How Much Does It Cost To Mail a Letter? 2022 Price Guide

Article Summary:

As of mid-2022, it costs $0.60 to mail a letter through the USPS’s First-Class Mail service. However, you could pay more or less depending on the size, weight, and class of the mail you’re sending.

These days, you may not find yourself sending physical mail as often as you once did. After all, people are more likely to rely on email and text messaging for personal communications. And while it was once common to send checks through snail mail to pay the bills, you probably find yourself paying most of your bills online now.

That being said, you may occasionally find yourself in a situation where you have to send a letter or package through the mail. And when that rare scenario does come up, you probably wonder just how much it’s going to cost you.

In April 2022, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced it would be raising the costs of delivering mail. These new prices, according to the USPS announcement, were set to take effect in July 2022. With the price changes ranging from $0.02 to $0.10 depending on the type of mail, it’s worth taking a look at the current price of mailing a letter or package through the U.S. Postal Service.

How much does it cost to mail a letter?

There isn’t a single flat rate for mailing a letter. Mail comes in a variety of different classes, each of which requires a different type of postage at a different price point. Mailing your letter or package may require more or less postage depending on its size, shape, and weight.

One of the cheapest and most common types of mail you can send through the USPS is First-Class Mail, which is the size of a standard envelope. The cost of First-Class Mail is $0.60 per stamp, but First-Class Mail letters only require a single stamp if they’re under the weight limit of 3.5 ounces (parcels and large envelopes mailed through First-Class package service can be up to 13 ounces, after which they become Priority Mail).

Other classes of USPS mail are more expensive. Additionally, if your mail exceeds the weight limit for its class, you’ll have to pay for additional postage.

The table below shows the 2022 prices and standard weight limits for different classes of USPS mail:

Mail ClassLetter/Package TypePrice
First-Class MailLetter (stamped), 1 oz

Letter (metered), 1 oz

Large Envelope (flat), 1 oz

Postcard

$0.60

$0.57

$1.20

$0.44

Priority MailFlat-Rate Envelope (12-½” x 9-½” or smaller)

Legal Flat-Rate Envelope

Padded Flat-Rate Envelope

Small Flat-Rate Box

$8.95

$9.25

$9.65

$9.45

Priority Mail ExpressFlat-Rate Envelope

Legal Flat-Rate Envelope

Padded Flat-Rate Envelope

$26.95

$27.10

$27.50

As you can see, postage rates vary broadly depending on the mail class, size, shape, and weight of the letter or package you’re sending. And that’s even before you account for the special rates to send commercial mail and international mail.

USPS price hikes in 2022

In April 2022, the USPS announced it would be increasing the cost of mailing letters and packages. Most notably, the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp was increased from $0.58 to $0.60. Here’s a more comprehensive list of the USPS price increases that took effect in July 2022:

ProductPrevious PriceNew Price
Letter (1 oz)$0.58$0.60
Letter (metered 1 oz)$0.53$0.57
Letter, additional ounce(s)$0.20$0.24
Domestic postcard$0.40$0.44
International letter (1 oz)$1.30$1.40

While these price changes may be inconvenient, they aren’t all that surprising. Nearly every industry was hit with high inflation rates throughout 2021 and 2022. In fact, this 6.5% increase in the cost of postage was actually lower than the average national inflation rate, which spiked at 9.1% in mid-July 2022, when the USPS price changes took effect.

Factors that affect the cost to mail a letter

As mentioned above (and emphasized in the price tables), there’s no one flat rate for all mail. Instead, there are a number of factors that will influence the price of sending mail through the USPS.

The main factor that determines the cost of mailing a letter or package is its mail class. The USPS categorizes mail into classes based on the characteristics of the parcel or envelope. The following are the different classes of mail that the USPS delivers:

  • Priority Mail Express
  • Priority Mail
  • First-Class Mail
  • USPS Marketing Mail
  • Periodicals
  • Package Services/USPS Retail Ground

Within each mail class, the price of mailing a letter can vary further based on the size and weight of the envelope. If you’re trying to send a First-Class Mail letter that exceeds the weight limit, you’ll need additional postage to mail it.

Finally, postage price can be affected by the shape of the envelope. A standard piece of mail is rectangular, but if you want to send a piece of mail that doesn’t fit this standard shape, you may need to use a different type of stamp or pay for additional postage.

Pro Tip

If you’re ever in doubt about what type of stamp or how much postage you need, consult an employee at your local post office. It’s better to take the extra bit of time to ask up front than to waste money on the wrong postage and have your letter returned.

FAQ

How much does it cost to mail an envelope?

The cost of sending mail depends on several factors, including the size and shape of the envelope. As of July 2022, the price of sending a standard-sized piece of mail is $0.60 cents.

How do I know if my envelope needs extra postage?

If you’re sending a larger piece of mail, your envelope may require extra postage. First, you can measure and weigh a piece of mail to determine if it fits the requirements for a first-class letter. You can also bring your mail to the post office for guidance on the correct amount of postage.

How many stamps do I need to mail a letter?

The number of stamps you’ll need to mail a letter depends on the size and shape of the envelope. For a piece of First-Class Mail, you’ll only need one stamp to mail your letter (unless it exceeds the weight limit).

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of postage starts at $0.44 for postcards and increases based on the class, size, weight, and shape of the letter or package.
  • The USPS increased the cost of postage in July 2022, raising the price of First-Class Mail Forever stamps from $0.58 to $0.60.
  • Factors that affect the price of mailing a letter include the class of the mail and the size, shape, and weight of the envelope.
View Article Sources
  1. Price List – USPS.com
  2. U.S. Postal Service Announces New Prices for 2022 – USPS.com
  3. Classes of Mail – USPS.com