The USPS recently announced that they want to raise the price of stamps AGAIN. Now, technically, they’re only allowed to raise the price of stamps in accordance with the inflation rate, but this 2-cent increase is far more than the inflation rate.The Postal Commission will have to approve the increase, but you may be wondering why this keeps happening and what can be done about it.
Why Does the Price of Stamps Keep Increasing?
There are a few reasons why the price of stamps keeps increasing, but the internet is the primary one. Now that we send emails rather than letters and pay and receive bills online rather than by mail, the postal service’s first class mail service has rapidly dwindled. Most of the mail they deliver is junk mail, which commands a much lower rate than first-class mail.
The second reason is competition. FedEx and UPS have taken most of the package business away because many people simply don’t trust the post office to deliver their most important packages on-time.
The third reason is it’s just plain expensive to run a mail service. Several people have proposed privatizing mail service, but the simple fact is that no private company wants to deliver mail to every home in the U.S. It requires a huge workforce, which isn’t cheap. It also requires many offices, trucks, and other equipment. UPS and FedEx would have to charge astronomical rates to deliver magazines to every home in the US with the same efficiency as the postal service. It has to be done by the government because no one else wants to.
Should We Hoard Stamps to Fight the Increases?
When the price of the Forever stamps rises with inflation, you’re not really saving money because it costs the same in today’s dollars as it did to buy the stamps with yesterday’s dollars. However, when Forever stamp prices rise faster than inflation, you should consider buying a few extra books of stamps. They’re coming out with holiday Forever stamps this year – buy a few extra books.
Of course, that will only keep the cost of mailing a letter low. When the post office raises the price of stamps, they also raise the cost of shipping packages. Usually, the USPS is still the cheapest way to mail a package, as long as you don’t mind a little leeway in the delivery time. So, even if you hoard Forever stamps, you really won’t save that much money unless you never, even send packages and send a lot of cards and letters.
Personally, I’ll buy a few extra books if the increase goes through, but only 2-3. If I buy more than that, I’ll have to store them somewhere, which means I’m likely to forget I have them. Instead, I’ll stick with the convenience of buying a book of stamps when my old one runs out. It doesn’t cost that much more and I use them so infrequently that I can spot the post office a few extra cents to ensure that I keep getting mail.