Say hello to new postage prices in 2019 — and consider stocking up on stamps now. Starting Jan. 27, the U.S. Postal Service is rolling out updated mailing and shipping rates, including a 10 percent increase in the cost of ‘forever’ stamps, from 50 to 55 cents.
Percentage-wise, that’s the biggest jump in more than two decades The price hike comes after a year of revenue troubles for USPS, which reported a net loss of $3.9 billion in fiscal 2018. “The finances of the Postal Service are being challenged by electric alternatives and competition from other substitutes to hard copy mail, which decrease our revenue,” says USPS spokesman Carl Walton. “At the same time, our costs to serve the American public are increasing in areas such as transportation, health care, etc."
But not all of the changes, which were approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission in November, will cost consumers more money. The charge for mailing domestic postcards, for example, remains the same (35 cents). And the price of each additional letter ounce will decrease by nearly a third, from 21 to 15 cents. This means you’ll get modest savings on weightier letters, even after taking the initial stamp increase into account. A two-ounce letter, for example, currently costs 71 cents to mail, but will be 70 cents once the new rates take effect.
When it comes to packages, however, expect higher rates across the board. Shipping costs are increasing for both Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, with Priority Mail flat-rate retail prices rising an average of 6.6 percent. A medium flat rate box will soon cost $14.35 (up from $13.65), while a padded Priority Mail envelope will hit $8.00 (up from $7.25).
While there's not much you can do to avoid higher package prices, there's still time to buy stamps at their current rate. Head to your local post office, call 800-STAMP24, or visit usps.com/shop to stock up before the 27th.