united-states-flag-forever-stamp

What Is A Forever Stamp?

Forever Stamps are stamps that you can use forever!

What Forever Stamps Are Worth

Forever stamps don’t have a dollar amount printed on them. Instead, they’re worth whatever the first-class postage rate for a one-ounce envelope is on any given day. To find out what that amount is, check the USPS website for the current first-class postage rate.

This means that you can send a letter — or a sweepstakes entry — with a Forever Stamp today, tomorrow, next year, five years from now, no matter what the current stamp cost is.

How Forever Stamps Work

Forever Stamps are easy to use. Simply buy stamps at the current first-class rate and you don’t have to worry about how much sending a standard letter costs. Stick a Forever Stamp on your standard-sized envelope, drop your letter in the mailbox, and voila, you’re done.

You can use more than one Forever Stamp if you need to send a package or a letter that weighs more than an ounce.

Each stamp is worth the current first-class rate (not what you paid for them). So if you paid $0.49 and the rate rises to $0.50, you can put two Forever Stamps on a package to get $1.00 worth of postage.

You can also use Forever Stamps to send letters internationally. All you’ll need to do is to calculate the rate of your international letter or package and divide that amount by the current first-class postage rate to determine how many Forever Stamps you’ll need to cover the price.

Be aware that you might save money by getting the exact postage you need at the post office or on the USPS website rather than using only Forever Stamps. For example, if a Forever Stamp is currently worth $0.55 and you need $0.60 worth of stamps, you’d lose $0.50 if you use two Forever Stamps.

They’re non-denominated, meaning that they don’t state their monetary value. Instead, they come bearing the word “forever”, written with a diagonal strikethrough.

The first Forever Stamp came out in 2007, holding an iconic illustration of the Liberty Bell as a strong symbol of economic independence.

If you bought a booklet of these stamps when they came out, you can use them today without any extra cost.

Clearly, this system made the process much easier. By 2011, its unprecedented success coaxed the USPS into standardizing the Forever format for all one-ounce stamps, except for coils of 500, 3,000, and 10,000 stamps.

Contents

What Was It Like Before Forever Stamps?

To better understand how Forever Stamps revolutionized the industry, we’ll need to rewind time. Before 2011, all postage stamps had a specified monetary value denoting the first-class shipping price at the time.

With the ever-growing inflation, the shipping prices were always increasing. That forced the USPS to periodically print new stamps with updated prices.

Let’s provide real examples to put things into perspective. Starting from January 2006, people used to pay $0.39 for the one-ounce first-class postage. One year later, in May 2007, that price went up to $0.41.

If you wanted to use a 2006 stamp in 2007, you had to get an additional $0.02 stamp to cover the price difference.

Why was that bad?

Well, first, you had to visit the nearest post office more than once to send a letter.

And second, USPS had to allocate whopping loads of money to print those extra stamps, causing serious bouts of plummeted profits.

The Available Forms of Forever Stamps

Here are the shipping classes offered by the USPS in the Forever category.

Shipping Class Text On Stamp 2020 Value
First-Class FOREVER $0.55
First-Class Additional Ounce ADDITIONAL OUNCE $0.15
Two-Ounce First-Class TWO OUNCE $0.70
Three-Class First-Class THREE OUNCE $0.85
First-Class International GLOBAL $1.20
Postcard Rate POSTCARD $0.35

Saving Money With Forever Stamps

By default, Forever Stamps provide substantial financial and logistical value. Nevertheless, some people approach Forever Stamps as a form of investment.

By stocking up on these stamps, you’ll save a seemingly considerable amount of money. How much, exactly?

Well, to know that, we’ll need to trace the history of the US postage rates.

Announcement Date One-Ounce First-Class Rate
February 3, 1991 $0.29
January 1, 1995 $0.32
January 10, 1999 $0.33
January 7, 2001 $0.34
June 30, 2002 $0.37
January 8, 2006 $0.39
May 14, 2007 $0.41
May 12, 2008 $0.42
May 11, 2009 $0.44
January 22, 2012 $0.45
January 27, 2013 $0.46
January 26, 2014 $0.49
April 10, 2016 $0.47
January 22, 2017 $0.49
January 21, 2018 $0.50
January 27, 2019 $0.55

Based on the previous data, if you bought a booklet of 20 Forever Stamps for $8.20 in 2007, it’ll be worth $11 today — this might not seem like a large difference, but it’ll add up with larger amounts.

So all in all, you can save money by buying Forever Stamps in bulk.

Making Money With Forever Stamps

The fact that Forever Stamps increase in value by time begs a crucial question: Can you earn money by reselling your stock?

I know what you’re probably thinking; this might seem like a silly question at first.

If any product increases in value, reselling it in the future will undoubtedly earn you some cash.

But how will that “cash” compare to the inflation? Let’s see.

Postage Rate vs. Inflation Rate

As you probably know, the prices follow a quite steady inflation rate. Between 1991 and 2019, records reveal that prices bounced with an average of 87.71%.

If you calculate the inflation percentage for the postage rates, you’ll find that the price increased by 89.6% within the same timeframe.

Economic jargon aside, what does this mean for your investment?

After doing the math, it turns out that investing in Forever Stamps will generate less than a 1% profit each year — that’s way tinier than almost all known investments.

To put things into perspective, if you buy 100 stamp books for $1,100 today, you may resell them the next year for $1,111 only!

The Unfortunate Reality of Postal Business

To further prove my point, let’s take a look at the USPS’s annual revenue reports starting from 2007 — the year in which Forever Stamps were launched.

Year Net Profit
2007 $5.1 billion loss
2008 $2.8 billion loss
2009 $3.8 billion loss
2010 $8.5 billion loss
2011 $5.1 billion loss
2012 $15.9 billion loss
2013 $5 billion loss
2014 $5.5 billion loss
2015 $5.1 billion loss
2016 $5.6 billion loss
2017 $2.7 billion loss
2018 $3.9 billion loss
2019 $8.8 billion loss

If the company itself couldn’t make ends meet for 13 years, do you think you can do it?

Where Can You Buy Forever Stamps?

You can buy Forever Stamps at the nearest post office! I know that this sounds obvious, but it’s actually the method I recommend the most.

If postage seems somewhat overwhelming, the workers at your local post office will swiftly guide you through it.

If the nearest post office is considerably far, you’ll probably find discounted stamp books at Walmart and other large retailers.

You can also ask at grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and office suppliers.

If you want to abide by social distancing rules, you can purchase any of the available designs from the official USPS store.

DIYers will appreciate the service of Stamps.com.

Unlike USPS, Stamps.com won’t physically ship the postage stamps to you; they’ll send a digital version that you can instantly print on labels, envelopes, or plain paper.

Conclusion

What is a forever stamp?

It’s a stamp that you can use anytime in the future without any additional costs.

If you often use the mail, buying these stamps in bulk will save you a considerable amount of money.

On the contrary, investing in them with the intention of reselling will hardly be profitable.