/ 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?

Comments
Guest
patric22 says:
4 March 2017

65p and 56p – convert that back to old money . What would my granny have said to paying over 10 shillings for a stamp to put on a letter?

Guest

What would she have said if she paid £6 for her fish and chips? In my younger days they cost 1/3d. This is what inflation does – distorts our view of worth. Perhaps all goods should be priced in a new currency – actual cost divided by average wage.

There is a benefit of inflation as you get older. When you remember the cost of things in your earlier years – houses, petrol, cigarettes, cars – you do think harder about what you are asked to pay now. Whereas those younger people without this legacy take them more in their stride. I suspect it has always been so – my grandparents used to remark on the cost of stuff compared to that in their youth.

Guest

We send quite a lot of birthday cards to friends and relatives, and about two or three letters a week that require stamps. There’s also St. Valentines Day, Easter, get well, thank you, new home, best wishes, condolences, congratulations, family correspondence, and so on. We also receive quite a lot of letters and cards from friends and family in return. Personally, I think something sent by post is appreciated more than an e-mail. In my view, invitations and important notifications about births, deaths and marriages [or equivalent] should only be sent by post. We are in touch with several elderly friends and relatives who are not in a position to open an e-mail and they enjoy receiving a card or letter with family news. Even the younger generation like receiving greetings through the letterbox. A lot of our correspondence is generated by things found in newspapers and magazines which we cut out and send, like recipes, gardening tips, houses on the market, holiday and travel ideas – don’t people do that any more? Every week my wife sends a card or a letter to her elderly aunt in a residential home, sometimes with a little gift or memento like a photograph; is there a better way than to post such things and perhaps bring a little happiness into their lives? The internet has saved so much in other ways that it makes personal correspondence affordable as well as a pleasure.

Guest

Must admit I’m with Lauren on this – except for the baby-faced photo observation… We like Christmas stamps for the same reasons, just about all other mail comes either as urgings to invest in rubber or suggestions that I am clearly missing out on the wonders of home insulation, and we get all our personal ‘mail’ via the internet and through services such as the excellent iMessage on Macs.

I do find, however, that if a major company has upset me in some way a posted letter gets more attention than an email.

Guest

A very good point, Ian. I try social media for my complaints, and that can work. But a letter does feel like you’re lodging a more formal complaint.

Guest

. . . . the more so if you have an authoritative-looking letterhead. I don’t mind if the correspondence continues by e-mail because by then I’ve broken through the ice.

Guest

I still have about 250 second class stamps from the hundreds that I bought a couple of years ago and these should last me at least a year. They were a worthwhile investment and having run out of first class stamps recently I wish I had bought more of them when they were cheaper. I still send Christmas cards but mainly keep in touch with friends by phone.

I wish we could go back to the days when it was necessary just to check the weight of a letter rather than having to check the length, width, thickness and weight and then check prices online in case they have risen again. 🙁

Guest

I have always wondered whether 1st class stamps keep their first class status when new ones have been issued at a higher price.

I fully agree with the ridiculous new rules on letter and large letter. If a letter or greetings card goes through a letterbox it should be the same price.