The United States Postal Service has struggled in recent years. There were marked delays in mail and package deliveries early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the issues have continued. The New York Times reported that the postal service delivered as low as 62 percent of first-class mail on time in December 2020.
The postal service needs to cut costs and improve its fleet of service vehicles. The USPS is looking for ways to stem its losses in the coming years. Part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year “Delivering For America” plan involves the raising of stamp prices again this month. If you send snail mail, what kind of price hikes can you expect?
New stamp prices
The price increases go into effect on Aug. 29. The prices for first-class mail will go up by 6.8 percent to offset decreases in the volume of that type of mail (the postal service notes that overall mail volume has dropped 28 percent in the past decade).
The changes include:
- First-class mail single-piece letters of 1 oz. are changing from $0.55 to $0.58 apiece
- First-class metered mail letters of 1 oz. are changing from $0.51 to $0.53 apiece
- First-class domestic postcards are changing from $0.36 to $0.40 apiece
- First-class mail of single-piece flats are changing from $1 to $1.16 apiece
- Outbound international letters are changing from $1.20 to $1.30 apiece
The postal service noted that even after the price increases on postage, the U.S. will still have some of the most affordable postage prices.
Should I buy Forever stamps before the price increases?
If you’d like to save some money on stamps and lock in the lower price, get to the post office or go online before Aug. 29. The benefit of Forever stamps is that they will always be valid, no matter how many price increases the USPS has to implement before you use them.
The price increases will impact Forever stamps, raising the price by three cents from 55 cents to 58 cents.
USPS 10-year plan
The U.S. Postal Service is implementing its 10-year “Delivering for America” plan to help it achieve net positive income within three years and to break even in operating performance over the coming decade.
Specifically, changes like the postage price increases are intended to help avoid $160 billion in projected losses over the next 10 years.
Postmaster General and CEO of USPS Louis DeJoy stated that the full implementation of the plan will enable the organization to “improve service performance dramatically by delivering 95 percent of all mail and packages on time, pursuant to achievable delivery standards,” according to USPS.com.
Along with price increases, the USPS will start lengthening the timeline for expected deliveries. Switching many deliveries from air to ground transportation is part of that arrangement.
USPS says that packages traveling the greatest distances will be impacted the most by the changes. Some first-class package services will have one or two days of transit time added to the expected total, but 68 percent of packages will keep the 2–3 day service standard.
Meanwhile, 61 percent of first-class mail and 93 percent of periodicals will remain on the same service standard.