When it comes to mailing packages within or outside the USA, keeping an out on the postage rates and the postage stamps is important. If you don’t want to have your mails returned due to improperly paid postage, then you need to carefully affix the postage stamps for your packages. Most of you are probably wondering “how many stamps do I need to affix on my letters and postcard?” Even if you’re familiar with using the USPS services, you might have had a certain level of confusion when you think of the postage stamps. Well, based on the variety of stamps and their varying prices available in the market, things can get pretty confusing. Anyway, what else are we here for? We have made this simple and easy-to-understand guide that can help you out.
How Many Stamps Do I Need
Before we answer the question “How many stamps do I need”, let’s dive into the history of postage stamps? What led to the creation of postage stamps and why were they used?
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You probably know this, but the letter was hand-stamped initially, which was made from items like cork or wood. The handstamps were inked and stamped on the mails; this stamp was used as a verification that the postage was paid by the customer. During those years, the cost of using an envelope to cover the letter was deemed extra as it increased the cost of shipping a letter. The sender would send the letter by sealing it with an envelope and the receiver on the other end would have to pay for the delivery fee. As the fee was considered expensive, many recipients stopped accepting letters.
To cope with this, few users decided to come up with unique ways to send the message without having to pay a single penny. It worked in their favor in the following way; the sender would send the letter with a secret code on top of the envelope, the recipient will read the secret code, understand the code, and refuse to accept the letter. In this way, they were not only saving money, but they were also transmitting the important message without paying a dime. To prevent the customers from cheating, the postal services came up with postage stamps. The senders first had to pay the fee for the postage and then they can ship mails.
The first postage stamp was developed by Sir Rowland Hill which was called a Penny Black. This postage stamp was issued in the year 1840. Penny Black was valid for only two days after which the Two Penny Blue stamp was released.
How Do Stamps Work?
As mentioned earlier, the working of stamps is relatively simple. A stamp is a government-issued paper that is mounted on top of the packages which are ready to be shipped. When a postage stamp is affixed on the parcels, the sender is paying for all the shipping, traveling, and insuring costs. Initially, the postage is determined based on the size, weight, and shape of the parcels. After calculating the postage, the stamps are affixed to the package.
During shipping, the USPS officials mark the parcels with the date and origin of shipping so that the stamps cannot be reused by the customers. Most postage stamps are denominated, i.e., the value of the postage is mentioned on the stamp along with the name of the government that is issuing the stamp. Some stamps are non-denominational, i.e., they can be used even if there is an increase in the price of the stamps.
Now, let’s answer the actual question, “How Many Stamps Do I Need”?
How Many Stamps Do I Need
Now to answer the most awaited questions; how many stamps do I need for postage? The amount of postage you pay is based on the following factors:
- The weight of the package
- Size and shape of the packages
- The destination country that you are mailing the package to
How Many Stamps Do I Need to Send a Letter in the United States?
As per the recent changes in the price scale, i.e., the envelope weight per stamp, a first class mail stamp costs 58 cents. A significant charge of 20 cents is added to your postage with an increase in every ounce. If you are mailing a letter that is less than one ounce then you will need to affix a first class postage stamp of 58 cents. As the size of the mail keeps increasing, you need to apply the postage of a value that is equal to the weight of the letter. To calculate the weight of the letter, you can use a kitchen scale or drive to the local post office to have the letter measured.
The maximum weight of the first class mail letters is 3.5 ounces. If the weight of the letter is beyond 3.5 ounces, then it is considered to be an envelope.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for Mailing a Postcard?
If you are sending a postcard within the United States, then you might need a postcard stamp worth 40 cents. You can use a Forever stamp worth 58 cents to pay for the postage, but you will end up overpaying for 18 cents. A mail qualifies as a postcard if it is rectangular and has a minimum size of 3-½ x 5 x 0.007 inches and a maximum size of 4-½ x 6 x 0.016 inches.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for Mailing an Envelope?
Large envelopes are also known as flats and they have a starting price of $1.16. Envelopes must also be rectangular and must have a maximum of 15 x 12 inches and the weight of large envelopes must not exceed 13 ounces. The envelope must not be bulky and the thickness must be uniform. These envelopes are used for mailing important documents with an A-4 size. You can use two domestic First Class Forever Stamps to pay for an envelope weighing 1 ounce.
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Remember that all the mails should not be overweight, bulky, or have an uneven thickness. If found so, then these mails are classified as non-machinable, meaning they cannot be processed by the automated machines. These mails need to be processed by hand and additional postage of 15 cents will be applied to your mails.
How Many Stamps Do I Need if I’m Mailing a Larger Package?
If you are mailing a larger package then it is better to use the online USPS postage calculator to determine the amount of postage you need to pay. You can also carry your package to the USPS post office to determine the postage amount. You can find out the postage amount in the following way:
How Many Stamps Do I Need: Calculating Postage
Now, that you have an answer to “How Many Stamps Do I Need”, let’s check out how to calculate the postage.
How Much Postage Do I Need if I’m Using a Postage Calculator?
Before using a postage calculator, you need to calculate the weight and size of your package accurately, as this determines how much postage you need to pay for your package. You can either use a measuring tape or a ruler. Make sure to calculate the thickness of the package as well as it also contributes towards determining the overall size. To calculate the weight of the package, you need to place it on the measuring scale. Make sure to use a scale that can determine the weight of the package in ounces.
You need to classify the mailing classes of the items that you are mailing with USPS. Based on the items that you are sending, you need to classify your items in the right shipping category. Now, move to the Postage Price Calculator site and input all the information asked on the site.
In the next step, you need to divide the price of the postage that you are using with the price of the stamp. The number you get as the result is the number of stamps that you will need for your package. If you get a fractional value such as 3.16, then you need to round it up to the next highest value, i.e., 4. Buy the number of postage stamps required and paste it in the upper right corner of the package.
How Many Forever Stamps Do I Need if I’m Weighing a Package at the Post Office?
If you can’t weigh your items at home, then you can take them to the post office instead. Any item that is overstuffed, overweight, or has an irregular size can be taken to the post office to be measured. Bring your package(properly packed and sealed) to the post office and hand it over to the clerk who will measure it for you. The clerk might ask for some information about the parcel to give you the accurate postage price. You can buy the labels then and there and pay for the postage at the postal office itself.
What Is the Best Method With Which You Can Add Stamps to Your Parcels?
As mentioned earlier, you need to place the stamps properly and accurately to send the package to its destination without any hassles. Although this might seem like a simple procedure, it might get a bit overwhelming if you have no idea what you are doing. You can always ask for help by visiting the local post office if you do not have any idea about how stamps work. Here is a simple walkthrough of how you can calculate the postage for your parcels.
- Measure the weight and dimensions of the parcel accurately with a scale-sensitive measuring tape. Remember that if the weight of the package is within 13 ounces, then it is considered a letter whereas if the weight of the package is more than 13 ounces then it is called an envelope or a flat.
- Based on the measurements, classify them among the mailing classes and buy the right amount of postage for it
- While placing the stamp, remove the sticker from the back and place it properly in the top-right corner of the parcel. If the stamp isn’t adhesive, then it is best to use glue. Never cover the stamp with tape as tapes prevent the stamps from being scanned and processed.
- Finally, mail the package by placing them in your PO box, or drop them at the collection box or the post office.
Stamps Per Weight of the Parcels
Here is a list of the updated postage prices for mailing First-Class letters and envelopes.
- The standard first class letters should be rectangular and have a postage price of $0.58.
- Any irregular or oversized letters are priced at 88 cents
- The first class postcards have a postage rate starting from 40 cents. The irregularly shaped postcards are priced at 58 cents
- Large envelopes are priced at $1.16
- Small packages have a starting price of $4.30
- The first class letters should have a weight limit of 3.5 ounces
- First class envelopes and parcels should follow a maximum weight of 13 ounces
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Hope you finally found the answer to “How many stamps do I need?” with this article. Calculating the postage prices is easy if it is done carefully and as accurately as possible. If not, then the chances of mailing our package to the destination are very slim. If you are having a hard time calculating the postage on your own, then visit the post office, as they will get it done in less than a few minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)
You need a single Forever Stamp. As of 2021, the cost of a first class forever stamp is 58 cents.
The first class letter must be within 3.5 ounces whereas the envelopes and small packages must be within 13 ounces.
Mails that cannot be processed by automated machines have an additional surcharge of 15 cents.