The 2014 Stamp Price Increase: How Much Does it Cost to Mail a Letter?

by Michael on Jan 25, 2014 · 4 comments

Photo of an Old Mailbox

Guess what? Stamp prices are going up. Again. Effective tomorrow (Jan 26, 2014) a first class stamp will increase from 46 to 49 cents.

That’s for a 1 ounce letter. Additional ounces will likewise be increasing from 20 to 21 cents. And postcards will go from 33 to 34 cents.

Stamp prices have increased annually since 2006. That’s when the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act gave the USPS the freedom to make inflation adjustments without having to ask for permission.

But this increase, at 6.5%, is significantly higher than the inflation rate. What’s up with that? Well, this time around there’s a standard 1 cent inflation adjustment plus a temporary 2 cent “exigent rate increase” to help offset recent losses during the postal slowdown that occurred during the Great Recession.

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This additional 2 cent increase is supposedly limited to two years, though the USPS is apparently planning to appeal that decision. Their hope is to make the full increase permanent, though it’s unclear how that will play out.

Oh well, at least the introduction of Forever stamps has made such price increases less complicated for consumers. Gone are the days of having to maintain a supply of 1 cent stamps to round up older denominations to the new rate.

1 Jon @ MoneySmartGuides January 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

I think USPS is genius in creating the forever stamp. Now we are not reminder at the price of each stamp, only when we buy a book of stamps. It’s a great mental trick into lessening the anger and outrage over price increases. Now, the news barely mentions an increase since your forever stamp isn’t affected by the increase.

2 Amber A March 7, 2014 at 9:57 pm

For the sake of sounding stupid I’m going to ask this: So if I buy (let’s say) a 24 count book of forever stamps & then two days later the price of stamps increase, do I need to start using two stamps to ensure my 1 ounce letter arrives at its destination? What about the same except its a postcard? Hope this makes sense.

3 Michael March 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Nope, forever is forever. Once you’ve bought them, you can use them in the future no matter how high the price of a stamp goes. No more 1 cent (or whatever) stamps to round up after a price increase. I believe that postcard stamps still have a value printed on them (currently $0.34) which means that you’ll need to add more postage for those if the rate increases in the future.

4 Amber A March 10, 2014 at 4:20 am

Thank you !!!! 🙂

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