You may want to stock up on Forever stamps sooner, rather than later.
The cost to mail a letter is, yet again, set to increase this month.
Rate changes go into effect Jan. 27, according to the U.S. Postal Service, which relies on stamps and other products, rather than taxpayer dollars, to fund operations.
At that time, stamp prices to mail 1-ounce letters will increase one cent each—from 45 to 46. This brings the cost of a standard 20-stamp book up from $9 to $9.20.
Reuters reports that postal officials have been asking Congress for the green light to increase stamp prices beyond the inflation rate—2.7 percent—end Saturday mail delivery and make other changes in order for them to stay in business amidst plummeting mail volumes.
According to USA Today, the Postal Service reported an annual loss of $15.9 billion in November, tripling the $5.1 billion loss in 2011. Approximately $11 billion of the loss is tied to labor expenses, primarily from a law passed by Congress in 2006 that requires the Postal Service to fully prepay the retirement health care fund for the next 75 years by 2016.
"Lawmakers have been grappling for more than a year with ways to help the Postal Service return to profitability, but have yet to agree on how to revamp the agency," Reuters reports.
Congress is expected to take up postal legislation this year.
Meanwhile, Forever stamps, which can be purchased for 45 cents before the price hike, will remain valid regardless of price changes, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
The cost for letters weighing more than 1 ounce will stay the same at 20 cents for each additional ounce, according to an announcement from the postal service.
Postcard stamps, too, will also see a one-cent increase, bringing them to 33 cents each. Letters weighing less than an ounce, mailed anywhere internationally, will cost $1.10.
You can also use the search tool on the USPS website to find approved postal providers.