How Many Stamps Do I Need To Use?

You may be asking yourself “how many stamps do I need to use” when mailing a card or letter. This post is full of resources to answer that exact question so you know how many stamps to use to send your mail. What most people don’t know is that you can calculate postage and buy your stamps online, saving time and money.

How Many Stamps Do I Need To Mail a Card?

When mailing a card the cost for postage is determined by the size of the card or envelope, weight of the mail and the thickness of your card and envelope. If you are stuffing your card with gift cards, money or something that would make the card and envelope thicker you may expect more postage needed to mail your card. The same is true for music cards or pop-up cards. You will want to know the size, weight, and dimensions so you know how many stamps you need. Especially if you are buying stamps and printing them online to save time.

Standard Cards (5×7)

When sending out cards such as a birthday card or greeting card, it is important to note that size and weight both play a large factor in determining how many stamps must be used. A normal, standard size card is usually measured to no bigger than 5 inches by 7 inches. When mailing through USPS the average-sized card can be sent out with one $0.55 First Class stamp or a forever stamp. 

Smaller Cards

If a card measures to less than 4.45 by 6 inches and has less than .016 inches of thickness with the added ability to be sent without an envelope, it can be sent out for just $0.35 in postage. 

Rigid Cards

If a card has measurements less than 11.5 by 6.125 inches and .25 inches of thickness, weighs less than 3.5 ounces, and cannot be bent at least 1 inch then it is called “rigid.” When a card is considered to be rigid, it will not only be charged $0.55 but it will also be given a non-machinable surcharge. The reason for the surcharge is that the card is not able to be processed immediately and therefore there are other machines that must be used to assist with processing it. However, if a greeting card exceeds the aforementioned dimensions, they are then considered a large or flat envelope and will, therefore, be priced as such.

How Many Stamps Should I Use For a Letter?

Sending Letters Domestic (US)

Domestic mail is best defined as any mail that is transmitted within the United States and all of its territory. When mailing something out of state it is perfectly acceptable to classify it as Domestic. To mail a letter first class that is 1 oz or less, it only requires one stamp. One stamp costs $0.55 to buy. It would also be acceptable to use a forever stamp, which is currently the same price as a First-Class postage stamp. However, any additional ounces, over 1 ounce, cost an extra $0.15 each. The price of stamps recently went up on January 26th, 2020, to view all new changes click here.

Sending Mail Internationally

Hundreds of years ago, it took months for letters to arrive anywhere. Today we live in an era where mail can be sent anywhere around the world in just a matter of days, even to other countries! For a list of all the Countries that USPS mails to, you can check the Individual Country Listings information page. A few of the most popular places that people send mail to from the United States include Canada, England, Germany, the UK, and France. The best way to effectively use your money for stamps when sending things internationally is to use Global Forever Stamps. As of January 2020, the price of these increased to $1.20 per stamp meaning that even older Global Forever Stamps are worth $0.05 more than they were worth previously. It is possible to send a letter or postcard anyplace in the world for $1.20, equal to the cost of one Global Forever Stamp.

 Most places increase in price and necessary postage after surpassing one ounce, however sending a letter to Canada costs $1.20 for up to two ounces of weight instead of one. Using a Global Forever stamp is the best option, if you were to choose to use a regular domestic stamp instead you would need three of them, and at $0.55 you would be overpaying by $0.45. When sending to Canada, which USPS calls a Group one country, it costs $1.69 in total to send something that is three ounces, and it is $2.18 to send 3.5 ounces of mail. There may be a $0.21 nonmachinable surcharge for letters if needed, Mailing with First-Class through USPS takes 7-21 days because of Canadian Customs in addition to other factors that may impact arrival date such as weather and amount of mail that is being delivered. Postcards to Canada only need one Global forever stamp or postage that covers the amount of $1.20. To send any letter weighing over 3.5 ounces it is considered a large envelope or flat, which costs $2.40 for one ounce and is equivalent to two Global Forever Stamps. The cost increases, according to the increase in ounces. Large or flat mail that is rigid, nonrectangular, or not of uniform thickness must pay package prices. England, Germany, the UK, and France are all classified as Group 3 countries of the 9 Groups that are categorized by USPS. Each Group has its own pricing according to shipping rates in place for the countries in them. In order to figure out which group the Country you want to send to is, click here.

When sending international mail, it must go through Customs of the Country it is entering in order to be cleared. This means that a Customs form must be filled out prior to shipping. Filling out a Customs form may sound intimidating, however, the whole process is actually quite simple. The USPS uses three different customs forms to utilize: PS Form 2976, PS Form 2976-A, and PS Form 2976-B, and the one that you use is determined by the contents of what you are sending, packaging, and destination. When filling out a Customs form, information and address of both the sender and receiver of a letter or package must be given. In addition, merchandise or gift information must also be provided, such as a description of item(s) and their worth, weight, and Country of origin. The USPS requires every single global shipper to sign and date the Customs Form. All Customs Forms are to be stamped at the Post Office, giving an official “confirmation of mailing.” 

The process that Customs goes through when it comes to mail depends on the specific requirements of the country which you are sending it to. When a piece of mail enters into customs it is usually cleared in 24 hours or less, yet it can sit there for a few days before it has the chance to be inspected. Your package or envelope will be checked against your customs form to make sure that everything checks out appropriately before it can be mailed to the sender. Your mail may be inspected closer, but if that is so it will be at random. The reason for all of this is to make sure that what is entering their country is permissible and their taxes are paid for completely.

How Many Stamps Do I Need For a Manilla Envelope?

Manilla envelopes are used to transport documents and papers while keeping them protected from getting creased or folded. There are many different sizes of these envelopes, the most common sizes are the 6×9 envelope, 9×12 envelope, and 10 by 13 inches. For a 6×9 one-ounce envelope, one stamp is enough yet for any additional ounces, $0.20 is added to the price and must be covered by postage up to 3 oz. The maximum weight allowed for letters or smaller envelopes is 3.5 oz. Anything weighing more than that is considered a flat. For anything larger than a 6×9 manilla envelope, the maximum weight is 13 ounces before being priced as a package. The base price for anything weighing up to an ounce is $1.00, equivalent to two stamps with a $0.20 per oz increase. That means that something weighing 4 oz equal to $1.60 in postage which you can efficiently cover in three First Class or forever stamps. Additionally, 5 oz will equal $1.80 in postage, and 6 oz will equal $2.00 and so forth.

How Many Stamps Do I Need For a 9×12 Envelope?

An envelope that measures at 9 inches by 10 inches is classified by USPS as a flat, or a large envelope. These are great for holding pictures, books, documents, food, or anything that needs a little more space to store. Because of this, one stamp will not be enough to successfully send anything of that size. For an envelope that weighs up to an ounce, $1.00 is the cost that covers all of it. That means that two $0.55 stamps are enough to cover the price to send out that envelope. For every ounce that goes over one ounce, the cost is an extra $0.15 of postage. For example, if you were to mail a large envelope that weighs three ounces, the final price would come down to $1.00 plus $0.30 to cover the charge for the additional 2 ounces of weight. These pricing terms apply to envelopes that have a uniform thickness or is irregular in design. In the case where an envelope is not, it will be charged as a package price.

How Many Stamps Do I Need For a Large Envelope

Large envelopes are also commonly referred to as flats with the USPS. An envelope is considered to be “large” when it is bigger than either 6.125 inches in height, 11.5 inches in width, or .75 inches in thickness.  Regular letter envelopes will be considered “large” if they exceed the maximum weight of a First-Class mail letter at 3.5 oz. All flats must be rectangular in shape and have a uniform thickness. Uniform thickness means there is no bulge in a single area, bumps, or any other irregularities. If it lacks one of these things, is rigid, or exceeds the maximum measurements, then it will be priced as a package. The maximum measurement for a large package is 15 inches by 12 inches with .75 of an inch thickness. The most common large envelope sizes are 9 inches by 12 inches and 10 inches by 13 inches. There are also 8.75 inches by 11.5 inches, 9.5 inches by 12 5.7 inches and other sizes in between. The first two ounces of a large envelope need two first-class postage stamps and then additional $0.15 postage for each additional ounce. A Postage Price Calculator is a good source to find out the exact final total of postage needed for the specific unique weight of a large envelope.

How Many Stamps Do You Need For a Padded Envelope?

How many post stamps you should use to send something in a padded envelope or bubble mailer? Padded envelopes or bubble mailers are great for mailing things that may need a little bit of additional protection. A bubble mailer is referred to as a thick envelope by the United States Postal Service. Because these mailers tend to hold bulkier items, they increase in price very quickly. Sizes of these mailers include 4 by 6 inches, 8.5 by 12 inches, and 9.5 by 12.5 inches. When using a 12.5 inch by 9.5 inches padded envelope there is a flat rate price of $8.40. On average a person will use about seven post stamps.

How Many Stamps Do You Need to Mail a Postcard? 

Postcards are pieces of mail that don’t need an envelope in order to be sent out. It is common for people to send them to friends and family while traveling or on vacation, for an inexpensive Christmas card, or even for businesses to send them out for marketing purposes. With limited space to write a brief message, the real draw that makes people want to use them is usually the pictures or illustrations that take up one side of them. In order to mail a standard postcard in the United States, only one $0.35 stamp is needed. However, in order for a postcard to qualify for this pricing, it must be between 3.5 inches and 4.45 inches in height and 5 inches to 6 inches in length, with a thickness that measures between .007 inches and .016 inches of thickness. A large postcard has the same cost as a First-Class Letter which costs a minimum of $0.55 to mail out. In order to qualify as a large postcard, the measurements are allowed to be as big as 6.125 inches in height, 11.5 inches in length, and .25 inches in thickness.

How Many Stamps Do I Need Per Ounce (Oz) of Mail?

Depending on how many ounces a piece of mail weighs, the number of stamps needed to mail it fluctuates. The class of mail chosen with which to ship a letter or package in addition to the size and shape of mail contribute additionally to the cost of stamps. It is possible to send a letter that costs up to 1 oz anywhere in the United States with one domestic or forever stamp, which costs 55 cents. Any additional ounces after that cost $0.15 per ounce. A First-Class mail flat costs $1.00 for the first ounce and $0.20 for each additional ounce. If you know the weight of your envelope or package yet are still unsure of how much postage you need, USPS has an online Postage Pricing Calculator which is a great resource.

Did You Know You Can Buy & Print Stamps Online?

You no longer have to go to the post office to buy stamps. As long as you know what you need or the measurements of the mail you are trying to send, you can purchase stamps online. It saves time and can often save money. If you want to find other places that sell postage stamps, here is a list of locations in your area that may sell stamps in addition to the postal office

You can also use your own photos to create custom stamps for weddings, Christmas cards or to send out your everyday mail.