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Want to stock up on stamps before prices go up? Here's how, where and why  5 Months ago

Source:   USA Today  

With the United States Postal Service set to increase the price of forever stamps by five cents on Jan. 27, now is the time to stock up on postage.

Here's how and where:

Where can I buy postage besides post offices? 

If visiting a USPS location is inconvenient, major grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as some banks and officer suppliers, sell booklets of stamps.

Walmart stores also sell booklets of 20 stamps, priced at 50 cents per stamp, for $10. Costco sells stamps in sets of 100. 

To find out what places sell stamps near you, enter your location in the Postal Service's finder tool here. Retailers that often sell stamps include Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Food 4 Less, U.S. Bank and Office Depot. 

The USPS sells stamps and shipping supplies on its website. USPS will then — surprise, surprise — deliver it to you. 

For do-it-yourself enthusiasts and small businesses, Stamps.com allows users to buy and print stamps and shipping labels from home. The USPS vendor sells postal scales so users can calculate exact postage, too. 

Amazon also sells books and rolls of stamps. 

First-class mail forever stamps can be used anytime after purchase, regardless of future price increases. One forever stamp will cover mailing costs for a 1-ounce. letter, shipped anywhere in the United States. The Postal Service began selling forever stamps in 2007, when they cost 41 cents. 

A book of 20 forever stamps in 2007 cost $8.20. After Jan. 27, that book will run $11. While 100 stamps in 2007 cost $41, they will soon cost $55.

How many letters and packages did the USPS ship last year? 

USPS handled 56.7 billion pieces of first-class mail in 2018, 2.1 billion fewer letters than the previous fiscal year. Online billing is a major cause of the downward trend in letter volume, USPS's CEO said in a press release.  

Package shipping, on the other hand, increased from 5.8 billion to 6.2 billion pieces in 2018. Although package volume has followed an upward trend, USPS said the agency overall shipped 3.2 billion fewer letters and packages last year.

The agency reported a revenue of $70.6 billion for 2018, which increased by $1 billion from the 2017 fiscal year. But with operating expenses increasing to $74.4 billion, the Postal Service lost $3.9 billion overall last year. Expenses went up, USPS said, because of increases in worker compensation and benefits, in addition to transportation expenses.

It marked the agency's 12th consecutive unprofitable year. USPS does not cost tax dollars, as the agency runs on the sale of its products and services.

 

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