How Many Stamps Do I Need?

By | November 22, 2018

How many stamps do I need: Postage stamps are the little squares on letters and small packages (in the upper right hand corner) that tend to be overlooked (and underappreciated) as of late. As the world continues to become more and more digitally oriented, letters seem to be the odd man out.

With that said, when an individual needs to mail a letter, envelope, or parcel package, these postage stamps are the key ingredient to make it happen. They play a major role in the mailing of any item, both internationally and domestically.

For those looking who aren’t interested in quantity (or the basics), we have discussed Where To Buy Stamps in our other online guide.

Continuing on, there are many different types of postage stamps. These can be influenced by cosmetic factors (such as design), or vary depending on the type of shipping. Actual postage differs in price (based on the item) and is affected by the weight, height, and dimension of the package. People can choose their desired shipping style based on their delivery time requirements and item volume/metrics.

For those of you who are not as familiar with stamp basics, here’s a brief introduction:

About Postage stamps

Generally known as a stamp (postage stamp), stamps are small pieces of paper, issued by a post office, postal administration, or any authorized postage stamp vendor under government rules and regulations. Customers (senders) who wish to mail a letter or any other type of parcel are required to pay a predetermined amount that covers the cost of moving, insuring, and registering the mail. At that point, their item is affixed with a stamp (to the face or on the address side – typically upper right corner). The item is then processed by the postal officials, where a postal mark is applied to the item stating its date and point of origin. This helps ensure that the item isn’t reused or misused at a later date. After the completion of this process, the item is processed and ultimately delivered to its destined address.

A postage stamp always features the name of the issuing nation, along with an illustration of persons, events, natural realities, or institutions that hold importance to the nation at hand. The stamp will also include a denomination of its value. The shape of postage stamps tends to vary. At the time of writing, they are rectangular. One can also opt for specialized custom-made stamps based on the issuing postal office.

There are various types of stamps available for use. Here’s a list of the different types of stamps below.

  • Airmail stamp – For payment of airmail services.
  • Booklet stamp – Produced and issues in booklet format.
  • Carriers stamp – To deliver mail directly.
  • Certified mail – Provides proof of mailing via a receipt to the sender.
  • Coil stamps – tear-off stamps issued in vending machines.
  • Commemorative stamp – Issued for a limited time to commemorate a person.
  • Computer vended postage – Advanced secure postage.
  • Definitive stamps – For everyday postage.
  • Express mail – Special delivery stamp.
  • Local post – Used to mail to a local post.
  • Makeup stamp – A small valued stamp used to make up the difference when postage stamp rates increase.
  • Military stamp – Special postal system for armed forces of a country.
  • Mini sheet – A commemorative stamp issue, contains a different number of stamps.
  • Newspaper stamp – To pay the price of mailing newspapers and other periodicals.
  • Official mail stamp – Government issued a stamp for government agencies.
  • Occupation stamp – used by occupying army or authorities for being used by civilians.
  • Non-denominated postage – Stamp that remains valid even when the price of the postage stamp has increased.
  • Overprint – Regular stamp like a commemorative stamp or a definitive, which has been changed after issuance by ‘printing over’ portions of the stamp.
  • Perforated stamp – Referred to the stamps having perforations around the stamp, known as perfins.
  • Personalized stamps – Custom made stamps allowing a sender to add images of their choice.
  • Pneumatic stamps – Produced only in Italy, these stamps are used for sending items using pressurized air tubes.
  • Postage currency – Stamps that are used as currency instead of postage stamps.
  • Postage due – Stamp that states postage has not been paid.
  • Postal tax – A stamp which states that a tax above the postage rate has been paid.
  • Self-adhesive stamp – Self-sticking stamps.
  • Semi-postal – Also known as charity stamp, it requires an additional payment for a charity.
  • Souvenir sheet – contain perforated or imperforate stamps as a part of its design.
  • Specimen stamp – Sent to postal officials to identify valid and forged stamps.
  • Test stamp – Used for testing in machines and scanners.
  • Variable value stamps – Stamps that differ in rate based on the times of issuance by machines.
  • War tax stamps – A type of tax stamps that defray the cost of war.
  • Water activated stamp – Used generally, that can be stuck on by moisture.

As mentioned, above is a pretty comprehensive list of the type of different types of stamps available for use. For most Americans however, the main question that still arises is how many stamps does a regular person need? An individual will surely not be needing all of the above-mentioned stamps. These stamps have sub-genres and their rates and usage vary with the type of item being mailed. To provide a more direct answer, here’s some specific guidance regarding the number of stamps you would need on different occasions.

How many stamps do I need?

  1. For a standard letter: If you are mailing a standard letter, one Forever Stamp or one First Class Letter stamp at the top right corner of an envelope can be used. If the size of the letter is of the standard size, then a Forever stamp is sufficient for mailing within the US. The number of stamps that need to be attached to a letter depends upon the size and weight of the letter.
  2. For a package: For packages that weigh below 12 ounces, 1 (or more) postage stamps are accepted. The exact amount of stamps required is calculated based upon the weight and dimension of the package. The point of origin and destination much also be considered. Usually, for the first three ounces of a package, it costs around $2.66.
  3. For a 9 by 12 envelope: The pricing of stamps depends on the envelope as there are different types of envelopes available. The 9 by 12 is a standard dimension accepted by the postal services and affixing a stamp is an easy task for a proper postage service. For customers with larger envelopes, it costs around $1.00 (for the first ounce) + $0.21(additional ounces).
  4. For a large envelope: Two Forever stamps are needed to mail a one-ounce legal sized envelope. Each Forever stamp is valued at 50 cents, and each additional ounce requires additional fees. Normally large envelopes are used for mailing sheets of paper and photos. Large envelopes can also be known as flats.
  5. For a USPS Postage: The USPS refers to the United States Postal Service, who handles the mailing of letters and packages. They take care of all the postal services required (from sorting of mail to supplying the essential packaging materials needed for mailing). The USPS postage stamp varies in price based on the event with a minimal charge of $0.50 for 1oz.
  6. For a manila envelope: It is a large envelope, for which the postage rate is $1.00 for the first ounce and $0.21 for additional ounces. If you are to use forever stamps for manila envelopes, then you will require two forever stamps.
  7. For international mail: A postage stamp known as the Global Forever stamp is used to mail postcards. The same is used for 1oz letters to be mailed anywhere in the world. These stamps can be picked up from your local post offices. If you are mailing from within the United States, the international first-class mail costs $1.15 (and each forever stamp is currently priced at $0.50). As such, to figure the exact pricing, you’ll need to perform some additional calculations based on what you are sending, the current pricing of the forever stamps, and the number of the stamps that are required.
  8. Per ounce: As we previously mentioned, the number of stamps needed to be affixed on a particular item or mail depends upon the weight of the letter. If the letter to be posted weighs more than an ounce, you will have to weigh it prior to affixing the stamp to avoid the returning of the letters. If you don’t apply enough postage to cover the weight, this could result in a ‘lack of postage’ and cause your mail to be returned. The forever stamp is considered to be the ideal postage stamp for mailing normal, standard sized one-ounce letters within the country.

At the end of the day, unfortunately there’s no easy answer to the common questions of how many stamps do we need?. However, hopefully, this article has at least given you a rough idea of the number of stamps you would need to mail your letter.

While, in our experience, there’s always a bit of wiggle room with weighing a package, it is important to keep the weight and dimension of the mail in mind. No one ever wants to send a letter only to have it returned at a later day due to a lack of correct postage. Generally, heavier letters are the ones more likely to be returned back if the postage isn’t accurately calculated. But with due diligence (if you are paying attention to the regulations set forth by the post office), you will always be good to go.

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