Postage stamp rates have followed a slow and steady increase of about 1¢ per year in the last 20 years, at least when talking about domestic rates. This page goes through the factors that determine the postage stamp cost and how these prices are determined, as well as what you should expect to pay when delivering something by mail.
Basic Factors that Determine Postage Stamp Cost
The cost of postage stamps is determined by the US Postal Service™; however, the USPS has been running at a loss for the last few years with a quarterly loss of $2.1 billion reported in August 2017, even despite the significant price increases for package deliveries.
However, the type of mail is the first factor you need to consider when buying postage stamps, followed by the distance the envelope or package will need to travel to reach its destination.
The price of postage stamps is firstly affected by mail type. Mail type refers to the priority level of the shipping; the higher the priority, the higher the postage stamp rates.
First-Class Mail Domestic Postage Rate
This service is available for letters and small packages. Delivery takes 1-3 business days for domestic shipping, though it may take a little longer during busier periods, such as the holidays.
Applies to both letters and packages. Your delivery is guaranteed to arrive at its destination in a maximum of 3 business days.
Priority Mail Express
Guaranteed overnight shipment for domestic deliveries.
Another very important factor that determines how much postage stamps cost is whether you are sending your letter or package inside the US or overseas. In both cases, distance is also taken into consideration when calculating the price of postage stamps an envelope or package needs.
The Size, Shape, and Weight of the Envelope or Package
The price of a delivery is determined by the size, shape, and weight of the package or letter in question. If you want to calculate the exact price of postage stamps you will have to pay, you can use the postage stamp price calculator available on the USPS website.
Note: Certain USPS services benefit from a discount if you purchase from a licensed postage services vendors, such as Stamps.com.
How Much Does a Postage Stamp Cost?
Just how much is a postage stamp? The table below shows the current postage stamp rates offered by the USPS.
|Postage Stamp Type||Postage Stamps Cost / Rates|
|Domestic||First Class Mail Letter||$0.50 (+ $0.21 for each additional ounce)|
|First Class Mail Flat||$1 (+ $0.21 for each additional ounce)|
|Priority Mail Express||$21.98+|
|First Class Package Service||$2.66|
|International||First Class Mail Letter||$1.15|
|Priority Mail Express||$40.38+|
|Priority Mail (Canada)||$31.35+|
|Priority Mail (Other Countries)||$38.24+|
|First Class Package||$15.20+|
A first class postage stamp costs $0.50 at the moment. The price was raised from $0.49 at the beginning of 2018. Each additional ounce for a first class package will add $0.21 to the total cost of the package. A postage stamp for a metered letter now costs $0.47 instead of $0.46 and the price for domestic postcards was raised from $0.34 to $0.35.