Since January 2019, the regular first-class rate for stamps increased to 55 cents. Depending on what you’re mailing, there will be plenty of times when you’ll wonder if you need one stamp or two. It’s inevitable! However, if you often make the mistake of overestimating the postage you need to send a letter, you are essentially throwing money out the window. While it might not feel like much when it’s “just a few cents”, these cents do add up over time.
Most letters that weigh less than one ounce nowadays can be sent with a first-class rate stamp for 55 cents. Adding a second stamp (when you don’t know the true postage rate for your letter), results in a very generous donation to the post office. Within this article, we’ll discuss a few other methods you can use to determine the correct postage, and ensure that your letter arrives safe and sound.
Generally speaking, you can mail 4-5 pages of regular paper, plus an envelope, for the regular first class (“one stamp”) rate. Heavier paper, rigid or oversized envelopes will cost more. You can get about 10 pages of standard page weight, plus an envelope, for the two ounce rate.
If you are sending a two-ounce letter, you are obviously over the one-ounce weight limit rule for one 55 cent stamp. A two-ounce letter costs $0.75 to mail ($0.55 for the first ounce and $0.20 for the additional ounce, per the January 24, 2021 price increase). If you place two 55 cent stamps on a two-ounce letter, you are overpaying at $1.10 (and you’ll never get that money back). You can imagine how quickly that can add up over time.
How Many Pages (or Pieces of Paper) Can You Mail with One Stamp?
When it comes to how many pages you can mail in a one-ounce letter, the answer is typically between four to six sheets of standard paper. Keep in mind that you also need to account for the weight of your envelope. As long as you are below one ounce (all-in), you’ll only need one 55 cent stamp. If you use heavy paper or larger envelopes, then the price of postage will increase.
If you’re anticipating the two-ounce rate, then you are looking at being able to mail about ten pages of standard paper with your envelope. If you aren’t sure about the weight of your envelope, keep in mind that every post office in the United States has a scale available. Experiment with the paper and envelopes you’re using and bring them all along with you to the post office. Here, you can mess around with different page quantities and envelope combinations. This is a sure-fire way to learn how to maximize your mailing efficiency.
Lacking a Scale?
While the solutions we’ve suggested above should work great if you have access to a scale, what if you don’t? If you cannot make a trip to your local post office (due to time constraints, for example), there are other strategies available to figure out the weight of your letter.
One way to do this is to understand the way letter paper is traditionally sold. Letter paper comes in reams, which means there are usually five hundred pieces of paper in every ream. Most reams of paper reveal a weight on their ream. Keep in mind that the weight on the ream can be a bit misleading because it’s not referring to the package’s total weight. Instead, the weight tells customers the total weight of the paper before it was cut down to the size of a letter.
When letter paper is packaged, its size is 8½ by 11 inches. However, it’s standard procedure for manufacturers to weigh letter paper when it’s still in its uncut size of 17 by 22 inches. Here’s how it breaks down:
Every uncut sheet creates four cut sheets once the process is complete. Therefore, the weight that you see on a ream of paper is actually four times more than what you physically have. The most prevalent letter paperweight you’ll see is twenty pounds (20# or 20lb). That means a ream of that same type of paper weighs five pounds once it’s been cut.
If your head is spinning after reading all of that, trust us, you’re not the only one! Scooping up a personal scale will always remain the most convenient method for prepping letters/packages for shipment. However, with the above information, you should be able to figure out how to calculate paperweights if you’re in a pinch (so that you’ll know how many stamps to use). It will take some mathematical calculations (and a lot of patience), but it’s certainly worth it in the long run, to hang onto your hard-earned cash.
Sending letters by mail can be a bit tricky when it comes to the number of stamps you should use.
This number relies on several factors. But, more importantly, it depends on the overall weight of your letter.
So, how many pages can you mail with one stamp?
Generally speaking, you can mail between 4-6 sheets of standard paper. However, this only works out if the overall weight of your envelope is below 1 ounce.
A bit confused? Let’s dive a little deeper.
- Why You Should Calculate the Right Number of Stamps Per Letter
- What Is Postage Rate?
- How to Know Your Postage Rate
- Postage Rate and Letter Weight
- Measuring the Weight of Your Letter
- Estimating Your Postage Fees
- Understanding Value Stamps
- Using a Postage Price Calculator
Why You Should Calculate the Right Number of Stamps Per Letter
Some people might not be aware of the exact number of stamps that they should include on their letters. Since they don’t know the postage rate of their letters, they might end up costing themselves extra money without realizing it.
The thing is, this additional money won’t return to you if you overestimate the postage price.
You might argue that it’s only a difference of a few cents. However, in the long run, each cent will add up, which could be wasteful.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can make sure this doesn’t happen.
What Is Postage Rate?
Now, before you learn how to calculate the correct number of stamps per letter, you must know what the postage rate is.
Simply, the postage rate is the amount of money charged by the postal service to ship and deliver your mail. The postage rate can highly differ depending on many factors.
Therefore, you need to make sure that you understand each variable before sending out mail. This way, you’ll be able to estimate how much money you’ll be spending.
You can determine the price of your mailed letter or package by paying attention to the following factors.
- The minimum postage rate
- The weight of your letter or package
- The class of the item you’re mailing
- The type and size of packaging or envelope
How to Know Your Postage Rate
The postage rate can differ from one year to another. And without some background knowledge of it, you won’t be able to estimate the cost of your letters accurately.
Luckily, there are postage rate charts that you can take a look at to know how much you’ll be charged. These can be of great help once you try to calculate the overall cost of the letter you need to mail.
Also, these guides contain all the data you may need about package shipping costs, international mail costs, priority mail, etc.
This way, you can always refer to these charts before sending anything in the mail.
Postage Rate and Letter Weight
Ultimately, the weight of your letter is the topmost determiner of how many stamps you should include. For instance, a 1-ounce letter costs 55 cents to mail. In this case, it’s called a first-class mail letter.
For each additional ounce, you’ll be charged 15 cents. But again, this only works if you’re using a traditional envelope.
On the other hand, if you’re mailing your papers in a flat/large envelope, the cost will be a bit higher. In this case, a 1-ounce letter will cost you 1 dollar. With each extra ounce, you’ll need to add 20 cents to the overall price.
Yet, figuring out the weight of your letter may not be easy since there are many factors at play here. You’ll need to calculate the weight of the envelope and the weight of the papers themselves.
Luckily, there are ways to do both effortlessly.
Measuring the Weight of Your Letter
Undoubtedly, getting an accurate measuring of your letter’s weight will help you determine the number of stamps needed. Since this will give you an estimation of the postage cost, there’ll be no room for surprises.
Now, how can you measure the weight of your letter?
Go to Your Nearest Post Office
Every post office in the US has a scale, which should make your task a lot easier.
Simply enough, you can take all the types of paper and envelopes that you wish to use to the nearest office. Then, you can experience with combinations of both until you figure out the right blend.
Still, not everyone resides near a post office. In fact, you may be too busy to pay the post office a visit. In this case, we suggest that you use another method.
Figure Out the Standard Letter Paper Weight
Another effective way to calculate the weight of your letter is to know how the paper you’re using normally weighs.
For example, letter paper is usually sold in reams, with each ream containing about 500 pieces of paper. Also, the weight of an entire ream is usually written on it. Yet, it isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Usually, the weight written on each ream can be inaccurate. It indicates the overall weight of the paper before being cut into the size of a letter. Therefore, you should make calculations of your own.
We’ll spare you all the details and only point out that the weight that’s written on a ream of paper is often four times more than what you really have. For instance, if you see that the given weight is 24 lbs, then you’ll know that the physical weight of the paper is only 6 pounds.
Now that you know how much an entire ream of letter paper weighs, you can easily figure out the weight of each individual piece of paper. However, don’t forget to convert that weight to ounces.
Weigh Your Envelope at Home
You may find the previous method tough. It requires a lot of calculations, which you may not have the spare time to do.
For this reason, we encourage you to use a sensitive scale, which you might already have at home. Luckily, ordinary kitchen scales have the ability to register the weight of envelopes in grams or ounces.
For larger packages or boxes, you can use a typical bathroom scale.
Either way, you’ll need to round out the resulting weight of any item to the nearest ounce.
Estimating Your Postage Fees
If you’ve already figured out the overall weight of your envelope by using a scale, the rest should be a piece of cake.
Yet, if you’re using the second method that you’ve mentioned above, you’ll have to calculate a few extra things.
Now that you have a clear idea of how much each paper weighs, you can multiply this weight by the number of papers that you intend to use.
For instance, if each paper weighs 0.16 ounces and you want to use ten papers, then the overall weight will be 1.6 ounces. You should also give some room to the envelope weight, which may leave you with a total of 2 ounces.
As we’ve discussed before, you should get one 55-cent stamp if your letter weighs less than 1 ounces. In our case, you may consider purchasing two first-grade stamps, which may not be the best idea.
Fortunately, you’ll find other stamp types at the post office. One, in particular, will only cost you 15 cents, which is what you exactly need at this point.
Therefore, to mail these ten papers, you’ll need only two stamps, a 55-cent stamp and a 15-cent stamp.
Of course, you can use this method whenever you need to mail a letter that weighs more than 1 ounces. All you have to do is add a 15-cent stamp for each additional ounce above the 1-ounce mark.
Understanding Value Stamps
Aside from these handy 15-cent stamps, you can find more options at the post office. These value stamps can give you the chance to cover additional ounces without the need to pile up unnecessary 55-cent stamps.
This way, you won’t be overspending your money on mailing letters or packages.
Using a Postage Price Calculator
Using a postage price calculator can spare you a lot of time and effort. All you have to do is enter all the data related to your letter, package, or shipment.
This information includes:
- Your Zipcode
- The destination country or the Zipcode of the location you’re mailing to
- The date and time when you plan to mail your letter
- The type and class of the item you’re mailing
Then, this tool will calculate the postage price for you after you provide it with the dimensions and weight of your package.
The best thing about this service is that it works with almost all types of shipments. You can use it to calculate the price of postcards, flat rate envelopes, boxes, and more.
How many pages can you mail with one stamp?
Since one 55-cent stamp is needed for a 1-ounce letter, you’ll probably end up mailing 4-6 pages of letter paper.
Of course, after reading our article, you’ll understand how we got that result. It mainly depends on the weight of your envelope, which you should be aware of before mailing it.
Once you are, you can use one of the many methods that we’ve addressed to figure out how many stamps you’ll need.