How many stamps do I need to send letters within the United States?

How many stamps do I need to send letters within the United States?

A standard first-class letter envelops of standard size (rectangular) within 1 ounce in weight (and no stiff or delicate things inside the envelope) is $0.50…or you can just use a single “forever stamp”.

That is enough or you need to use as many stamps as is necessary to equal $0.50. Your choice.

Each additional ounce is an extra $0.21 in postage up to 3.5 ounces.

After that, it becomes a package and you have a different scale to calculate on.

The postal rates are as follows:

Domestic Mailing:

First-class (1 oz.) Letter rates will increase from $ 0.47 to $ 0.49 when purchased at the post office. Each additional ounce will cost $ 0.21.

The “measured mail” discounted category for first-class mail letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will decrease from $ 0.465 to $ 0.46.

Each additional ounce will cost $ 0.21.

First Mail Mail Flats (1 oz.) Will increase from $ 0.94 to $ 0.98. Each additional ounce will cost $ 0.21.

Postcard rates will remain the same at $0.34.

Keep in mind that the more pages you have in the envelope the more it will weigh and the more postage or stamps you will need.

If you mail a letter (Consisting of more pages) that weighs beyond the single stamp rate and don’t have enough postage, it will be sent back.

There’s a rule of thumb: 4 pages (usually) per stamp in an envelope.

How many stamps do I need
How many stamps do I need

How many stamps do I need to send letters within the United States?

One 49 cent stamp is all you need for a standard size envelope containing four or fewer pieces of folded A4 size paper.

The USPS issues stamps with the word “forever” printed on them.

These stamps may fluctuate in purchase price but one is good enough for you to use.

It depends on the denominations of the stamps you have, and the size and weight of your letter.

The current 1st Class postage is 50c. For 1 oz, and under, one First-Class Forever stamp, or stamps equaling 50c, are all it needs.

It will ultimately depend on the weight of the letter, and dimensions.

But for a standard 1-ounce letter, how many do you want to use?

You need only one forever stamp (2018 value of $0.50).

But so long as you use postage that adds up or exceeds that current value.

For example, 50 x $0.01 stamps – and the letter can be addressed, it will get there.

Current rates:

First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) – Retail/Post Office Rate*


First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) – Metered Mail/ Rate


First Class Mail Letter – each additional ounce


Currently, standard stamps are $0.47, down from $0.49 a few weeks ago.

A few years ago the US Post Office starting selling ‘Forever’ stamps that are good regardless of postage increases.

No refunds though.

How many stamps do I need to send letters within the United States?

The postage rate within the United States for a once ounce or less first-class letter is 49 cents.

Regular standard rectangular letter-size envelopes would require 1 forever stamp for a 1oz letter, every additional oz, up to 3oz would cost 21cents more in postage.

So it’ll be $0.49, $0.70, and then $0.91. Any heavier then it’ll become large flat envelope rates.

If you have any of the USPS Forever stamps, it will take only one stamp to send the less than a one-ounce letter.

If you are using older stamps, you must assure the value of the stamps meet or e cede the 49 cent rate.

49 one-cent stamps are acceptable and can be front and back of the envelope….yes, I’ve done that.

When sending documents in the mail in the United States, under what conditions do you need more than one stamp?

The answer depends on:

  1. Size of letter
  2. Weight of letter
  3. Class of service (e.g. First Class, Certified, Registered, etc).
  4. value of stamps used (you’re going to need 22 2¢ stamps for a 1 oz. (or less) First-Class letter, or you could use a 44¢ First Class stamp).

In the USPS offices I’ve patronized over the last many years, they don’t put pre-printed stamps on letters any more:

they calculate the required postage from the variables above and immediately print that on a sticky label which is then affixed to the letter to be mailed.

  • Letters that meet one or more of the non-machinable features in DMM 101.1.2 are subject to the non-machinable surcharge of $0.20.
  • Large pieces the size of an envelope that is rigid, non-rectangular, or not uniforms in thickness, pay for package prices.
  • For keys and identification devices, add $0.75. If it weighs more than 13 ounces, see Priority Mail (footnote #4) on page 3.
  • For weights over 3.5 ounces, see prices for large (flat) envelopes.
  • The price of the card applies to each postal mail the size of a postal or double when it is originally sent; Half of the double reply card should be designed for reply mail purposes only.

If the envelope is more than 6″ by 13″.

If the envelope is more than 1/8 of an inch thick

The envelope is not uniformly flat and flexible so it can run through rollers on sorting machines.

The envelope weighs more than one ounce.

If the envelope is not rectangular, and it does not have straight parallel sides.

if it is square or close to it (machines cannot determine which way is up).

What happens if you send mail without a stamp?

As long as you have your return address on it then it will come back to you for the postage.

If you don’t have a return address on it then the PO it was sent to will try to collect the postage from the recipient.

If they refuse to pay postage & there is not a return address then it is sent to ‘dead letters’.

Once there they eventually open the letter to try & discover if there’s a return address inside but if not it’s discarded permanently.

Up until 1986, in the U.S., it would still arrive at its destination as “Postage Due”.

Stamps, having a negative value, would be affixed to the letter by the postal service, and if the recipient wanted the letter, they’d pay the postage.

Which does not work so well with postcards, since you can access the content and send brief messages without opening them?

At the same time, you are looking at the sender to see if the sender is someone you are willing to pay to receive mail from.

After 1986, this was discontinued, for obvious reasons.

You can still send packages COD — Collect On Delivery — by filling out a form 3816 and using that to send your package.

It’s very rarely used, and if you receive such a package, unless you are on a rural route, you will have to go to the nearest general delivery post office and pay to receive the package.

I’m surprised this isn’t used by more people on Craig’s list, but unless the part or most of the packaging was transparent, you’d have a hard time convincing me to pay without examining the merchandise.

I suspect COD packages are considered antiquated and will go the way of Postage Due, sometime in the near future.

Postal letter
How many stamps do I need

How many stamps do I need to send letters within the USA?

If you send a mail without affixing a postal stamp then in such a case the mail will be taken to the addressee and will be handed over to him after he pays for the stamp and the leviable penalty as prescribed.

Usually, ordinary postal mail is delivered in the mailbox of the addressee but one being unstamped will be delivered only to the addressee as payment is to be received in the account of non-stamping.

On the other hand, registered or speed post is delivered only to the addressee. Both of these cost quite a lot as against simple post as such a mail without a stamp in technical terms does the work of registered or speed post delivered personally to the addressee at a lesser cost. Delivery to the addressee is certain.

If the addressee refuses to pay the same then the letter will not be delivered to him and the same will be returned to you and you may have to pay penalty for the transit of the mail as has been incurred by the postal authorities.

Above is not a legal advise to any imagination. Just a personal experience that I went through during my childhood when such a letter was received by me.


My dear friends, If there is a return address, it will come back to you.

If there is no return address, they will try to make the recipient pay for it.

If no one pays for it, it goes to the Dead Letter pile, forever.

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Jenny Cooper

I am a Health blogger from Toronto Canada

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