Writing and sending letters have been the standard of constant communication in the past, despite long distances and occasional meetings. As one sits down and starts writing a letter, they can pour out everything they have to say through their handwriting. For mailing enthusiasts, they can even play with various stationery with different colors, finishes, and designs, depending on the style and mood of the letter.
While writing letters became a notable part of history, letters sent in and out of post offices have significantly decreased. With the advent of new technology, people can now reach one another with a mere touch on their devices. In one survey, 37% of Americans haven’t written a personal letter on paper in over five years, while an alarming 15% have never tried it.
First Things First, Why Do You Need Stamps In Your Package?
Before sending letters or parcels in the United States or essentially every country in the globe, you’ll have to follow standard procedures. Whether you’re sending a domestic or international package, conducting detailed steps will ensure that your package will be sent to the rightful recipient and prevent it from getting lost.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve packed your parcel and are about to drop it off at your nearest post office before going to work, school, or an important errand. Then, the post office asks you to attach your stamps, but you have the slightest idea what stamps are. If it’s your first time sending a letter or parcel, you might get confused about putting stamps in your package. Are stamps mandatory? Aren’t they just for design? Which stamps should I stick onto my package?
Essentially, a postage stamp is an adhesive piece of paper attached to a mailing package, implying that the sender has fully pre-paid for the postal service and delivery fees. Postage stamps come in different shapes like square, rectangle, circular and triangular stamps.
Aside from using them as proof of payment, stamps can define how quickly post service providers will deliver your mail to its final destination. In the world of letters and mailing, postage stamps serve as its currency. The higher you’re willing to pay for postage stamps, the faster your package can arrive at its recipient.
Since not many people are used to sending letters and packages, this USPS stamp guide can answer your mailing questions regarding the use of stamps. Moreover, keep reading through this article to know how many stamps you need, some tips on getting postage stamps, and finally, completing your mailing process.
How Many Stamps Do You Need?
Since packages are different from one another, various factors directly affect how many stamps you need to attach to your parcel, which includes but are not limited to:
- Weight and size of the parcel
- Location of the recipient
- Mail class
Also, take note of the name of the stamps that will be mentioned, as it can be the only stamp accepted according to your package. For a more concise explanation, you can start with differentiating domestic from international shipping:
For domestic shipping in the United States, you’ll only need one Domestic Forever stamp costing USD$0.55 for the first ounce of your letter. For every ounce added to your letter, you’ll have to pay 15 more cents for an Additional Ounce stamp. With such a low price, your letter will immediately arrive after 1 to 3 working days.
Meanwhile, if you’re shipping postcards, which are cheaper than letters, you need to pay for one Postcard Stamp for USD$0.35. You can also attach a Domestic Forever stamp, but keep in mind that it’s more expensive.
Shipping your letters and packages overseas are charged differently, so it’s worth discussing the most common shipping first, which is international shipping to the United Kingdom and Canada.
For packages sent to the United Kingdom, you’ll need one Global Forever stamp priced at USD$1.20. Alternatively, you can also use the Domestic Forever stamps, but you’ll have to attach the number of stamps to make up for USD$1.20, which is around three Domestic Forever stamps.
When sending a letter to Canada, you can use one Global Forever stamp. Meanwhile, if your package exceeds two ounces, you’ll have to buy extra stamps adding up to the price.
If you’re still uncertain about which stamps, how many, and how much they will cost in total, you can search the official website of your post office and find their online postage calculator. This way, you can get prepared before dropping off your package.
Some Tips When Buying Mailing Stamps
The best place to get your mailing stamps from is right at your post office! When heading to the post office to drop off your package, don’t stress yourself from buying in stationery shops as you can get stamps of different types for different envelope sizes right there.
You can obtain single, ready-to-use stamps from the post office and its self-service kiosks. For a book of stamps, you can also buy from Walmart, Amazon, and the like. On the other hand, if you’re looking for collectible stamps for your hobby and safekeeping, they can be more difficult and pricier to find. They can be found in specialty stores, antique shops, and fellow philatelists or stamp collectors.
What Happens If You Send A Package Without A Postage Stamp?
Stamps are a must-have in domestic and international packages, but where does your package go without a stamp? Once letters are piled up, they get sorted using automated equipment. If your package is unlabeled with a stamp, it will be scanned by a special scanner and separated from the labeled ones. A postage team member will examine your letter to check which postage stamps are missing.
There are two routes your letter can proceed to:
- It will be returned to your address
- The recipient will have to pay for the missing stamps, and in some cases, an additional charge for insufficient postage
If you’ve realized your letter was sent without a stamp, here are some options you can conduct right away:
- Contact the post office
- Refer to the local postman
- Inform your recipient about the missing stamps
Addressing your packages to the correct recipient is more important than you’d imagine. As the heart of mail deliveries and postages, stamps play a vital role beyond giving your letters an aesthetic look, but also providing convenience and functionality to the mailing process. To deliver your letters and packages seamlessly, it’s your responsibility to inform yourself about the procedures of sending one to the post office, particularly which and how many stamps you’ll need for a specific package.