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You don't need to be a total geek to appreciate the value of stamps.
They're the next best thing to gambling or playing the stock market for people who mail letters more than once a year. Learning to buy when the cost is low can save frequent posters a lot of money in the long run.
And if those concerns sound familiar to you, right now is the time to stock up on stamps for Christmas 2019.
Rates are set to go up, up, up in the new year, so thrifty people are already collecting Forever Stamps (which keep their value no matter the rate) before the historic price hike.
Here's a preview of the expected rate changes, which should take place January 27, 2019 (these are not set in stone yet and could change).
The cost to send a First Class Mail letter will go up to 55 cents (rising 5 cents). However, the extra fee for every ounce after the first is decreasing from 21 cents to just 15.
If that five cent bump strikes you as nothing major, you're wrong. It's actually the Post Office's biggest price hike since 1991.
Prices on Priority Mail Express are also expected to rise 3.9%, meaning a 1 lb package in Zone 8 that currently costs $35.04 would jump to $36.52 in 2019.
But not every price is going up next year: the cost for Large and Flat First Class Envelopes will stay at $1 for the first ounce and an extra 15 cents for every ounce afterward. Postcards will also stay put at 35 cents each.
If you regularly ship packages or letters, either for your home business or because you just love snail mail, it will pay to print postage online from a vendor like Stamps.com.
Metered Mail with stamps from these sites will save you a nickel at 50 cents each, but that's still a hike from the current price of 47 cents.The extra ounce charge for Metered Mail will also change to match the one for regular mail, dropping to 15 cents from 21 cents.
If all these changes are making your head spin, here's the long and short of it: buying stamps for a typical letter will cost more after January 27, so this is a good time to stock up on Forever Stamps.
For certain types of mail, like wedding invitations, the new lowered rates for extra ounces could actually save you some money.
But, overall, thrifty folks will buy a book of stamps before the rate change, and should consider using Metered Mail from a service like Stamps.com to ship packages and mail at a discount.
[H/T: Chatham Journal]