Forever stamps have gotten a lot more expensive, relatively speaking.
The price of a first-class forever stamp went up a nickel Sunday, from 50 cents to 55 cents. That 10 percent increase is the largest single price jump in the history of the Postal Service, the Associated Press reports. The Postal Service has been running a multi-billion dollar deficit for years, and the price increase is an attempt to contend with an America that just doesn’t send as many letters as it used to.
The Postal Service lost $3.9 billion in 2018. First class mail volume decreased by about 2.1 billion pieces. People are using different methods to send messages and money, Postmaster General Megan Brennan said. “The flawed business model imposed by law continues to be the root cause of our financial instability.” According to USA Today, “it was the 12th year in a row the agency reported a loss despite growth in package shipping.”
It will also cost more to send a package using Priority Mail. The price of a small box rises from $7.20 to $7.90; a medium box increases from $13.65 to $14.35. This could have a real effect on Postal Service revenue. However, while first class mail delivery has fallen, the Postal Service’s package business has grown. 2018 saw an increase of almost half a billion additional packages compared to the year before. President Trump once called out the Postal Service for charging too little to deliver packages. “Should be charging MUCH MORE!” he wrote on Twitter.
There is some good news for consumers: The cost of a postcard will stay the same at 35 cents, and the cost per additional letter ounce is actually decreasing from 21 cents to 15 cents. So, if you’re about to send wedding invitations to your 200 closest friends, the good news is you’ll be saving two dollars.
Forever stamps were introduced in 2007 to make life easier for people who didn’t want to contend with adding 1- and 2-cent stamps to their mail every time the USPS increased prices. By 2011, most first-class stamps in the U.S. became so-called forever stamps. They can always be used to mail a one-ounce letter, no matter how much prices might increase in the future.
Some on Twitter have idly wondered whether the Postal Service has created a moneymaking opportunity for those who might wish to buy low and sell to others when the price of stamps inevitably goes up again. But that strategy is unlikely to be successful, writes Washington Post columnist Allan Sloan.
“You shouldn’t treat Forevers as an investment because they don’t produce any current income and those of us who are average postal customers can’t buy or sell them in enough quantity to make any serious money.”