Postage Rate to Increase in May

As if home-based agents didn't have enough to worry about in today's economy, now comes word that the price of a one-ounce first-class stamp will rise to 44 cents on May 11, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Postmaster General John Potter said the price of a stamp is going up because operational costs for the postal service are rising while the recession is dragging down mail volume.

"The Postal Service is not immune to rising costs which are affecting homes and businesses across America today," said Potter.

The new price is expected to add about $3 to the average household's annual mailing expenses, according to the postal service. For home-based businesses, that cost will be considerable more. The price for each additional ounce of first-class mail will remain at 17 cents.

Consumers weary of the persistent 2-cent rises in the price of stamps can stock up on Forever Stamps for 42 cents each until May 11. They can be used on one-ounce letters no matter what price they are purchased for.

The Forever Stamps "were developed to help consumers ease the transition during price changes," the Postal Service said. Their price will increase to 44 cents on May 11.

The price of several other mailing services will also go up on that day.

It will cost 1 cent more to mail a postcard, as the price increases to 27 cents. The first ounce of a large envelope will rise 5 cents to 88 cents, while the first ounce of a parcel also goes up 5 cents, to $1.22.

International mail prices will be 75 cents to Canada, 79 cents to Mexico and 98 cents to other countries for a one-ounce postcard or letter.

"Even with the increases, the Postal Service continues to offer some of the lowest postage prices in the world," Potter said.

The Postal Service annually adjusts the price of mailing services in May. Increases generally coincide with changes to the Consumer Price Index.