If you are going to be sending envelopes through the mail you’re going to need to get your hands on a bunch of stamps from the post office. And while you could certainly by stamps individually every time you need to send something through the mail, the overwhelming majority of people decide to buy stamps “in bulk” – purchasing stamp booklets to guarantee that they always have stamps on hand when they need to drop something in the post.
But is this really the smartest move to make? Does it still make sense to find a book of stamps when you know prices of postage are going up in a year or two? How many stamps are you getting in a book and should you pick up a book or two?
Is there any way to save money on a book of stamps so that I cut down on my postage costs? We cover all of that (and more) in the rest of this quick guide!
Understanding First Class Postage
Right out of the gate, it’s important to understand that when you stick a stamp on an envelope and drop it into a mailbox (or drop it off at the post office) you are sending something via first-class mail with the USPS. The most affordable (and the most commonly taken advantage of) method for sending something through the mail, first-class USPS services give you an opportunity to send pretty much anything and everything through the mail as long as it fits in a standard sized envelope and weighs less than 3.5 ounces.
Parcels via first-class can also be delivered with just a stamp or two attached, as long as the entire parcel doesn’t weigh in at more than 13 ounces itself. Most of the time, though, people are going to either be sending letters to one another via this mail solution, responding to bills, invoices, and the like, or are going to be sending out – or receiving – business mail that doesn’t have to be registered or certified.
As a general rule, first-class mail has a delivery timeline of between one and three business days from the day that it is postmarked. Sometimes, however, that delivery timeline stretches a little longer – especially when you are sending something a bit further from your home.
A first-class letter sent across town, for example, is always going to take less time to reach its destination than a letter sent from Boston, Massachusetts to Anchorage, Alaska. Unlike other USPS offerings, however, the delivery schedule with first-class mail is always a rough estimate and not a guarantee.
How Many Stamps in a Book?
When you purchase postage for first-class mail you are going to be purchasing the stamps that all of us are familiar with, the kinds of stamps that you stick at the top right-hand corner of an envelope before you drop something in the post. The stamps come in a variety of different designs, with the USPS constantly releasing new designs, new collections, and new stamp books all the time.
It isn’t at all unusual for the USPS to offer dozens and dozens of different stamp designs throughout the year, often without though stamp designs ever returning again. That’s a big part of why stamp collecting is still so popular even today! In your standard stamp book, however, you’re going to find 20 individual first-class stamps ready to be applied to envelopes and cover the first-class postage for the contents within.
How Many Stamps in a Forever Stamp Book?
On top of standard first-class postage stamps, the USPS also offers what they call “Forever Stamps”. These stamps provide the same utility as traditional first-class postage stamps, with the main difference being that their value is always going to be worth whatever the current cost of first-class postage is.
For example, in January 2022 the price of first-class postage is $0.60 per stamp. Forever Stamps in January 2022 will also cost $0.60 per stamp, but if the price of postage goes up in the future (and it always does) those Forever Stamps will still be enough to get your letter through the mail without having to spend any more money whatsoever.
The price of postage could double or triple (or more) and you’d still be able to send your first-class letter through the post with just one Forever Stamp that you paid $0.60 for a year ago, five years ago, a decade ago – all without any headache or hassle! You also get 20 Forever Stamps in a book should you choose to go in this direction (and that’s never a bad move to make).
How Many Stamps in a Collectible Stamp Book?
As we highlighted above, the USPS is always releasing new stamp designs each and every year – with many of those designs only ever released in that year, never to be released again. This makes a lot of first-class and Forever Stamps highly collectible, particularly when you’re talking about stamps featuring popular designs that sellout rather quickly.
Recognizing that some collectors may not have an opportunity to get their hands on every single stamp design made available during a specific year has encouraged the USPS to create a product specifically aimed at those collectors. Each year, a 64 page hardbound book is released by the USPS called the “Collectible Stamp Yearbook”.
This book includes all of the collectible stamps from that specific year, a number that varies wildly depending on how many were released. The 2018 Collectible Stamp Yearbook, for example, included 81 different stamps – all of which were beautifully mounted on the pages with detailed information about the history of that design, the author of the design, and the significance of why that design was chosen.
The 2019 Collectible Stamp Yearbook, however, had 72 stamps on the 64 pages (a decrease of nine stamps from the year before). You never know exactly how many stamps you’re going to get in one of these yearbooks, but collectors can rest easy knowing that all of the special designs released in that 12 month block of time will be included for sure.
How Much Does a Book of Stamps Cost?
With first-class postage set at $0.60, and with 20 stamps included in every standard first-class stamp book, you can expect to spend $11 on a book of stamps right now. The easiest place to purchase a book of stamps from is your local post office, especially if you want to purchase standard or Forever Stamps that are available in a variety of the designs we mentioned earlier above.
Your post office is always going to have the widest array of stamps you to pick and choose from, and they are always going to have plenty of stamp books for you to purchase, too. If you’d like to purchase one book or 100 the odds are good that they are going to have more than enough stock to cover your needs!
Of course, there are other places that you can purchase stamps from as well. Grocery stores and pharmacies almost always have stamp books available on hand, as do a lot of third-party shipping companies and organizations.
Third-party shipping and delivery locations often have USPS first-class stamps available for sale as well. The UPS Store and FedEx might not have you covered in this department, but organizations and businesses that have modern mailboxes or cover shipping for all of the major organizations regularly have first-class stamp books on hand for you to purchase.
You may even be able to find stamp books available at gas stations, libraries, and other locations, too. Some stores even have stamp book vending machines!
Can I Get Stamps Cheaper Than From the USPS?
Believe it or not, there are some places where you can purchase first-class stamp books at less than face value – especially if you’re willing to shop online. USPS frequently offers discounts on stamp books (especially for certain designs throughout the year) if you order directly from their official website.
Stamps.com also regularly has promo deals and offers that reduce the cost of first-class stamp books significantly, though these deals can be hard to time. You never really know exactly when they are going to be active. Amazon and eBay are two other places you’ll want to check out if you’re looking to find a book of stamps at discounted prices. Again, the offers here can be a little bit hit or miss and you never know exactly what kind of stamp designs are going to be available.
Sending Mail Without Stamps – Is It Possible?
Yes, it is actually possible to send first-class mail without any stamps at all – though you’ll usually have to be a high-volume mailer (usually a business or organization) that sends a tremendous amount of mail on a regular basis to go down this direction. Those that do send a lot of mail have an opportunity to sign up for a mail meter, or the same kind of technology that big businesses use to send mail through the post with those “printed stamps” in the top right-hand corner.
Metered mail basically let’s high-volume mailers prepay for postage, usually helping them save a significant amount of money – but only if they are sending a lot of stuff through the post. As of January 2019, for example, postage meter mail cost just five cents per piece to be sent through the mail compared to the $0.50 that a first-class stamp cost at that same point in time.
That’s a significant reduction in cost to be sure, but businesses that were sending metered mail usually had to be sending thousands (not tens of thousands) of pieces on a regular basis to enjoy that kind of volume discounts. If you are not sending that much mail through the USPS the odds are pretty good you’ll want to stick to the standard first-class stamp books with 20 individual stamps, buying more as you need them!
Virtual Mailbox 101 – US Global Mail and The Modern Mailbox Service
Those looking for a more modern mailbox solution, tired of dealing with the post office or traditional PO Box options, are going to want to take a much closer look at everything US Global Mail has to offer. For more than 20 years, this service has been recognized as a real pioneer in the virtual mailbox world.
Making it a whole lot easier to manage all of your mail (not just first-class letters sent with postage stamps, but all of your packages and parcels as well), you’ll enjoy streamlined convenience, better security (not to mention privacy,) when you become a US Global Mail client.
To begin with, you’ll be given a physical street address instead of a PO Box number that you’ll be able to route all of your mail through. US Global Mail doesn’t just accept USPS first-class envelopes, but also accepts packages and parcels from all of the major shipping organizations – USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc. That doesn’t happen when you have a PO Box!
On top of that, when each new piece of mail arrives it is immediately scanned and a digital notification sent to your email address on record letting you know what’s in your mailbox. There’s no more trips down to the post office to see what came in that day, no more wondering what’s going to be in your mailbox when you arrive home from work, either.
You’ll then have the option to read all of the mail that you have had digitally scanned for you or have that mail forwarded to any mailing address you’d like (anywhere around the world) for up to 80% off of traditional retail shipping prices.
Combine that with check depositing services, enhanced privacy and security options, and a whole host of other benefits and it’s not hard to see why so many rely on US Global Mail to streamline their mailbox already.
If you’re interested in learning more about these solutions, or want to see what kinds of packages are available from US Global Mail, visit their website or contact customer service today.