How to Know How Many Stamps to Use

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You have your letter or package ready to send, but how many stamps do you need before you mail it? Don’t worry – with the right resources, it’s very easy to calculate postage for any package. To help you get started, we’ll teach you how to use the postage calculator for quick and accurate results. Are you already at the post office? Go to Section 2 for a simple guide on personal postage calculations. Before you know it, your letter or package will be ready to go!

  1. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 1

    Use the Forever stamp for most standard mailings. One Forever stamp will suffice to ship one item in a business envelope measuring 11.5 inches (29 cm) by 5 inches (13 cm) and weighing 1 ounce (28 g) or less. Anything larger will require additional postage, which you can add up using the postage calculator. The easiest way to go if you need specific postage is to use an online retailer to get the stamps you need. To buy stamps online, go here.[1]

    • As of February 2022, the cost of a Forever stamp is $0.58.[2]
    • Forever stamps are useful for mailing letters, cards, and paper items that weigh less than 1 ounce (28 g).
    • To send a standard business envelope somewhere outside of the United States, you’ll need to use a Global Forever stamp. At that time, Global Forever stamps cost $1.30 each.[3]
  2. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 2

    Measure envelopes or packages that are larger than the standard size. Using a ruler or tape measure, find the length and width of the envelope. For bulky packages and envelopes, be sure to specify the thickness in addition to the length and width. The total size of the item will be used to determine shipping costs.[4]

    • Take exact measurements to be sure. You can always round them up or down, depending on the instructions the postage calculator gives you.
    • Stamps are generally not used for large packages, which will need to be mailed instead of snail mail.
  3. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 3

    Weigh your envelope if you have included gifts, photos or other extras. To do this, it will be necessary to use a scale sensitive enough to register the weight of the object in ounces or grams. Ordinary kitchen scales will work well for envelopes and small packages. Heavier packages can be placed on the digital bathroom scale.[5]

    • Most postage calculators will ask you to round the weight of the item when calculating the cost of postage.[6]
    • If you do not have access to a scale, please take your item to the post office. They will be able to weigh it and ship it for you.
  4. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 4

    Please specify the kind of course you want shipment. There are 3 standard classes of mail: ground, priority, and first class. When deciding which class best suits your needs, consider the weight of your item and how quickly you need it to get to your destination.[7]

    • Items shipped via ground mail (sometimes called “standard shipping”) usually arrive within 2-8 business days. Ground is most useful for sending large amounts of mail at once, handling large packages, and saving money on non-urgent items.[8]
    • With Priority Mail, delivery is guaranteed within 1-3 days. To make shipping large items more affordable, you have the option of shipping in a flat rate envelope or box, which costs a fixed price regardless of weight (up to 70 pounds (32 kg)).[9]
    • First Class Mail also usually goes out in 1-3 days, but shipments are limited to a 13 oz (370 g) weight. Heavier items require additional postage.[10]
  5. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 5

    Please include the item information in the shipping cost calculator. In addition to the size, weight, and class of your envelope or package, you will be asked to enter the destination, the destination zip code, your zip code, and the date and time of shipment. Once you’ve submitted your item details, you’ll be shown the shipping costs, which you can then use to calculate how many stamps you’ll need.

    • If you live in the US, please use the United States Postal Service (USPS) online postage rate calculator by visiting this link: https://postcalc.usps.com/.
    • Please enter your item details as accurately as possible to ensure you are paying for the correct postage.
  6. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 6

    Divide the cost of the postage by the cost of the Forever stamp. The number you get is how many stamps you will need. If your postage is $2.32, for example, you would divide 2.32 by 0.58 to get 4. So you would need 4 stamps.

    • Remember to round up if necessary to ensure you have enough postage, as it is not possible to use a fraction of a stamp.
    • Alternatively, you can purchase special stamps that are used to make up the difference in additional postage. Additional stamps are sold in smaller denominations, such as 1-cent, 2-cent, 3-cent, 5-cent, and 10-cent. You can find various brands online here.
  7. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 7

    apply your stamps. Remove the backing of the stamps and press them onto the envelope or package. If possible, place them in the upper right corner or some other place where they are clearly visible to the postmaster.

    • Arrange multiple stamps in 1 or 2 rows, making sure they do not overlap.
    • If you are having trouble affixing the stamps correctly, take them to the post office and ask one of the clerks for help.
  8. Image titled Know How Many Stamps to Use Step 8

    Take items that require more than 1 stamp to the post office. Overstuffed envelopes, large packages, and anything else weighing more than 13 ounces (370 g) cannot be sent through a residential PO Box. You will need to take these items to the post office for shipping. When you get there, hand your item directly to one of the staff on duty for processing.[11]

    • Postal officials can also help you calculate the cost of postage and sell you the required number of stamps directly at the post office.
    • In many areas, the postal service will allow you to print a shipping label and schedule a home pickup if you prefer not to go to the post office.
  1. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 9

    Take the sealed package to the post office. Make sure the flap holding the envelope or package is closed. Your item must be properly addressed and must not contain superfluous information that could confuse postal workers, such as old shipping labels or unnecessary labels.[12]

    • To save time, please ensure your items are loaded, sealed and addressed prior to arrival.
    • If you’re running low on supplies, you can also purchase mailing supplies like envelopes, stationery, and postage stamps here.[13]
  2. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 10

    Ask them to weigh your item. Tell one of the service staff that you need to know the weight of your package to calculate the correct postage. They will put it on the scale and give you a price on the spot.[14]

    • The postal clerk may also ask for some other information, such as your zip code, the address of the item, and whether you want it shipped via priority or first class mail.
    • Priority mail usually arrives faster, but first class mail is cheaper. However, please note that you can only ship First Class items if they weigh 13 ounces (370 g) or less.
  3. Image titled Know how many stamps to use Step 11

    Place the required number of stamps on your item. After affixing the stamps to your envelope or package, give it to the postal worker. Since you are already at the post office, you also have the option of simply paying for postage, in which case the clerk will print and affix a postage label indicating the cost of the shipment.[15]

    • It will be cheaper to use your own stamps if you brought them with you than to pay for postage separately.
    • If you’re not sure how to convert the postage price to the proper number of stamps, or you’d rather not bother, the postal clerk on duty will be happy to help you.
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  • Flat rate envelope or mailbox

  • ruler or tape measure

  • Scale (capable of measuring in ounces or grams)

  • Seals

  • Pencil

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