Stop the Postage Hike

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Postage rates climb every few years, and although $0.39 doesn't seem like a lot consider that three envelopes equals over $1 postage. Multiply that times twelve friends whom you're inviting to your summer picnic and it's costing nearly $5 in postage alone. A family's yearly spending on postage could add up to $100 or more just in letter mailings. Consider the postage that is spent on on-line or catalog purchases as well as parcel items that are sent via carrier. Instead, there are ways to curb that postage spending.

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Electronic vs. Paper

When possible try to utilize the internet to complete transactions. Consider it a way to get more for the money since you most likely pay an internet carrier anyway. Suppose you mail eight bills each month. By the end of the year these bills cost $37.44 in postage. If your bank charges a small fee for on-line bill pay, consider your yearly spending on postage and weigh the savings.

If on-line bill pay through your bank is not possible, try direct pay to the companies themselves. Many allow on-line payments through their web sites or automatically deduct payments from a bank account. If either of these ways appeal to you, then opt to save on postage that way.

Party Postage

Stray away from paper invitations for informal events. For many people the personal invite on the phone means a lot more than the paper one in the mail. Use it as a great excuse to give a friend a call.

In times when a written invitation or thank you is needed opt for post cards. Purchase fun cards and save on the cheaper postal rate.

Combine the Orders

When ordering on-line or by catalog, combine your order to maximize the postal savings. Wait until there are several items to purchase at once and qualify for free or discounted shipping. If no offers are available, this at least saves by sharing the shipping costs between items. One fun idea is to gather orders from friends and split the shipping costs.

Some stores are even willing to ship items from their on-line catalog to a local retail store to avoid shipping charges. Check the catalog or simply call the store to ask.

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Pay in Person

While shopping at the store, pay the credit card bill there as well. Most allow direct payments at the customer service window. Some also accept utility payments without an added surcharge.

Sharing Photos

Rather than purchasing extra photos to share by mail, create an on-line account which allows you to share "photo albums." By linking to the site, others can view and even purchase the photos without having to mail or purchase extras. This feature is often available at professional portrait studios as well.

While there are sensible ways to save money on postage, there are also the nonsensical. For instance, don't try to hand deliver your bills rather than mail them. In one trip from my home to pay my electric bill I drove fourteen miles. At 28 mpg, it cost me $1.39 to deliver my bill.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at Englishteach@rcn.com or visit her website at http://users.rcn.com/wesavedamutt/Writer

July 19, 20060 found this helpful

These are all good ideas and many that I use. I also save postage by making payments over the phone to some of my bills. I can pay all my insurances and cable tv among others.

All the ways mentioned save postage but they also save the time and expense of writing checks and also the gas if you have to make trips to the post office when you mail your bills or to get stamps or go in person to pay them.

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July 23, 20060 found this helpful

This has worked very well for us for years.

I use my Credit Card for everything I can ... the bill is paid-in full each month, so there is no interest. I pay my Credit Card bill on line which is debited from my checking account. I also get airline award miles too!

If the bill can't be paid-in-full I just do not charge items and carry a balance.

I use very little postage except for personal letters or cards.

TIP:

Put most of your money in your checking account so you have the money to pay your bill. You have a good record of where your money is going!

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April 4, 20070 found this helpful

i use commerce bank and they have free bill pay, i just go in every 2 weeks (which my bills are split pretty evenly through out the month so i only have to pay every two weeks) all of my accts are already set up i just punch in how much i want paid for that acct. put in when i want it sent out and commerce cuts the check and mails it out for me. its a free service they provide it not only saves me money on stamps but saves me money on having to buy checks too

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October 22, 20080 found this helpful

I would like to play," Devil's advocate " for a moment and come down on the side of the Post Office.The price of living, not to mention the cost of gas, has gone up for everyone everywhere and our Postal service is not only the BEST in the world it is also the least expensive. As a former military wife I have lived around the world and I know this to be a fact. I appreciate te 1st class service that we receive from our postal service and, NO none in my family works there.

Seriously though, they may sometimes slip up but they try very hard and, for the most part , do very well. That being said I am all in favor of saving money and appreciate all of your tips: except the lady who suggested cutting out stamps that appear to have been missed by the canceling machine--this is illegal!

Thanks to you all for sharing and allowing me to do the same. Shari

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