Where to buy stamps be­fore prices go up

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - Kristin Lam USA TO­DAY

With the United States Postal Ser­vice set to in­crease the price of for­ever stamps by 5 cents on Jan. 27, now is the time to stock up on postage.

Here’s how and where you can get 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 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.

Buy­ing postage on­line

USPS sells stamps and ship­ping sup­plies on its web­site. USPS will then de­liver them 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.

De­clin­ing busi­ness

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 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.

U.S. POSTAL SER­VICE

The U.S. Postal Ser­vice will re­lease its first scratch-and-sniff stamps this sum­mer.

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