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U.S. Post Office Seeks to Raise Stamp Prices in January

Stampflation strikes again

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

Stock up on Forever stamps: The U.S. Postal Service wants to raise the price of a first-class stamp 3 percent, from 66 cents to 68 cents on Jan. 21.  A first-class stamp covers the cost to mail a 1-ounce letter; the cost of an additional ounce remains 24 cents.

Forever stamps aren’t the only item whose price is likely rising on the U.S. Postal Service’s menu.

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Metered letters would rise to 64 cents from 63 cents. Want to send a postcard? It will cost a bit more, if the proposals are approved. Domestic postcards would rise to 53 cents from 51 cents. Outbound international letters would rise to $1.55 from $1.50. The Postal Service also seeks price adjustments for Special Services products, including certified mail, post office box rental fees, money orders and insurance when mailing an item.

The postage price increases must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. If approved, overall postal prices will increase approximately 2 percent.

How much do forever stamps cost?

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

Since July 9, forever stamps cost 66 cents apiece. The “Forever” in their name means that that even after the price rises, a Forever stamp you paid 66 cents for 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 42 cents to mail a first-class letter today without additional postage.

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.

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


Jan 21, 2024


Source: Historian, U.S. Postal Service

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.

A 1-ounce letter cost 6 cents in 1863, according to the USPS historian, and 8 cents 50 years ago. When the new price goes into effect in January, the cost of postage will have risen from 63 cents at the end of January 2023 to 68 cents, an 8 percent increase. The consumer price index, the government’s main gauge of inflation, has risen 3.7 percent in the 12 months ending August 2023.

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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 U.S. Postal Service, 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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