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U.S. Post Office Hikes Stamp Prices in July

Stampflation hits for second time this year

spinner image a collage of various u s postage stamps through the years ranging from five cents to the forever stamp
Getty Images / AARP

Get ready for another bit of inflation news in your mailbox: The U.S. Postal Service hiked the price of a first-class “forever” stamp 5 percent, from 63 cents to 66 cents on July 9.  A first-class stamp covers the cost to mail a 1-ounce letter. An additional remains 24 cents.

Forever stamps aren’t the only item whose price rose on the U.S. Postal Service’s menu. In addition to raising the price of forever stamps, the U.S. Postal Service implemented other postage increases as well, effective July 9.

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Metered letters rose to 63 cents from 60 cents. Want to send a postcard? It will cost a bit more. Domestic postcards rose to 51 cents from 48 cents. Outbound international letters rose to $1.50 from $1.45.

How much do forever stamps cost?

Until July 9, forever stamps cost 63 cents apiece. But the “forever” in their name means that a single forever stamp you paid 63 cents for before July 9 will still send a 1-ounce letter to any U.S. address. You won’t have to add additional postage to make up for the price increase. You can still use an original forever stamp purchased 15 years ago for 41 cents to mail a first-class letter today without additional postage.

spinner image u s a first class forever postage stamp with image of liberty bell on the stamp
A forever stamp has the monetary value of a first-class stamp on the day it is used.
Getty Images

Forever stamps, introduced in 2007, are always equivalent to the current price of a first-class stamp. Since 2011, virtually all first-class stamps sold are forever stamps.

You can even use forever stamps for outbound international letters. You’ll have to add additional stamps to get to the correct amount of postage for international mail, however. For international letters, a forever stamp has the monetary value of the price of a first-class stamp on the day it is used.

What did a first-class postage stamp cost?



Jan 7, 2001


Jun 30, 2002


Jan 8, 2006


May 14, 2007


May 12, 2008


May 11, 2009


Jan 22, 2012


Jan 27, 2013


Jan 26, 2014


Apr 10, 2016


Jan 22, 2017


Jan 21, 2018


Jan 27, 2019


Aug 10, 2021


July 10, 2022


Jan 22, 2023


July 9, 2023


Source: Historian, U.S. Postal Service

The cost of a 1-ounce letter has increased 10 percent the past 12 months, compared with a 4 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index. A 1-ounce letter cost 6 cents in 1863, according to the USPS historian, and 8 cents 50 years ago.

Blame the internet

It's no secret that widespread use of email and the shift to online banking have taken a toll on the post office. People need fewer stamps for letters and bills these days, and businesses can reach customers more affordably and efficiently with email instead of junk mail.

The original U.S. Post Office Department, established in 1792 as part of the federal government, was reorganized in 1970 as the USPS, a separate agency, and generally receives no taxpayer money for operating expenses. According to a May 28, 2021, statement from USPS, the proposed postage price hikes are a first step in a plan to reverse a projected $160 billion in operating losses over the next decade.

A 2006 law capped postage increases at the consumer price index, the government's main measure of inflation. The same law, however, allowed the Postal Regulatory Commission to review the effects of the postage price cap, and in 2017, the commission ruled that the price cap hurt USPS profitability. In November 2020, the commission issued new rules that gave the Postal Service more flexibility when it comes to rate increases.

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