If You Fall in One of These 4 Categories, You Should Buy Postage Now

A roll of stamps on a window sill.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder

Every time I mention I need to buy stamps, someone always scoffs, “Who uses stamps anymore?”

But every time I go to the post office, I end up in a line six or eight deep.

Mailing stuff is still big business. But it’s about to get a little more expensive.

This month, prices are going up from 50 cents to 55 cents cents per stamp.

Penny Hoarders know what this change means: The best time to buy postage is right now.

Why You Should Buy Stamps This Week

Unless you’re looking for a special edition postage stamp, most stamps are now labeled “Forever” instead of with a monetary value; you can use them regardless of the fluctuating price of stamps.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, the price for those Forever stamps will increase 5 cents. Here are the mailing price changes you need to know:

  • Letters (1 oz.): 50 cents to 55 cents
  • Letters (metered 1 oz.): 47 cents to 50 cents
  • Small Priority flat-rate box: $7.20 to $7.90
  • Medium Priority flat-rate box: $13.65 to $14.35
  • Large Priority flat-rate box: $18.90 to $19.95
  • Large APO/FPO flat-rate box: $17.40 to $18.45
  • Regular flat-rate Priority envelope: $6.70 to $7.35
  • Legal flat-rate Priority envelope: $7.00 to $7.65
  • Padded flat-rate Priority envelope: $7.25 to $8.00

If you fall into one of these categories, you should probably get in line to buy stamps or Priority postage right now:

1.You Actually Send Letters

If you buy a book of 20 stamps this week, you’ll pay $10. Next week, a book of stamps will cost $11. Five cents per stamp doesn’t seem like much, but think about how many letters you mail in an average year. If it’s more than 20 — people who still pay rent by mail, sing it with me — it’s worth stocking up now and saving a buck per book.

2. You Sell on Etsy, eBay or Another Online Platform

If you’re working to create an Etsy side business, and really if you sell anything online, you’ll probably see a small increase in the cost of mailing each package. A cent here or there? No big deal. But over the course of a year, the increase can mean hundreds in additional business costs.

Make plans now to adjust your prices to account for the postage increase. Then, buy whatever supplies you can before the price goes up on stamps or Priority flat-rate postage.

3. You’re Getting Married

There is a little good news — at least for those hearing wedding bells: The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced from 21 cents to 15 cents. So a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.

But you’re probably putting stamps on the invitation-response cards. And the save-the-dates. And all those thank-you cards you’re totally going to write within three months of the wedding.

I’m not saying you have to send all those items to have a fun wedding celebration. I’m just saying that if you plan to mail any of them, you’re about to pay a bit more.

4. You Want to Make Some Extra Cash

Did you know you can buy and sell unused postage stamps on eBay? Buy a bunch at 50 cents each now and sell them later as the price continues to increase. Bonus tip: Don’t just buy whatever stamp the guy behind the counter offers you. Ask for the cool stamps that collectors or letter-writing fanatics might be looking for later. Your profits may be small, but a small profit is way better than no profit.

What’s Up With All the Price Changes on Stamps? They’re Just Stamps

The price changes are actually more calculated than you might think.

In 2014, the U.S. Postal Service got permission to raise stamp prices by 3 cents (from 46 cents to 49 cents) for a two-year period. The hike was essentially a fundraiser for the Postal Service, which doesn’t receive any government funding — thus you still receive your mail during a government shutdown. Instead, it makes all its money off us mailing things.

Stamp prices are typically tied to the rate of inflation, so when the two-year special increase expired in spring of 2016, stamp prices dropped back to 47 cents — which was in accordance with the inflation rate.

This month’s increase is just another turn in the inflation game.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and on-air journalist at The Penny Hoarder.