You’ve probably heard by now that the cost of a stamp is going up by 2 ¢ on Monday. I’m hearing a few people say “it’s time to stock up on Forever stamps”, but is that really a smart idea?
Let’s say you average using 20 stamps a month – 240 stamps per year. That is probably more than most people use, but if you count the stamps you use to mail Christmas cards and what not it’s probably a fair number. Way back in 2007, stamps were going for 41 ¢ each. Fast forward two years later, and in May they’ll cost you three cents more – 44 ¢.
If in 2007 you’d bought enough stamps to last you from May 2007 to May 2010, that would mean you bought 720 stamps at 41 ¢ each – a total of $295.20. If you’d had to buy stamps at the regular rate through that time period (from 41-44 ¢), you would have paid $304.80. Congratulations! You would have saved about $.27 per month!!!! Big money, baby!
So is it even smart to buy enough stamps to last for the next couple of months? Not really – you’ll save 2 ¢ per stamp, and unless you send a LOT of birthday cards, you’re not even going to save a dollar a month.
It’s great marketing – the postal service gets money now rather than later, but it’s really a bad deal for the consumer. The only way you’re really going to save by buying Forever stamps is if you buy enough to last the next 100 years when postage might be at a couple of dollars. But will the USPS even be around 100 years from now? And how much money could you have earned if you’d put the money you invested in stamps in even a simple savings account?
I’d rather keep my money in my pocket and buy stamps as I need them, rather than invest my life savings in pretty little bell stickers!
[This post was originally published on February 12, 2009]
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