After USPS raised prices for Forever stamps in January of this year, customers may see another rate increase for First-Class Mail stamps in July. If the Postal Regulatory Commission approves the proposed increase, it would be the 17th rate change since 2000…and the shortest time between rate increases in USPS history.
Why USPS is Planning Another Rate Increase
The Postal Service proposed another rate increase to offset expenses that rose due to inflation. In an official statement, USPS said the following:
“As operating expenses fueled by inflation continue to rise and the effects of a previously defective pricing model are still being felt, these price adjustments are needed to provide the Postal Service with much needed revenue to achieve the financial stability sought by its Delivering for America 10-year plan,” adding that “prices of the U.S. Postal Service remain among the most affordable in the world.”
How Much is USPS Raising Rates By?
USPS has proposed raising the price of First-Class Mail stamps from 63 cents to 66 cents, or approximately 5.4%. Comparatively, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index rose by 5% in March compared to the same period the year before. So, the proposed 5.4% rate increase would theoretically outpace inflation in the U.S. (which sits at 5% at the time of publishing this article).
While the potential rate increase applies to the price of First-Class stamps, Postal Service didn’t specify whether it planned to propose another rate increase for its shipping services.
How to Offset Rising USPS Prices (for Mailing and Shipping Services)
When USPS raises the prices of First-Class Mail stamps, there’s not much you can do to counteract that. Stamps cost pretty much the same anywhere you go, except for Stamps.com, which typically offers Forever stamps at a couple of cents below the market rate. However, it costs a monthly fee to create and maintain an account, and you’ll probably end up paying more money just to maintain your account than you would have paid to simply buy a roll of stamps at your local Post Office.
Shipping Software Helps Shippers Beat Rate Increases
For shippers, the best way to offset rising rates for shipping services is by taking advantage of USPS discounts through online shipping software. Since they have such large customer bases, shipping software companies partner with USPS to offer rates much lower than Retail pricing (which is what you’ll find at the Post Office). Think of it like buying in bulk at whole prices versus paying what you’ll pay at the store, along with everyone else.
The level of discounts that USPS offers customers through shipping software is Commercial Pricing, and it’s similar to the rates that huge shippers who send over 50,000 packages a year get. In some cases, Commercial Pricing rates will save you up to 89% off what you’d pay to ship the same package at the Post Office!
Whenever USPS kicks up its prices, Commercial Pricing rates also increase. However, the savings are so significant that you’ll still end up paying much less for postage than you would have paid at the Post Office before USPS imposes any rate increases.