This past Sunday, 10 April 2016, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) made history by lowering the cost of a First Class domestic postage stamp from 49 cents to 47 cents. It’s the only time in 97 years that the cost of mailing a letter to your Aunt Ethel has gone down instead of up.
The surprising change came about due to a ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission, which gave the USPS permission to raise the price of postage nearly 5% in 2014 to recoup some of its losses during the Great Recession of 2008-2010. Time ran out and the USPS was forced to make the reduction. USPS management is not happy about it, though. The U.S. Postal Service made its first profit in many years during the first quarter of 2016 that ended 31 March.
The last time that the USPS (the old Post Office Department–then a cabinet-level government agency) dropped postage prices was in 1919 when they rolled back the cost of a First Class stamp to pre-World War I levels.
On Sunday, the cost of mailing a domestic post card dropped from 35 cents to 34 cents. The cost of sending a one-ounce letter overseas fell a nickel from $1.20 to $1.15.
And those Forever stamps that you bought last week for 49 cents each? Use one to write your auntie a letter. That’s a great way to say hello and give her your “two-cents worth.”