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Why Do Stamp Prices Keep Increasing?

Utility bills and correspondence, which were once regular sources of revenue for the U.S. Postal Service, are declining because of the Internet.
Stamps once were the main way to send communication, but the postal service has been hurt by modern methods and forced to raise stamp prices.
Liberty Bell forever stamp.
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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2014
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Like many things, stamp prices are closely tied to the cost of doing business. When fixed costs go up, often the postal service, no matter which country is running it, has no choice but to increase postage prices. It is usually a combination of factors that prompt stamp prices to increase. Still, there are things a consumer can do to protect themselves from such increases. Some of these options have only become available in recent years.

Two things can cause any business, including the postal service, to fall into financial difficulty. One of those things is a decrease in revenue, caused by fewer customers or fewer purchases from those customers. The other thing is an increase in expenses. While it may seem as though many postal services have a monopoly on the business of sending things, many have learned that is not the case.

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One of the biggest reasons the U.S. Postal Service has given for the increase in stamp prices is the fact there are fewer people sending things with first-class postage. Many private individuals use first-class stamps, simply because that is the only option available to them. In the past, these stamps were used to mail bills on a monthly basis. However, fewer people are sending payments in the mail, with the advent of Internet banking and phone payments. Further, because of the use of e-mail, personal correspondence by mail has also dropped off substantially. Therefore, the postal service has increased stamp prices to offset some of this loss in business.

With the cost of fuel and other expenses going up, the pressure has further been put on to increase stamp prices. Fuel is a major expense for the U.S. Postal service, which keeps a large fleet of automobiles and planes in order to move mail across the country and across the world. Those machines collectively require a substantial amount of energy to run.

The U.S. Postal Service realizes that an increase in stamp prices is not received well by the general public. Therefore, it has implemented something known as the forever stamp. This stamp can be bought at current prices for first-class stamps but never expires or needs additional stamps. Those who want to guard themselves against further increase in stamp prices can purchase these stamps in large amounts. This also has the added benefit of giving the postal service revenue up front for services it may not be required to perform for years.

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Discuss this Article

ddljohn
Post 3

@ysmina-- I can't blame USPS for the price increases. It's not just competition and gas prices, the overall economy and inflation has a huge impact on USPS too.

USPS is one of the vital services in the US, it has been around forever. I don't think they are too keen on increasing mail stamp prices. They do it because they have to, they don't have enough revenue to cover all their expenses.

Plus, the increase in price is so little and the cost of sending mail in general is pretty low! I don't think we have the right to complain about this. We're already paying a very understandable price for the services USPS provides us. I've lived in several other countries before and believe me US is one of the most affordable places when it comes to reliable mail service.

ysmina
Post 2

@burcidi-- Yea, I agree with you. I just wish all first-class stamps were made into forever stamps. I've made the mistake of buying a whole book of regular first-class stamps before. I always ended up getting more stamps to be able to send my mail when the year changed over.

Does the USPS lose money from forever stamps? Why don't they make all first-class stamps into forever ones? If they are trying to please customers, that would definitely please me.

I don't really understand why USPS stamp prices change so much. It's not the only thing they profit from. The way I see it, USPS profits enough during Christmas time to keep running all-year.

burcidi
Post 1

I've been buying forever stamps for the past couple of years and I love them. I used to buy regular stamps before but anytime there was an increase in postage prices, I had to get additional stamps to send mail.

Even if there is a one or two cent increase in the price of stamps, you have to get two cent stamps to add onto the envelope. I find this annoying and a waste of my time, so I just get forever stamps instead.

I do pay a little more for forever stamps because they are first class and not regular. But that's fine because it saves me money in the long term since I buy them in bulk. I never have to worry about price increases and all my mail gets sent first-class. It's a win-win situation. I hope the Postal Service always has this policy in place.

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