US Postage Rates are set on January 27th, 2014 to $0.49 to mail a first class letter according to the US Postal Service.
This was an increase of 3 cents over the previous rate of $0.46 for a first class letter. The USPS lobbied for this increase of 3 cents to fight continued financial difficulties and to keep pace with inflation.
The postcard rate is also increasing 1 cent to 34 cents and there are increases throughout other services as well.
One of the other changes is that the Global Forever Stamp increases 5 cents to $1.15 to mail a first class envelope anywhere in the world.
Previously, costs for first class international varied by destination so this move is aimed at simplifying the current rates and stamp collectors should be thrilled at seeing some new Forever Postage Stamps.
US Stamp Prices generally rise once a year at a percentage in line with inflation however there are special circumstances where higher increases could be granted by Congress.
What this means for us is that there have been many complex postal rates and systems for figuring out how much it cost to mail an envelope or package.
This has driven some tremendous innovation in the past decades as we have seen with the success of the Forever Stamp, movement to more online postage usage, and a focus on flat rate priority and express mail shipping services.
Only time will tell if the US Postal Service is able to compete effectively with private mail shipping companies like UPS and FedEx but we can rest assured that as long as it does we can expect stamp prices to increase year after year at least as much as inflation.