(This is my annual update - with current prices)
So, what does it take to mail a stamped card? Especially if the card isn't totally flat (because you know how much we love our embellishments!) And what size is legal? There are so many questions about postage, I thought I would share some answers with you today.
First, how much? A first class letter costs $.49 to mail (or a Forever stamp). That price is for an envelope that is no heavier than 1 ounce, is between 3-1/2" x 6-1/8" high, is between 5" and 11-1/2" long, is less than 1/4" thick, and has uniform thickness. Oh, and the envelope has to be "machinable", meaning the envelope can go through the sorting machines. Clear cellophane envelopes are not considered "machinable". A second ounce will cost you $.21 more. I finally found a use for that Weight Watcher scale; dig yours out and start weighing your cards! Add another $.21 for non-machinable, rigid, square cards, and "lumpy" envelopes.
By the way, those "lumpy" envelopes still need to be no thicker than 1/4". If they are between 1/4" and 3/4", they are considered "large" envelopes and the postage is more. Large envelopes are 6-1/8" to 12" high, 11-1/2" to 15" long, and no more than 3/4" thick. Large envelopes that are rigid, lumpy, etc, will have to be mailed as packages. Which of course, costs more. Large envelopes cost $.98 for the first ounce and $.21 for each additional ounce.
Wow, that seems like a lot of rules! And there are actually more. For actual prices, guidelines, etc, visit the US Post Office website at https://www.usps.com/
This is what I do:
- Put the card in an envelope and address it. If there is anything sticking out (brad, bow, etc), I put a piece of packing tape over the lump so the envelope won't rip.
- Weigh the envelope.
- Go to the Post Office website and enter the appropriate information ("from" zip code, "to" zip code, weight and what I think it is (envelope, large envelope, or package).
- Calculate what stamps I will need. If it is a package and more than a dollar or so, I will go to a website that I found that tells me how many of which stamps I need. When you go to the site the first time, you tell it which denominations of stamps you have and then it remembers that information for the next time. Very cool.
- Hope I figured right! Most of the time, I put $.70 on my cards. They are almost always lumpy or a little heavy... sometimes both. Please let me know if you get a card from me and have to pay extra postage - I would feel bad!
I keep track of my postage (I buy my postage online at that same Post Office website) in a book using 6 sheets of Designer Paper and my Rubicoil machine. Each pocket holds different demoninations. Here are a couple of the pages:
If this is too much to keep track of, you can do what some of my friends do: Use 1 stamp for a flat envelope or 2 stamps for a lumpy one. Who knows? It might work!
I still think that mailing letters is a bargain. Less than a dollar to give the most perfect gift: a hand-stamped card from your heart. I can't tell you how many times someone has told me how much their day was lifted when they opened the mailbox and received a card.
How much to mail a hand-stamped card? Probably $.70. Value? Priceless!
What does it mean for you to received a hand-stamped card? Leave a comment and tell me!