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Mailing Quick Tips

It is important to understand mailing regulations and costs in the area where you live. It can be a disappointment to have something special that you mailed returned for incorrect postage. Your cards and projects need to have the correct postage attached so they get to their destination on time.

Both size and weight of your finished projects/ cards will determine the cost of your mailing. You might want to keep this in mind when you are designing greeting cards for holidays and special events.

To be eligible to be mailed as a letter, the piece must be rectangular. It has to be
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
  • No more than 6-1/8 inches high x 11-1/2 inches long x 1/4 inch thick

This is the main rule to remember about mailing your greeting cards:

Each extra beyond 2 ounces would require an additional 21 cents. The Postal Service has specifically noted that the 21-cent non-machinable stamp covers the extra postage needed for square greeting cards (in addition to the basic 50-cent First Class stamp).

First-Class Mail letters that have one or more non-machinable characteristics require special handling as these pieces cannot be processed using automated equipment and must be processed by hand.  This is referred to as "hand-cancelling", which puts a mark on your postage stamp so it cannot be reused.    You will pay a non-machinable surcharge for this service.

Before purchasing your postage, take a completely assembled piece to the post office to have it weighed and assessed for postage and handling. You may want to make a test invitation and mail it to yourself to see how it fairs.

More Mailing Tips

  1. It seems that every year, the mailing costs change/ Buying the forever stamps is one way to hedge against rising costs.
  2. Buy different smaller amounts of stamps. That way you can put the right amount of stamps on your envelope every time.
  3. Get a mail scale. They can cost under $20. They are worth the price. You do not have to guess the weight. You can put the right amount of stamps every time.

Forever Stamps

No matter how the postal rates go up, forever stamps are always a good investment.

2019 Postal Rates

55¢  -  classic forever stamp; good investment, always goes up.    
15¢  -  "Additional Ounce"      went down from 21¢  on 27Jan2019
¢  -  "Two Ounce" (the wedding invitation stamp, heart symbol)
¢  -  the "butterfly" stamps for bad envelopes (square, stiff, metal clasp).
                Although the stamp says "Non-Machinable Surcharge",
                it is not the surcharge, it is the entire cost.  
35¢  -  postcard - no change in January 2018,2019
$1.15  foreign letter  - no change in January 2018, 2019

Note: mail that can’t get through a sorting machine costs more.   
A  flat, flexible regular or business-sized envelope is cheaper than a flat, flexible manila envelope  that needs bigger sorting machines and they are cheaper than thick, inflexible envelopes of the same size and weight that are unmachinable and have to go as small parcels. 

Letters 1st Class 55¢+15¢/oz (27Jan2019)

Not over: 
1 oz          $0.55            +15¢/oz.  Bad envelope penalty is also 15¢   

2 ounces  $0.70
3 ounces  $0.85
3.5 oz       $1.00           Heavier?  Go to FLATS (next).
price history
dates when rates changed  (helps you search for historic data)
USPS tables, not the rate calculator: DMM, the Domestic Mail Manual 
Go to "Quick Refs" at end of this long pdf doc; stay in "Retail" chapters, we don't qualify for cheap corporate rates.

Rigid object inside?  Metal clasp?  Button & closure string?Business envelope styles like "commercial" or "wallet flap"
Add  non-machinable surcharge ("bad envelope penalty").  
Square?  Goes though their machines but they can’t tell which way?  Add   $0.15
Almost square (less than 30% height-width difference)?  Add  $0.15.  
Too skinny? (long length more than 2.5x short)?  Add   $0.15
Really cute little one for that note, under 3 ½ or 4¼”?
         Hide it! You're illegal.  Go home and start over. 
Length over 11 ½”? Height over 6 1/8”?  Go to “Flats” (next) 
        Max size in the stnd envelope series is #14  (5"x11.5").  Size 10 is normal (4.125" x 9.5").
        If you want to send someone a stamped, self-addressed envelope ("SSAE") 
        for them to send you back something, it's nice to get a few Size 11 envelopes to put the #10 into,
        or to send a bounced envelope back when you get your friend's new address.  
Thicker than ¼”?  Go to “Flats”.
You're a corporation using metered mail?  Congratulations!  Take off 1¢.  Wait!  Take off 3¢, we love corporations. 
Not a corporation, tired?  Sorry.  Too bad.  Congress gave away its power of oversight and let the Postal Service change rates by itself.  

More Mailing Resources