Forever Stamps: What They Are and How They Work

Save Money on Mail-In Sweepstakes with Forever Stamps

Image of the 2007 Forever Stamp issued by the USPS.
Image of the 2007 Forever Stamp issued by the USPS. Image © United States Postal Service, used with permission.

What Are Forever Stamps?

Forever Stamps are first-class stamps issued by the United States Postal Service. What makes them special is that you can buy them at the current first-class postage rate, and they remain valid even if that rate rises in the future.

If you assume postal rates will always rise and never sink, then Forever Stamps are a good investment.

There's good reason to make that assumption, too.

According to a Wikipedia article on the history of US postage rates, the last time postage prices fell was in 1919, when the cost of mailing an envelope dropped from three to two cents.

Update: In April of 2016, the USPS dropped their first-class postal rate slightly, from $0.49 to $0.47 for a standard letter. You can read more in this USA Today article.

What Forever Stamps Are Worth:

Forever stamps don't have a dollar amount printed on them. They are worth whatever the first-class postage rate is on any given day. (If you're curious, you can check the USPS website for the current first-class postage rate).

So you can send a first-class envelope with a Forever Stamp today, tomorrow, next year, five years from now, no matter what the current cost is.

How Forever Stamps Work:

Forever Stamps are very 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.

Slap a Forever Stamp on your envelope, drop it in the mailbox, and voila, you're covered.

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 single stamp is worth the current first-class rate. So if the rate is $0.47 and you use two stamps, you will have $0.94 worth of postage for your package.

Be aware that you might save money by getting the exact postage you need on the at the post office or on the USPS website.

The Forever Stamp Program's Success is a Win for Everyone:

The Forever Stamp was so successful for the USPS that in 2011, they made all first-class stamps into Forever Stamps, with a few exceptions. In 2015, the postal service extended the Forever Stamp concept to postcards and more.

Why? According to a 2015 notice from the Postal Service, the Forever Stamps eliminate "the need for customers and the Postal Service to acquire and distribute new denominated stamps in anticipation of price changes affecting these stamp types, each time a price change occurs."

The Postal Service saves money when they don't have to collect and destroy outdated stamps. And customers are spared the inconvenience of having to buy stamps worth just a few cents to use their old stamps when prices rise.

Why Forever Stamps Are Great for Entering Sweepstakes:

If you enter mail-in sweepstakes, buying Forever Stamps can protect you from rising postage stamp costs.

For example, mailing an envelope with your entry form in it today might cost you $0.47. In the future, sending the same letter could cost you $0.55 or more. When you send dozens, or hundreds, of sweepstakes entries every month, those costs can add up.

Stocking up on Forever Stamps now mean that you won't overspend on your sweepstakes entries... as long as postage costs keep rising. If you think that postage rates will fall in the future, buying a Forever Stamp now is not a good decision.

Where to Buy Forever Stamps:

U.S. Forever Stamps can be purchased from the United States Postal Service at your local post office, online, or by telephone.

For people who live in other regions, the Canadian Post offers a similar product, the Permanent Stamp. Many European countries also have versions of the Forever Stamp.

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