Even though the world is becoming increasingly digital, some things still have to go through snail mail—greeting cards, absentee ballots, and tax documents come to mind. As we all know, if you’re sending something through the mail, then you’ll need a stamp.
While you’re at it, why not make it a Forever Stamp? Forever Stamps work just like First-Class stamps by reflecting the current price of a First-Class stamp. The key difference is that they can be used tomorrow, next year, or a decade from now without you worrying about a future price increase. Ready to find out more? Then read on!
What Are Forever Stamps?
Forever Stamps are non-denominational postage offered by USPS. They can be identified by the printed “Forever” on the stamp. Their value corresponds with the current First-Class postage rate for a one-ounce letter and they do not expire. Additionally, Forever Stamps can be purchased online or in person at post offices, pharmacies, banks, and grocery stores.
To learn more about how Forever Stamps work and why they’re such a great value, check out the rest of our article.
How Much Postage Is A Forever Stamp?
Forever Stamps are non-denominational First Class postage. In other words, they don’t have a set value. Rather, they’re worth as much as the current postage rate for first-class letters, regardless of future price adjustments. This is important because in recent years the United States Postal Service has had numerous price hikes. In fact, the price has gone up 10% since last year.
Let’s look at an example to make things clearer. The first Forever Stamp came out in 2007, featuring an image of the Liberty Bell, and postage cost 0.41¢. You can use that same stamp today, even though postage has increased to 0.66¢ as of July 2023. The United States Postal Service has also filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission, a federal agency that has regulatory oversight over the USPS, that it plans to increase this price to 0.68¢ on January 21, 2024. So buying Forever Stamps today will still work, even after stamp prices go up in January 2024.
That means you can mail a letter for 0.25¢ less than people buying Forever Stamps today. And with future price changes already planned in the near future, you would save even more.
As postage rates continue to increase in the future, your original Forever Stamp will “increase” in value to match the going rate of First Class postage.
How Do Forever Stamps Work?
Forever Stamps are easy to use. Stick one on a #10 (or other standard-sized) envelope, drop your letter in the mailbox, and wait for your recipient to receive it.
Letters weighing 1 ounce or less require one Forever Stamp. If your letter (or package) weighs more than one ounce, you can use additional Forever Stamps to cover the additional ounce.
Remember that each stamp is worth the current First-Class rate (not what you paid for them). So if you paid 0.58¢ and the rate increases to 0.60¢, you can use two forever stamps to get $1.20 worth of postage.
That being said, you might save money by buying the exact postage you need at the post office or online, rather than using only Forever Stamps.
For example, if a Forever Stamp currently costs 0.66¢ and your postage costs 0.75¢, you’d lose 0.57¢ if you use two Forever Stamps.
What Is Special About Forever Stamps?
Forever Stamps are special in the sense that they have no fixed value (i.e. they’re non-denominational). They are always worth the face value of the current first-class stamp price
As such, you can buy Forever Stamps at the current rate of First Class postage and use them in the future, even after postage increases.
To put it another way, buying Forever Stamps now means saving money on postage in the future.
Where Do I Buy Forever Stamps?
You can buy Forever Stamps at the post office in singles, in sheets of 12, 16, 20, or in a roll of 100.
You can buy them from a clerk or from one of the self-serve kiosks if the line is long and you’re short on time.
Keep in mind that kiosks don’t have all of the special designs. So if you’re looking for a holiday or special edition stamp, you must wait in line.
Forever Stamps are also available for purchase on the USPS website. There you can find a mix of standard and special designs.
Third-party retailers like grocery stores, pharmacies, and office supply stores often sell stamps as well.
You can see if your local Walgreens or Staples carries stamps by using the USPS location tool online. These locations often only sell booklets so you won’t be able to buy single stamps.
How Can You Tell If A Stamp Is A Forever Stamp?
In general, a Forever Stamp will have the word “Forever” written on it. If a stamp has a denomination written on it (38¢ for example), then it is not a Forever Stamp. Its value is whatever is printed on the stamp.
As a side note, some commemorative stamps were printed with neither a denomination nor a “Forever” label.
You will probably need a USPS employee to determine the value. Still, you can be sure that unless you see “Forever,” a stamp has a set monetary value.
Do Forever Stamps Expire?
Forever Stamps do not expire (hence the name!) As long as your stamps are unused and in good condition, they are valid for mailing letters through the USPS.
If you have a stamp that’s damaged or that has lost its stickiness, bring it to the post office and see if they’ll exchange itfor you.
To keep your Forever Stamps in mailable condition, we recommend storing them flat in a dry location.
What Is The Difference Between Forever Stamps And Regular Stamps?
Forever Stamps and regular stamps (i.e. those with a dollar value) look similar on the surface, but their value is different.
When you purchase a Forever Stamp, you pay the going postal rate for a First-Class letter. If the rate goes up in the future, your previously purchased Forever Stamps will continue to be valid. In other words, the value of Forever Stamps varies.
Regular stamps, on the other hand, have a fixed value. If you purchase a regular stamp for 0.58¢ and postage goes up to 0.60¢, you’ll need to add a two-cent stamp to make up for the increase.
Can I Use Forever Stamps On Postcards?
You can use Forever Stamps on domestic postcards. A Forever Stamp covers postage for any regularly-sized (and shaped) piece of mail weighing up to one ounce. Since postcards weigh less than 1 ounce, a Forever Stamp provides sufficient postage.
That being said, using a Forever Stamp on a postcard is not the most economical option. Postcard stamps are currently 29% cheaper than Forever Stamps.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to purchase a postcard stamp, rather than wasting a Forever Stamp.
What Are Global Forever Stamps?
Global Forever Stamps are used for international mail. These stamps can be used to mail a postcard or a 1-ounce letter-size mailpiece anywhere in the world.
Like domestic Forever Stamps, Global Forever Stamps reflect the price of first-class mail when mailed internationally.
That’s true regardless of when the stamp was purchased and regardless of a rate hike in the future.
Global Forever Stamps are round and always bear the words “Global Forever.”
Note: Global Forever Stamps cover letters up to 2 ounces when mailing to Canada. Letters weighing more than 1 ounce (up to a maximum of 3.5 ounces) going to any other country require additional postage.