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The cost of a stamp will jump 6 percent

The cost to mail a first-class letter will be 49 cents beginning Jan. 26. Here's why.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 26, 2013 2:42PM

This post comes from Karen Datko at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyNow's the time to stock up on Forever stamps. The cost to mail a first-class letter in the U.S. is rising to 49 cents beginning Jan. 26. That's a 3-cent increase.


The sweet thing about Forever stamps is that you can buy them now at the lower rate and they'll be good for mailing a letter whenever you get around to using them, no matter how much a new stamp costs then.

Mailbox (© Corbis

The price of a stamp was due to increase 1 cent next year because of inflation, says The Washington Post. At the request of the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Regulatory Commission on Tuesday approved the extra 2 cents to allow the struggling Postal Service to recover $2.8 billion in losses attributed to the Great Recession.

The 2-cent increase is supposed to be in effect for no more than two years, unless inflation allows it to stay.

By law, the price of a stamp can't grow faster than inflation, unless the commission says otherwise.

Overall, that's a 6 percent increase, the biggest in 11 years, the Post says.

The Postal Regulatory Commission also approved a 6 percent rate hike for bulk mail, periodicals and package service, says The Associated Press. A postcard will increase by a cent, to 34 cents.

People are bound to complain; businesses that depend on mass mailing have already done so. But I pity the poor post office. It seems that mail is a basic service that government should provide. Yet Congress years ago made the post office a self-supporting entity that's still subject to congressional control. It's supposed to operate like a business without the freedom to do so.

That's further complicated by the fact that people don't use mail like they used to. Why would we when we have email and online bill pay? AP says:

The post office has struggled for years with declining mail volume as a result of growing Internet use and a 2006 congressional requirement that it make annual $5.6 billion payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees. It has defaulted on three of those payments.

The post office would like to eliminate Saturday mail delivery to cut costs, but Congress won't go along.

What do you think of the rate increase?

More on Money Talks News:

Dec 26, 2013 4:14PM
Pretty cheap fare when a person can send a one oz. letter from Maine to Alaska for 49 cents, and have it get there within 3 days or so. All in all think the P. O. does a good job, considering they move more than a billion pieces of mail a year.
Dec 26, 2013 4:28PM
Lets get some facts straight about the USPS.

The cost of mailing a letter through the post office is CHEAP, even at $.49......hell, even at a dollar.  Try mailing a letter through UPS or FedEx and see what it costs.

Saturday delivery and rural post office locations are not the source of USPS budget shortfalls.  Congress requiring the USPS to fully fund their pension fund several decades in advance is the reason for their current money troubles.  Imagine if your company had to fully fund the pension of a 30 year old, for their retirement.

The USPS does not rely on tax dollars to operate.  The money one pays at their local office is the revenue they depend upon for operations.  That and junk mail, of course.

Every time the stamp rate increases or somebody has to wait in a line for more than 30 seconds, many people spew a frenzy of crap trying to convince us all that the USPS is worthless, greedy, and incompetent.  What a bunch of crap.  If y'all get your way, we'll be paying five bucks to send a Christmas card to granny and thirty bucks for a priority package through a private carrier.  Long live the USPS!

Dec 26, 2013 3:14PM
49 cents...why not just make it 50 and be done with the penny change
Dec 26, 2013 3:20PM
Picked up a roll of Forever stamps.   Should be enough for about 10 years.
Dec 26, 2013 5:22PM
49 cents is pretty cheap.  Here in Canada it is 63 cents for domestic mail, it is expected to go up in the new year and the service is lousy.  Since I live close to the border and have family in France, I go to the USPS and send my stuff.  It is cheaper (a lot) and even though I am not a US resident, the post office knows me now and greets me with a big smile.  Try this in Canada, Good luck !
Dec 26, 2013 3:31PM
make it 50 would make it much simpler and maybe the next hike could be avoided longer
Dec 26, 2013 4:37PM
old man 76 hits the nail on the head. Not only is it [by inflation means] extremely cheap to mail letters but it is also secure.
Chock two up for the USPS.
Dec 26, 2013 5:36PM
The U.S. Postal Service is still the best buy in town.
Dec 26, 2013 6:25PM
In the last 10 years I have never had a piece of mail lost. All items mailed by me or received by me have arrived without delay. It's a bargain to send something across the country for $0.49 with confidence that it is going to get there. Keep up the good work....
Dec 26, 2013 6:26PM
I like the post office. You know what you are getting for the value. You can take your packages to the post office and they will give you two versions of how it can get to the destination. You will always know that at Christmas that they will not give you a false hope that your package will arrive before Christmas if you did not send it in time unlike Fed EX and UPS. I remember when I was little that a post card cost a penny to mail and stamps were only 3 cents. So you people may grip about the postage, but in reality, stamps have not gone up much from the early 1960's like other things have. If people would just write more letters. What am I thinking of! If you are younger than 35, you probably don't know how to write a real letter. Most people don't even know that you are suppose to indent even using a computer for letter writing in business. How dare you business break the correct way of writing formal business letters. majority of teachers now days do not even teach letter writing in school. What if someone wants to send Grandma a letter? Ahhhh! come on people, stop emailing everyone and make life brighter for someone. That letter in the mailbox might be the only communication these people get. How many people is about to exchange email for the postal service. They been in business forever. Don't forget your Forever Stamps. They don't go up when the prices do, because they are special stamps.
Dec 26, 2013 7:59PM
USPS is Still a bargain. Solid receipt and delivery of my mail and packages for 25 years. Ups and FedUp are outrageously priced and give themselves constant "fuel increase" raises that never go away when fuel prices drop. Priority mail is a much more cost effective option in many cases.
Dec 26, 2013 6:46PM

FedEX wanted $49 to overnight some papers, I took it 3 blocks to USPS and they sent if for $14.

Will never walk in to a Fedex again for the rest of my life if I can avoid it, and I have no idea why anybody ever would.

(Been boycotting Memorex for 30 years now bcs of bad cassette tapes, so I'm really not kidding.)

Dec 26, 2013 10:06PM
Best post office in the world.....problem is people only want to complain.....things are good here...maybenot perfect but good.... Angry people of all politics need to grow up and quit with the temper tantrums.....

Good job USPS for being number one in world
Dec 26, 2013 6:51PM
I am and have been totally satisfied with the USPS. Great smiling service.

and no, I don't know anyone or have family that works for them.

49 cents is lower than they should have gone.

Dec 26, 2013 9:43PM

Guess whose packages arrived on time for Christmas? Oh, did I mention they came USPS.

Have a nice day.

Dec 26, 2013 5:14PM
Let's just say 50 cents,  shall we?  Yhat way the next increase can come a few months later.

Dec 26, 2013 9:56PM
If your company had Congress as its board of directors, you'd be screwed too!  The postal system has been in decline for decades and is probably no more than 25 years from being completely obsolete.  Yet, Congress makes the US Postmaster stuff our mailboxes on Saturdays...with stuff we don't even want! 
Dec 27, 2013 1:19AM
CPI Inflation Calculator
in 1988
Has the same buying power as:
in 2013
Not a bad deal! Back in 1988 a first class stamp was $0.25 and a gallon of Gasoline was $0.95.
Dec 26, 2013 5:36PM
End Saturday delivery.  I have a PO Box and pick up my mail three times per week.  That's plenty often enough for me.
Dec 27, 2013 12:00AM
To have a letter picked up at your door and delivered to the doorstep of almost any residence or office in the US for .49 is a great deal!  when you add forwarding service to anywhere in the US if the addressee has moved, at no additional cost, is terrific.  And then to return the letter to the originator if the addressee can not be found, at no additional cost, just can't get any better.  And to do this without any tax money from the government is just unbelievable.  There are those who complain, but they are the ones who are either uninformed or just complain to have something to do.
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