Friday 3 January 2014

Save Money on Postage

Just so you know: The first part of this post - about the cost of stamps - is specific to Canada.  It's important enough to my Canadian friends that I really needed to share it. The rest of the information is pretty much universal though, regardless of where you live, so please do bear with me.

The two rolls of stamps in this picture costs $132.30, including taxes.  On January 13, they will cost $136.50.  On March 31, the same stamps will cost $210.00.

Please note:  Since the time I originally posted this piece, Canada Post has discontinued permanent paid postage stamps.  They will not be re-issuing them until after the price increase at the end of March has come into effect.  Shame on them, but - sadly - there's little we can do about it.  Costco has sold out their entire stock of these stamps too. 

Canada Post has stated on their website that stamps purchased after March 31 in quantities of a booklet or more will be discounted to $0.85 per stamp.  It's still a big increase but better than a dollar a piece.  They will also be honouring $0.63 stamps for a limited time after the small increase that is scheduled to come into effect on January 13 but definitely not after March 31.

I would recommend that you purchase a small number of $0.63 stamps to use between now and the end of March and that you save what permanent postage stamps you have on hand for use after March 31.

If you do a lot of personal mailing, or if you own a small business that does a lot of mailing, you will want to do what you can to reduce the impact of this very significant increase.  

Did you notice the little "P" in the corner of the stamps?  That "P" stands for permanent postage paid and what it means is that, if you buy these stamps now, you can continue to use them even after the price goes up.  If you have enough cash to do so, I strongly urge you to purchase some rolls of stamps now and within the next couple of months, even if you use a postage meter.  The metered rate will go up.  Pre-purchased stamps, while less convenient to use than a postage meter, will save you money.

Here are some other ways you can save money on postage and shipping.

Ensure that your cards and envelopes comply with your postal service's sizing standards.  If your envelope is over sized or has unusual dimensions, it can cost you extra postage. 

I do a lot of mailing and I make handmade cards.  I wanted to ensure that my cards complied with mailing standards so I purchased this handy mailing template from Canada Post.  You can also find envelope size specifications on your postal service's website.  A simple web search will yield the address of any national postal service.  Here are the links for Canada and the USA.  

If you're going to be mailing a lengthy letter, use both sides of each sheet of paper.  Reducing the number of sheets of paper used will help to keep the envelope thinner and will reduce its weight.  Both will help to reduce the cost of postage.  

If making a card that you will be mailing, try to keep your embellishments and decorations as flat and as thin as possible.  

If you're sending packages, smaller is better.  Package shipping used to be priced by weight.  Now it's priced by both volume and weight.  Mailing a large package can be very expensive, even if it weighs very little.  

Use the online package rate calculators provided by your postal service to estimate mailing costs before heading to the post office.  If you're sending a gift and the cost of mailing is likely to  equal or exceed the cost of the package contents you'll want to consider sending something else instead.

Compare rates.  There are lots of carriers other than the postal service with which you can send a package, including Greyhound, rail service, and courier services.  It may be less expensive to choose one of these carriers instead of the postal service.  

If you are a small business, inquire about rate reductions based upon shipping volume.  If you do most or all of your shipping through either the postal service or a private carrier, they may offer you a price reduction based upon the amount of mailing you do.    

Save the cost of mailing altogether:
  • Send a card and a promise to deliver your gift the next time you see the recipient.
  • Order through a company that offers free delivery and have the package delivered directly to the intended recipient.
  • Send gift cards or gift certificates.  

I hope this is helpful to you.  

If you're in Canada, remember to buy stamps before March 31!