Postage Without Additional-Ounce Stamps

Copyright (c) 2020 by David Wincelberg

New rule: Items over 10 ounces with stamps or ½-inch thick must be presented at a post-office counter.

The postage rate for mailing a regular first-class letter in the United States starting January 26, 2020 is $0.55 for the first ounce and $0.15 for additional ounces up to 3.5 ounces. After that, you must use the rate for large envelopes, called flats, which starts at $1.00 and adds $0.20 for additional ounces.

Suppose that you only have 55-cent stamps. What should you do? You could affix one such stamp for each ounce. However, two first-ounce stamps covers 3.5 ounces for a letter. The first table below shows the costs for up to 13 ounces and the number of first-ounce stamps needed when you don't have additional-ounce stamps. (After 10 ounces, mail with stamps applied must be presented at a post-office counter.) The second table below shows the values when only first-ounce stamps are applied and how many ounces for letters and flats are covered by using only these stamps.

Ounces Letter Rates Stamps Needed Large-Envelope Rates Stamps Needed
1 $0.55 1 $1.00 2
2 0.70 2 1.20 3
3 0.85 2 1.40 3
3.5 1.00 2 ---- ---
4 1.60 3 1.60 3
5 1.80 4 1.80 4
6 2.00 4 2.00 4
7 2.20 4 2.20 4
8 2.40 5 2.40 5
9 2.60 5 2.60 5
10 2.80 6 2.80 6
11 3.00 6 3.00 6
12 3.20 6 3.20 6
13 3.40 7 3.40 7

First-Ounce Stamps Value Covers-Letters (oz) Covers-Flats (oz)
1 $0.55 1 0
2 1.10 3.5 1
3 1.65 4 4
4 2.20 7 7
5 2.75 9 9
6 3.30 12 12
7 3.85 13 13

Following are the size requirements on letters and large envelopes (flats). If any of the limits on flats are exceeded, then package rates apply. If any of the limits on letters are exceeded without exceeding the corresponding limit for flats, then the rates for flats apply. The minimum requirements must be met for both letters and flats.

Dimension Minimum (in) Limit-Letters (in) Limit-Flats (in)
Length (side to side) 5 11 ½ 15
Height (top to bottom) 3 ½ 6 1/8 12
Thickness (front to back) 0.007 ¼ ¾

References

  1. USPS Postal Explorer: First-Class Mail
  2. USPS Postal Explorer: Quick Reference—Domestic

Disclaimer: This above information is based on that from USPS.com. Although intended to be accurate, errors may occur. You assume all risks in using the information on this page.


Contact

david dot wincelberg at gmail dot com
(In the above line, change "at" and "dot" to their symbols and remove the spaces to produce my e-mail address.)

Return to main page
Last updated: 19-June-2020