Mark your calendar for this Sunday, July 9. For the second time this year – and the third time in the last 12 months – the price of postage is going up. A first-class stamp will cost 66 cents.
An advocacy group of consumers, nonprofits, newspapers, greeting card publishers, magazines, catalogs and small businesses – Keep US Posted – is cautioning that if such "unprecedented and excessive" postage increases continue, Americans could be facing a government bailout of the U.S. Postal Service.
“If you don’t have Forever stamps, now is a good time to stock up,” said Keep US Posted Executive Director and former Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.). "USPS has kicked off runaway 'stampflation' like the U.S. has never seen, and it's making the situation worse. Each time stamp prices go up, mail volume goes down at an even faster pace than projected, and meanwhile, USPS faces more internal costs updating its system to implement each postage increase. For example, after January's rate increase went into effect, mail volume immediately decreased nearly 9% year-over-year, while expenses increased by 16%.”
And it's not just postage stamps, either. The most recent USPS price guide that ConsumerAffairs reviewed also appears to include a hike for sending Priority Mail.
Much of Yoder’s disgust is directed at Postmaster General DeJoy who he feels plowed ahead with pre-planned stamp increases every six months even though Congress passed bipartisan postal reform legislation hoping to prevent excessive postage increases.
Should consumers load up on Forever Stamps?
Is Yoder’s suggestion to stock up on Forever Stamps a good one? If you think buying a truckload and selling them on eBay, the few pennies you’ll make on each one probably isn’t worth the investment or the time.
But, if you buy in bulk before the price hike -- say 100 -- you might have enough to last a few years and if the price hikes keep coming, your savings will be more considerable. It's something to think about when it comes to holiday cards, birth announcements, and wedding invitations, for sure.
In researching ways that consumers can save money on postage, ConsumerAffairs found it's mostly a penny or two here and there. You can save a little at Costco and Sam's, however, if you see a deal that’s too good to be true — like 20%-50% off — then, it probably is.
One option that a number of money-saving bloggers touted was Stamps.com, but it's somewhat of a double-edged sword. Because it negotiates postage rates with USPS, their prices are very competitive.
On average, their rate is $0.03 less than the Post Office and if you sign up for a free 4-week trial, you get $5 in USPS postage to use.
The downside to Stamps.com may be its customer service and billing processes. Before plopping down your credit card at the company's website, it may be wise to read the reviews -- and issues -- that other consumers have shared.