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Tag: Forever Stamps

One Stamp or Two?

Wouldn’t it be great to hold the power of postage decisions in the palm of your hand? And I’m not talking about using your hand as a scale. That’s so 1847…

Wouldn’t it be great to hold the power of postage decisions in the palm of your hand? And I’m not talking about using your hand as a scale. That’s so 1847…

The question has been plaguing me for years… One Forever stamp or two? If you fold more than two letter-sized sheets of paper into a standard envelope with only one stamp, I’ve always felt that all bets are off. Three sheets… you’re pushing it. Four sheets… definitely not.

But I’m not a human scale! How is a person really supposed to lift a letter, raise it up and down in the palm of your hand a few times and somehow figure out if it’s under one ounce?

So inevitably I’d just throw on the extra stamp, just to be sure.

And what happens to your letter if it’s a smidgen over the weight limit? It’s supposed to get returned to you, right? The next day? The next week? The next month?!

It’s like a kindergarten-style ‘time out’ for your letter. That’s a big-time punishment you really want to avoid!

Stop the Madness
And it all feels like such a business model holdover from 1847 when U.S. postage stamps were first issued.
Punishment for trying to mail an extra sheet of paper?!

If you ask me, the United States Postal Service should come up with its own Amazon Prime-style shipping model, where you pay a fee to the government once a year to simplify your letters’ mailing costs. Wouldn’t that be so much easier? But for now, we’re on our own to find a solution.

Technology to the Rescue?
I’ve finally decided this should not continue to be one of the many mysteries in my personal universe…

In an age where technology has made our lives easier on so many fronts,
(and more frustrating on just as many others)
…can’t a little tech help us out here?

Well, thankfully, I’ve already solved the conundrum of keeping up my stock of stamps at home.
(I just order them online…)

Scale Up
I think the obvious next step would be to acquire a scale…

And granted, I know anyone can set themselves up as a mini personal post office, complete with postage printer and large scale. But I don’t need to start my own package delivery company… I just need a tiny scale to handle the occasional letter.

Sure… scales have been around for years…nothing cutting edge about that, but I only require a really small digital one. Something thin that can be stashed away like a book on a shelf.
(I’m not giving up any real estate for permanent desk placement.)


The Price is Right
I took a look on Amazon, and of course, there’s a whole selection of postal scales waiting for you to click on them.

The next question is price… Sure, the nagging ‘one or two stamp’ question can end up wasting a 49-cent Forever stamp every now and again. But is it really worth the cost of investing in your own scale?

Well, the good news is you can get a small scale for under twenty bucks.

I found this DYMO 3-pound Digital Postal Scale for $18.44.
Its weight is just over a pound, with the svelte dimensions of 9” x 7.8”.

DYMO Digital Postal Scale








…Not bad!

Granted I don’t need it to weigh an object upwards of 3 pounds.
(A couple ounces is all I require.)

At this footprint and price point, I think everyone should have a little scale at home. Why not?!


How Many Sheets Can One Forever Stamp Handle?
Here are a few Forever stamp guidelines I immediately discovered after using my new DYMO scale:

  • 3 sheets of 20 lb 8.5” x 11” paper weighed only .65 oz in a standard envelope and a Forever stamp.
  • 4 sheets were .80 oz.
  • Even 5 sheets made the 1 oz cutoff at only .95 oz.

Who knew all of this can be handled by one Forever stamp?!
(All of those double-stamped envelopes I’ve wasted over the decades!)

I’m sure individual performance might vary… depending on the weight of your envelope and paper stock…

Check It Off Your Bucket List?
People have their own bucket lists. This really shouldn’t be on anyone’s.

That said, there are those nagging day-to-day nuisances that can follow you around your entire life. They’re usually not important enough to spend the time fixing. But when you do, it actually feels unexpectedly sweet.

Case in point:
Now, I’ll have to save a stamp with my new DYMO scale at least 38 times just to break even on the deal…

But the satisfaction I’ll get along the way…

Hello, I’d Like to Buy 10,000 Stamps

Online at the post office beats waiting on line at the post office. But is that the best site to buy enough stamps to keep your bills paid?

Online at the post office beats waiting on line at the post office.
But is that the best site to buy enough stamps to keep your bills paid?

It seems I’m always dangerously close to running out of stamps.
And I inevitably have to prepare myself for another ‘adventure’ to the post office.

So, sure… I know we live in a paperless society where so much of our commerce is transacted digitally. But please tell that to the owners of all the bills I still receive in the mail. Yes, I’m a huge fan of online bill payments, but it takes a big commitment to get everyone into the ‘system.’

Sometimes, it’s easier just to reach for a self-stick stamp.

I Want a Real Stamp!
I don’t know about you, but I do not find it especially convenient to just walk into a post office and buy a book of stamps.
(Waiting on line is so analog!)

And purchasing stamps from the automated touch-screen dispenser doesn’t give you the real deal. Recently, these machines have been ‘upgraded’ to spit out this freshly printed but very ordinary sheet of stamps.

Yes, they’re legit, but they seem so…generic.
Something almost out of a kindergarten art project.
Certainly non-collectibles…

Google for Your Stamps
The other morning, I peeled off a little 47-cent ‘Forever’ square and realized I only had two left.

It was time to jump into action.
But I was determined not to get out of my chair.
(Besides, it was still dark out.)

I turned on my iMac.
Its glow powered my resolve.

“Send me stamps,” I whispered evilly.


Then I realized I was momentarily caught in a temporal rift, and I was channeling my future self ten years out.

I sighed and looked around to see if anyone got the joke.
The rest of the family was still asleep.

Oh well…
I lifted my fingers to initiate some Googling…

Amazon’s Deal Isn’t Prime
I figured the U.S. Postal Service must sell stamps online.
And of course they do.
Buying stamps at… it seems so patriotic.

Problem solved, right?

Well, I happened to notice there would be a shipping fee.
(amount unknown)
And you have to sign up for an account to discover how much that would cost.


I’ve been so spoiled by the free shipping convenience of Amazon Prime.
(Though apparently their more expensive $99 Prime charge isn’t enough to prop up Amazon’s sickly profit margins.)

I immediately went to Amazon to find my stamps.
Yup, there they were!

Price: $13.35 for 20 stamps.

My neurons powered up to do the short math.
I reached for the calculator instead.

Their deal turned out to be a little more than 66 cents for a 47-cent stamp.

That’s a huge mark up!!

No thank you, Amazon.

Office Depot to the Rescue
I can’t be the first person out there looking for a good deal on stamps online.

Google. Google.
Google. Google. Google.

Wait… there!! sells stamps.

Their website offered a cool roll of 100 stamps for $47 with free delivery.
(And even I could do that simple math to know the price was right.)

But then I noticed there’s a $1 ‘Processing Fee’ added at checkout.

But I still pulled the trigger, reluctantly.
The convenience of free home delivery was worth the dollar.
(if you can follow that logic)

Uncle Sam Can’t Be Beat
But I still wasn’t 100% satisfied.

So to quench my intellectual thirst,
I went back to Uncle Sam to check out his shipping costs.

Of course, offered the traditional Forever flag stamps.
(I half expected the site to offer me an apple pie if I spent $50.)

You can order in incremental strips of 20 or 25 stamps.

And in case you suddenly find the urgent need to buy 10,000 stamps, have no fear.
The United States Postal Service has got you covered.
It just takes a click and $4,700.00, and you’re ready to go.
(I’m not kidding.)


I’m not so sure how many people are clicking for 10,000 stamps, but our government has got them at the ready to ship out to you!

Once I got over considering how long it would take me to go through all those stamps, (I don’t get that many bills!)
I got back to the shipping cost question.

I took the few minutes to sign up with the government.
(Don’t they already know me?)

I experimented by putting in a few different orders into the shopping cart.
And do you know what I discovered about the shipping charge?

  • 25 stamps – $1.25 shipping
  • 50 stamps – $1.25 shipping
  • 75 stamps – $1.25 shipping
  • 100 stamps – $1.25 shipping

The United States government apparently has this great flat-rate shipping deal going with our post office.

Who knew?!!

(Actually, I think it’s a little more to ship your 10,000 stamps.)

Plus, there’s no processing fee to infuriate you!!
(That just comes once a year in April.)

So I immediately felt buyer’s remorse.
But comparing to… the pricing is actually kind of a wash.

Now I had become an honorary member of the U.S. Postal Service Fan Club,
I figured I should check out the rest of what had to offer.
And I discovered our nation’s digital post office had a few other tricks up its sleeve…

Did you know….?

  • You can schedule online a free package pickup
    (though it costs $20 if you ask for a specific time window)
  • You can also order mailing and shipping supplies for free
  • And print shipping labels with postage

So for many situations, you don’t ever have to go to the post office ever again!
(Whoah… what a concept.)

Invasion of the Stamp Snatchers
I think is going right into my favorites folder.

I prefer online artificial intelligence over pod people any day….
Come on… you know what I’m talking about.

It’s not everyone at the post office, mind you…
But every so often when you go up to the counter, the post office guy looks up,
and it’s Donald Sutherland!!

Come to think of it, when you’re online late at night at, it’s probably a wise move not to fall asleep.

You never know…

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