In case you haven’t heard, new postage rates go into effect on Monday, May 12, courtesy of the USPS. And if you have heard about it, well, it still goes into effect on May 12. The cost of a first class letter will increase 1 cent to 42 cents.
You might be thinking, “Didn’t we just have a rate increase?” Actually, we did. In the past, increasing postage rates was a long and arduous task with studies, rate cases, hearings, and politics — yes politics played a role in the cost to mail a letter.
Now the process has been streamlined. (Isn’t “streamlined government” an oxymoron?) Each year postage will go up based on the CPI of the prior year. Note that not everything will go up that exact percentage (else we might be paying something like 42.1843 cents for a first class stamp), but that the overall net increase for all services has to match the CPI. This cuts out the studies, rate cases, hearings, and most of the politics.
If you will be driving to the Post Office to pick up some one-cent stamps to go with your remaining 41-cent stamps, I have a secret for you: the Forever Stamp. The Forever Stamp will be sufficient to mail a first class letter — forever, regardless of what the current rate may be.
It’s too late to take advantage of it for this increase, but next year, just buy the Forever Stamps and you will be covered. And if you want to make a long-term investment that will keep pace with inflation, just put your money in Forever Stamps. It will be a sound investment for as long as people mail letters.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.