve also approved the “Forever Stamp” a stamp that does not lose its value is the postage rate changes. From the USPS:

The Governors approved the Forever Stamp, which will sell at the new 41-cent First-Class Mail one-ounce letter rate. The value on these stamps will always be the one-ounce letter rate and can be used for any future one-ounce letter mailing without extra postage.

“The Forever Stamp is a consumer innovation that delivers convenience and value and will help ease the transition for mailing letters when prices change,” said Chairman Miller.

The rate change will go into effect May 14th. Examples of the rate schedule inside…

EXAMPLES OF NEW PRICES FOR POSTAGE
Effective May 14, 2007
  Current New
First-Class Mail

   
  Letters, Bill Payment; Greeting Card $ 0.39 $ 0.41
Wedding Invitation (2-ounce) $ 0.63 $ 0.58
Postcard $ 0.24 $ 0.26
Priority Mail

   
  Flat Rate Envelope $ 4.05 $ 4.60
  Flat Rate Box $ 8.10 $ 9.15 **
  12-pound (Chicago to Los Angeles) $19.80 $24.10
Express Mail

   
  Flat Rate Envelope $14.40 $16.25
  1-pound package $18.80 $19.50
Parcel Post

   
  1-pound package $ 3.95 $ 4.50
  5-pound (Chicago to Los Angeles) $ 9.11 $ 9.50
Bank Statement    
  (2 ounces, 3-digit, barcoded) $ 0.545 $ 0.459
Utility Bill    
  (5-digit, barcoded) $ 0.293 $ 0.312

**Postal Service Governors are requesting reconsideration for the new price of the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box.

—MEGHANN MARCO

USPS Press Release [USPS]

Comments

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  1. kidnextdoor says:

    So…my biggest question is…what is to stop someone from buying a bazillion number of forever stamps…and then waiting for a couple of years…and reselling them at a slightly less price than the increased priced of future stamps? Or is it just a better investment to buy savings bonds…?

  2. Treved says:

    I think you’d make a better return putting your money in a savings account.

  3. mopar_man says:

    @kidnextdoor:

    I was kind of thinking kind of the same. Since USPS rates will always go up, what’s to stop someone from buying hundreds (or thousands) of stamps for the future?

  4. notlazyjustdontcare says:

    In an earlier post on the topic, someone showed that the price of postage just about keeps up with inflation. So, a better investment than a 0.25% checking account, but not better than a 4% savings account.

  5. Katharine says:

    Is this actually correct? It is the only one going down in price.
    Wedding Invitation (2-ounce) $ 0.63 $ 0.58

  6. sfurukawa says:

    Canada already has a similar forever stamp.

  7. punkrawka says:

    I can see the Consumerist headline in 20 years: “Forever Stamps not really ‘forever,’ says Postmaster.”

  8. Bix says:

    Does this mean that each additional ounce is now $.17 instead of $.24, or is that just for the 2nd ounce?

  9. Kierst_thara says:

    Canada is doing this too. I’m lucky if I use up a book of stamps in the time between price hikes, so it will be a lot more convenient this way. Also, because of this, Canada Post won’t be printing 1 cent stamps any more, since they cost more to print than the 1 cent that they’re worth.

  10. faust1200 says:

    I apologize for being attentive but The Consumerist already covered this story, no?

  11. This looks bad at first – anytime you are spending money looks bad. But, if you mail items heavier than one ounce you will actually save money.

    As people have noted before – the wedding invitation (2 oz) is cheaper with the new pricing than with the old. That is because only the first ounce of first class mail is increasing in price, every additional ounce will drop from $0.24 to $0.17 per ounce.

  12. formergr says:

    Faust1200, Consumerist covered that the post office was considering the Forever Stamp and other rate hikes, but it’s now been approved (I believe it went through yesterday).

  13. twonine says:

    If you have “First Class” stamps then you already have “forever” stamps. (At least thats my understanding… they show no denomination, just say first class.)

  14. Trick says:

    Finally, my retirement plan has come to mind.

    I am 35 now.

    I cash out my savings, 401k, oil company stocks and buy as many forever stamps I can buy with my life savings.

    In 30 years, sell them for a tidy profit! See you suckers on millionaires lane! NOT!

    Any chance the Post Office will cancel the forever stamps????

  15. squikysquiken says:

    I think forever stamps are a smart move. And one that will probably paradoxically save the USPS some money. 99% of the people don’t mail things very often and won’t bother buying bazillions of stamps ahead. With a forever stamp, the user doesn’t need to seek 1 or 2cts stamps or worry about the current rate when finding old stamps. The USPS also stops printing and selling those stamps at a loss. It’s win-win. France has had a forever stamp for a long time now and it is/was a big success with consumers.

    I wouldn’t be too afraid about the USPS cancelling those stamps. If they want to retire the stamp, I imagine the worse that could happen is that they freeze the value to the then current 1oz letter price and ask people to add more postage like we do now.

  16. Marsupial says:

    Is that what the stamp actually looks like? Rumor in the stamp collecting world was that it would have the Liberty Bell on it. (The approval was just a rubber-stamp, so to speak. The ‘forever stamp’ was a sure-thing a while ago.) Other countries, like Great Britain, have had these for a while. If you look at some newer stamps, they say “1st” or “1” or something to indicate that they are valid at the current first-class rate. We’re a little behind the times.

  17. TPIRman says:

    @twonine: The current non-denominational “FIRST CLASS” stamps are not forever stamps. You can find more info in the previous “forever stamp” post’s comment thread — specifically here.

  18. kazoni says:

    Sigh…another increase as I dust off my 1-cent and 3-cent stamps I bought from the LAST increase. So what am I supposed to do with these forever stamps if I want to send a package with stamps instead of wandering down to the Post Office to get it properly weighed, etc.?

    I also am curious as are many of you to see how people react to the new stamps, buying a ton of them to save money down the road.

  19. mac-phisto says:

    ok, here’s my beef. since when do rate hikes go into affect a couple weeks after they are approved? correct me if i’m wrong, but i swear they used to give 6 months or more before an approved rate hike went into effect.

  20. CatLady says:

    How much of this is a PR tool for the USPS so that the average consumer doesn’t get angry that this month’s USPS rate hike happens while they still hae stamps left over from two (or three… or more) rate hikes ago?

    On the other hand, I literally have stamps from three different rate hikes still in my drawer at home. I even have some 29 cent stamps. Those are over 15 years old. How many of these odd stamps do people end up not bothering with because they require additional postage to use up? It’s like a free permanent loan to the USPS!

  21. RandomHookup says:

    @kazoni:

    You can’t send a package weighing one pound or more with stamps anyway without going to the Post Office. If it’s less than a pound, then the stamp is worth whatever the first class, one ounce rate at the time is. I don’t see how you can affix postage anyway if you don’t know the weight of the package.

    The only time ‘Forever Stamps’ will be a good investment is just before the rate jumps. Kinda like when I bought Boston subway tokens at a $1 just before the fares jumped to $1.25.

  22. Jamie Beckland says:

    You can send a package weighing more than one pound without going to the Post Office IF you give it to a postal carrier directly (e.g. when your mailman brings you your mail).

    Postage scales (or repurposed food scales) are very cheap and if you do a lot of package mailing, a very good investment. I would rather weigh and affix postage at home in front of the TV than wait in line for my whole lunch hour (and then some) to send out a couple dozen packages.

    This is a really great step that the post office is taking, if for no other reason than people will be putting their $0.39 stamps up for sale on ebay at a discount. I kid you not!

  23. hop says:

    remember……nothing is “forever”

  24. QuirkyRachel says:

    Hey, at least they’re putting out a “forever stamp” this time. I stopped buying stamps in bunches b/c it felt like every time I did, they increased the rates.

  25. Starfury says:

    The roll of .39 stamps I have at home is almost gone. I think I’ll hold off on buying more until the new ones are out.

  26. tlc666 says:

    Here’s a question that comes to mind that I haven’t seen yet: When the current rate hike ($.41) increases to say ($.43), will you still be able to buy “Forever” stamps at ($.41) or will they stop selling them or will there price go up to the new rate hike price?

  27. thomasinventions says:

    I’ve been trying to get the Post Office to adopt such a stamp back in 1995 and surprised it took them 12 years to figure it’d save them money, let alone the hassles many people have to face when rate increases occur. I just received a letter from the USPS stating that they have no documentation discussing a forever stamp before they received my letter in 1995.

    There’s no fear of the Post Office losing any money at all. If their expenses go up, they simply change the rate for the stamp, without needing to make a big advertising campaign about it, taking into account the number of outstanding stamps sold at a leser rate.

    I’m going to have to find out how much these governors earn per year since I have to write Congress about how the post office makes its decisions. You’d think if the USPS was armed with necessary information to implement the idea 12 years prior, we’d have such a stamp back then.

    I am currently involved with trying to get the Post Office to show me their accounting of insured parcels as my preliminary findings indicate that they are charging too much for insurance and using the profit to fund other operations, perhaps for the high salaries that are better than when I was employed as a research scientist, but that’s government out of control for you. You wonder how there got to be a $9 Trillion national debt…it’s much to do with salaries with fringe benefits at 60% greater than those in the private sector.

    Anyway, back to the Post Office, I’m elated that sensibility has finally occured to adopt the stamp but there’s much more that needs fixing still.

    I’ll share my spreadsheet regarding PO insurance with anyone who inquires.