/ Money

When was the last time you bought stamps?

First class stamp

At the end of the month, the price of first and second class stamps will rise to 65p and 56p respectively. But how often do you even use stamps these days?

Christmas seems to be the only time of year you’ll find me buying stamps, mainly because they’re festive themed and I’m quite fond of them.

When you only buy stamps once a year you really notice the price hikes.

I recall buying a couple of books of stamps in early December last year and being slightly staggered by the cost of them.

Chances are it won’t be until this December that I buy my next book of stamps.

By then, they’ll be even more expensive, as the price of both first and second class stamps is set to go up on 27 March.

Buying stamps

Now let’s not blow this out of proportion – they’re only going up by a penny each.

And when you compare that to how much stamps cost in the rest of Europe (on average, 87p for a first class stamp and around 67p for a second class stamp, according to the Royal Mail), they’re actually fairly good value.

But it has got be thinking about how little I actually use stamps and wondering how often other people buy books of stamps or send letters/cards these days.

Personally, my stamp needs are really for Christmas cards. I’ll then have a little collection of festive-themed stamps to use for the remainder of the year, usually for the odd thing like my driving licence renewal.

But even with that most people wouldn’t need to use a stamp.

Had I not looked so ridiculously childlike on my old one, I could’ve done what everyone else does and renewed it online.

As it was, I had to root around my purse for a stamp so I could send off the new picture with the form to DVLA.

No snail mail

When it comes down to it, if I don’t see someone in person, I’ll mostly wish them happy birthday or congratulate them for life events on Facebook or via text.

For birthdays, it usually includes sending good wishes along with my favourite funny photo:

Dog birthday
I’ll rarely post a card to them.

And I don’t think I’m alone here either.

In fact, the only non-billing or statement post I really get these days is an invite to a wedding or baby-related gathering.

That said, the latest invite I’ve had for such an event came via a lovely artworked image invitation sent by text message. It must have saved the bride-and-groom-to-be a fortune in postage.

So how often do you buy stamps? Do you have any quirky stamp collections like my little hoard of festive stamps?


I use stamps for my mail all the time, especially for cards and personal letters to important persons. I also collect used stamps as they can be used by charities to raise money for good causes. My only issue is that some mailing services can be costly, but that’s the price we have to pay for privacy.

I suppose the Royal Mail has done its sums and knows what the one penny price increases for each postage class will yield and whether ninepence is still the correct differential between the two classes of service. Personally I would have preferred the second class price to be lowered to 50p and the first class price to be raised to 75p, with a distinct difference in service level between them. With many posting boxes in our area having their last collection at 09:00 [yes – the last and only one each day] and at 07:30 on Saturdays, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure a next day delivery without making a journey – and even then many last collections are between 16:00 and 17:00. Once set at a memorable rate I think it should be left undisturbed for at least three years.

I don’t know what the extra cost of handling large letters actually is, and I suppose their prices are also going up at the end of the month, but how does it cost 32p extra to handle a 1st class one but only 20p more to deal with a 2nd class one [based on the current 96p and 75p postage rates]? I think it’s high time Which? penetrated this piece of economic jiggery-pokery and challenged the basic rationale.

katski says:
13 March 2017

I last bought stamps on Saturday, to send a condolence card abroad. The only reason I don’t need to buy stamps more often than weekly is that I buy them in 100s so that I’ve always got first and second class stamps at home (and of course that guards against the price increases too). Birthday cards, get well cards, thinking of you, condolence, new home, new job, congratulations…

Yvonne jones says:
15 March 2017

I think it’s nice to receive cards in the post and prefer to send friends and family cards, I will be stocking up stamps before the price rise

I notice that the fee for delivering a letter or large letter with no postage paid has increased from £1 plus the outstanding postage to a flat fee of £2, and for delivering a letter or large letter with insufficient postage paid is now a £1.50 flat fee.