Thursday, February 22, 2007

Postage Rate Increases: Deal With it Frugally

They call it an "adjustment," but I call it "raising the price." The US Postal Service is the culprit this time. They're proposing a rate increase - excuse me, adjustment - of 3 cents to bring the cost of a first class letter to 42 cents.

That's 8 pennies less than a pound of hamburger when I was a young housewife. (And no, I'm not that old!)

Those 8 pennies went farther than they do now, too, but that's a different story. Today, we can often deal with things differently to save our pennies, and ultimately, our dollars and hundreds of dollars.

One way to deal a little differently with postage rate increases is to not buy as much postage. If they're going to insist on charging so much, I'll insist on not using their service. Now, that's the rebel in me, but the frugal fact is that we can do a lot of business without paying higher postage prices.

Two ways come to mind immediately. First, if you're close to a bricks and mortar office, stop by and pay the bill in person. It might take five or ten minutes, but it's for a cause! It won't make money sense to make a special trip, but if you're out shopping, or going in the general direction, why not? What's five minutes, anyway?

The second way, which appeals better to our (ok, my) lazy nature, is to pay bills online. Most, but not all, utility companies have web sites where you can pay your bill, either with credit card or a bank check. (Don't fall into temptation and pay with a credit card when you wouldn't have otherwise.)

Almost, but not all, utilities, give you the option of paying one time or setting up automatic payments. Automatic payments can be a headache, especially if your bank balance rises and falls according to pay days. One glitch, one late paycheck and you're hit with overdue charges, out of your control and often not your fault. Be that as it may, it's up to you which one you choose.

Bottom line? When the postage rate is 42 cents and you pay 10 bills online, you've saved $4.20. Do that every month and you will save $50.40 in a year.

And if $50 isn't worth much to you, send it to me and I'll make good use of it.
(Just kidding!)


  1. Our local garbage company just sent a notice that if we do not go on automatic payments we will be charged an additional $2 to prepare and send a paper bill quarterly. Now I know why. I would rather receive a discount to go on automatic payments than a threat if we do not. Our small long distance carrier did just that, a discount to not get billed as often.

  2. Our garbage company did that too, but I was so surprised when I found out that at least one of our bills, can't remember which one, tacks on a fifteen dollar charge to pay by phone or over the internet. Weird, huh?

  3. Think of it this way, you've just saved all that money by paying online and you're internet is paying for itself!

  4. I don't know why, but phone payments often cost you. I totally blanked that out when I wrote the post.

  5. Not another rate increase!

    This may be the year I switch to Christmas cards by email.

  6. A few years ago, I got a shock when I tried to pay my phone bill at the telephone company. "Sorry," they said, "we don't accept payments here any more. You'll have to mail it in." Course, now, I can pay it online.