Save Money On Postage By Buying Old Stamps At Discount

If you send out a lot of physical mail, you probably won’t mind stumbling upon a way to shave 10 percent off your postal expenses. One labor-intensive yet effective method to trim your stamp expenses is to hook up with a stamp and coin collector shop and buy old postage at a discount.

The author of the Logos blog did just that. He says stamp shops buy old postage from collectors for pennies on the dollar and are usually willing to part with the postage for at least 10 percent below their value. It works because stamps don’t decline in value or expire.

From the post:

I went over to my local stamp and coin place and made a deal with them. They agreed to hand-apply the correct postage to my statement envelopes when they had down time if I agreed to buy my postage from them. Sounded like a no-brainer to me. They sold the postage to me for 10% off face value and applied it for free. Now I am saving 10% on all my postage and getting the labor for free in an expense category that I originally thought there wasn’t a penny to be saved in.

As a bonus, it seems like my invoices and statements are being opened more often. When my customers see the rare and often antique hand-applied postage stamps, they know a real person had to touch this envelope and not just a postage-meter or bulk mailer.

What tricks do you use to save money on stamps?

The Secret to Beating the Postage Increase [Logos]

Comments

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  1. hypochondriac says:

    Weird, I always thought old stamps would be worth more then face value not less

    • Beeker26 says:

      They can from a collector’s point of view, but not for use as actual postage.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        From a collectors view, most recent small denomination stamps are made in such large quantities that it could be decades or more before they are worth more than face value (quarters from the 60′s are listed on ebay for less than $1 with no bids), so there is no premium for the collection value of the stamp. From an actual postage view, they ARE worth face value. However, most people would rather stick one “Forever stamp” on, than 6 individual stamps of smaller denominations. What’s happening here is the stamp and coin dealer has a hoard of small denomination stamps that aren’t worth more than face value. They’s decided to take a 10% hit on the value they paid for them (assuming they paid face value), just to get them sold. They’d rather get 90 cents on the dollar today, than wait 20 years to get 100 cents.

  2. Hoss says:

    I bought 100 Forever stamps from an eBay auction for under $40. I don’t know, don’t care where they came from

    • P41 says:

      …if they’re real. Right?

    • Griking says:

      Until your sent mail starts getting returned to you due to insufficient postage.

    • JANSCHOLL says:

      Forever stamps if legit are good for forever. You don’t have to add postage. I bought some three years ago and still haven’t used but one. Guess the PO doesn’t like me anymore. I make handmade greeting cards-maybe I should divest myself of those too and just send them anonymously to people and lighten my stash of both.

  3. alSeen says:

    I don’t often say this, but that’s brilliant.

    Probably won’t be able to do this forever since it depends on the shop having postage they want to get rid of.

  4. Mike says:

    Finally, a use for this stupid stamp with the upside down plane that I have had for years.

  5. macoan says:

    I would also think stamps… along with coin & bill collecting – that the value would NEVER be below face value.

    Could you image going into a coin/bill collector, and having them say “Oh, this $100 bill is not that old or rare, so I’ll sell it to you for $75″

    • pythonspam says:

      I’ve got some confederate $100′s I’d love to sell for $75…
      It only has actual value now if it is collectible or if it has value now.

      • macoan says:

        I would hold on to that….. once the south rises again, they will again be worth face value!

      • huadpe says:

        The stamps in this case do have value now. It’s like finding an old silver certificate bill. Regardless of collector value, it is still legal tender currency for the face value.

    • econobiker says:

      Yeah people are silly to sell stamps at below value to a coin/stamp business. We found a couple of sheets of some old stamps in a used book and determined that they were not collectible- bingo all mail sent in the next month had these stamps on them- screw the cents overage on the postage since the stamps were free to us.

      • DFManno says:

        What happens is that a stamp dealer gets called in to appraise Granddad’s stamp collection. The kids need/want to sell the whole collection, but the dealer only wants certain stamps. The dealer makes an offer for the whole collection, culls the valuable stamps, and is left with a bunch of common stamps that won’t appreciate in value. He sells them at a discount, making up the difference on the valuable ones he’ll sell separately.

    • Wireless Joe says:

      Could you image going into a coin/bill collector, and having them say “Oh, this $100 bill is not that old or rare, so I’ll sell it to you for $75″

      I see you’re also a fan of Pawn Stars?

    • FLEB says:

      Not necessarily, but it’s not hard to imagine, “I’ve got 200 5-cent stamps of no collectible value. Please, for the love of all that is holy, take them from me and give me some token sum of money, and spare me the shame of having had to go to the stamp and hobby shop across town, in this weather, to throw them in the wastebasket.”

  6. outoftheblew says:

    I was wondering why anyone would sell the stamps to the stamp shop for pennies on the dollar. Article gives me the reason:

    “Eventually they pass on and their heirs inherit tons of old postage with no special collectable value at all. They can’t use that much postage themselves, so they sell it to the local stamp and coin place at pennies on the dollar.”

    • Rachacha says:

      When my Mother in law passed away, she had TONS of old stamps. We have steadily been using them, but there are times when we have to put 4 stamps on an envelope to get the right combination. With electronic bill pay, we send fewer and fewer letters and the letters we do send we often times care about how they look, so combining an old Bugs Bunny with a Betty Boop and a couple 1 cent stamps just does not work, especially if the envelope is small.

    • econobiker says:

      Maybe sit out in front of the post office and sell them for 50¢ on the dollar…

  7. gamblepsu says:

    You still can pay 1st class packages with stamps and pay the difference with cash right? It would seem odd to sell under face value

  8. flipflopju says:

    If you’re sending out invites for weddings, this is a great way to do it. Plus, the mix and match method is really popular right now. Like so: http://www.storkie.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/wedding-invitations-stamps-galore.jpg

    • FLEB says:

      Looks really great how they did it, but: Ornate script on an address? I bet they made some enemies at their local post office, especially if it was a well-attended wedding.

  9. tingeyga says:

    I just buy mine at Costco. There you save $0.25/100 stamps.

    Not as big of a savings as the OP, but seemingly much less effort involved.

  10. coren says:

    I was a bit confused by his statement that postage rates were about to go up 5 percent until I realized this was from 2007.

  11. clickable says:

    That’s pretty cool. Not having a shop like that nearby, I’ve invested in a goodly supply of forever stamps, and an even goodlier supply of 1¢, 2¢, and 3¢ stamps, to fill in when necessary. The thing that makes it bearable is that I bought a ton of the Simpsons stamps when they came out and use them as much as possible. Except that I’m hoarding the ones with Maggie and Lisa.

    • missdona says:

      Kudos to you for figuring out how to make the ¢ symbol.

    • Joedel263 says:

      Forever stamps are good forever.. you don’t need the extra cents with them if the cost goes up..

      with a value stamp you’re paying for the service when you use it. with a forever stamp you’re paying for the service when you buy it.

      five years from now when first class postage costs $10 a letter, one forever stamp will still work mail it.

  12. Beeker26 says:

    I also have to wonder why so many people are still using stamps. If I use 5 a year it’s a lot.

    • Southern says:

      Wedding invitations, birthday cards, holiday cards, actual old fashioned HAND WRITTEN LETTERS.. There’s still a few reasons to need stamps. Plus not everyone still pays bills online, some people actually DO still pay their bills by mail, with a check, and use the pre-addressed envelope that’s (usually) included with the bill.

    • energynotsaved says:

      I also use stamps for donation checks. I like having a ‘hard copy’ of my donation (yes, I print a copy of it from my online statement.) To support someone who is going through a rough time, I send a funny card weekly. So, I guess I’m unusual. I need and use stamps.

  13. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Or… It’d be even cheaper to rob a philatelist.

  14. bd_ says:

    Hmm… If you were to use too-old stamps, couldn’t this result in delays for manual processing if the auto-cancellation machines can’t read them?

  15. gman863 says:

    On packages, I make my own postage at home and save – literally.

    If you ship Priority Mail, you can print and pay for labels using a credit or debit card at http://www.usps.com for about 8% less than using stamps or paying at the Post Office – plus schedule a free carrier pickup.

    USPS.COM and any local Post Office also offer free Priority Mail shipping boxes. On packages under 5 pounds, it usually costs less to ship Priority Mail than Parcel Post when you factor in both the online discount and what you save on boxes or shipping envelopes (not to mention the time and gas on a trip to the Post Office).

    • dilbert69 says:

      I ship parcel post using recycled boxes and don’t have to pay the exorbitant Priority Mail rates OR go to the post office.

  16. purecajn says:

    i had a buddie who once showed me how he could wash the postal ink off the stamp allowing him to reuse around 80% of the stamps from letters that were mailed to him. Only you had to use a paste stick to reapply, as the original glue is gone. He took a plain bar of soap (saying a he liked if it had a little lye in it) and a cup of water and made a thick sludge (not using the whole bar ) he’d then allow it to soak for about 3-4 days, chkin from time to time, and the ink just bleaches off. I assume the stamp ink is a oil base and the postal mark is soybean based which allows this to happen.

  17. purecajn says:

    i had a buddie who once showed me how he could wash the postal ink off the stamp allowing him to reuse around 80% of the stamps from letters that were mailed to him. Only you had to use a paste stick to reapply, as the original glue is gone. He took a plain bar of soap (saying a he liked if it had a little lye in it) and a cup of water and made a thick sludge (not using the whole bar ) he’d then allow it to soak for about 3-4 days, chkin from time to time, and the ink just bleaches off. I assume the stamp ink is a oil base and the postal mark is soybean based which allows this to happen.

  18. purecajn says:

    i had a buddie who once showed me how he could wash the postal ink off the stamp allowing him to reuse around 80% of the stamps from letters that were mailed to him. Only you had to use a paste stick to reapply, as the original glue is gone. He took a plain bar of soap (saying a he liked if it had a little lye in it) and a cup of water and made a thick sludge (not using the whole bar ) he’d then allow it to soak for about 3-4 days, chkin from time to time, and the ink just bleaches off. I assume the stamp ink is a oil base and the postal mark is soybean based which allows this to happen.

    • gman863 says:

      If the Postal Inspector ever figured this out your friend would have to practice not dropping his plain bar of soap in the shower.

  19. Harmless Gryphon says:

    You can take most recent stamps back to the post office for credit. I had a number of old stamps, penny makeups, priority mail and overseas letter, and a lot of outdated first-class. I didn’t want to stick a dozen stamps on a letter so I took them to a post office. They were able to take most of them back for credit and issue the first round of forever stamps instead.

    There were a few that were “not in the computer,” and they couldn’t issue without a certain level of supervisor’s approval. Since said supervisor wasn’t there until after 11PM, I called it a wash and gave the oddballs to a friend.

    It turned out not to matter for me anyway. I was in the process of going all electronic on my payments, and only sent one letter in 2010, and this letter contained the only paper payment I’ve made in the last year. City I live in, when are you going to get online filing for taxes?

  20. FixinTo says:

    Unfortunately, the P.O. has stopped this practice. I have always enjoyed using attractive stamps, and am always finding old sheets of stamps around the house, so I use 4-5 old stamps (to reach 44 cents) on greeting cards and the few bills I still have to pay by mail… It doesn’t take too much time, the envelopes end up looking pretty festive, and at least I won’t have to purchase more stamps until I use these up.

  21. mdoneil says:

    2007, really? 2007?

  22. 4Real says:

    I thought you cant use old stamps.

  23. dilbert69 says:

    I buy my stamps for face value at a grocery store and use a credit card that gives me 5% back at grocery stores. It occurred to me that stamps might be excluded, so I tested it at two different stores, and they’re not.