I found a great way to save money on postage AND bring my creative business branding more in line with my top core values! (ie. look cool doing it!) The answer is Discount Postage, which is simply unused postage from bygone days that you can find for sale BELOW face value. Someone bought the stamps from the USPS, so they’ve already got their money, and the stamps never got used. Usually they end up in the hands of stamp collectors when they buy stamp collections at estate sales or buy them from people. They take out the really valuable stamps (which, everyone knows to be really worth anything for a collection, a stamp has to have been used! At least those were the rules back in elementary school when I started collecting stamps! I even had a little pair of stamp handling tongs, no joke!) and put those up for sale at crazy expensive prices, and then offer the unused, unvaluable, everyday stamps for sale to be used as postage for 90-80% of face value. The post office will accept them for postage and you, the customer ends up getting a good deal on letter and package sending! (This would be a really fun idea for unique wedding invitations, too!)
Anyway, the little shipping center where I send packages (way more convenient and fast than the post office!) charges more to ship via USPS than the post office does. I hadn’t thought about it much until I had to stop at the post office for some Duck Stamps (for the hunters) and sent a couple of packages while I was there. Turns out, I’ve been paying about 50 cents more per package at my little shipping center! Might not seem like much, but when you send hundreds (soon to be thousands, I hope) of little packages a year, that really adds up! Going through that Core Values Exercise a couple of weeks ago inspired me to think about using regular ol’ stamps on my packages. Since the jewelry packages I send are small and usually cost under $2 to ship, that wouldn’t be too many stamps to stick on, and it would really be more Authentic and fit in more with my values and business branding.
I was remembering how, in the past, whenever I’d received packages covered in old postage stamps I was simply thrilled to get all those old stamps for my collection (which I still have and add to!) and I began investigating how to buy unused, discount postage stamps. There are 3 good avenues for you to consider:
Call up or stop by your local Stamp Dealer. I haven’t done this yet. There’s not a lot of stamp dealers in the area listed on the web, but I’ll be checking out this option in the future and see what sort of deals they can offer.
Look around Ebay. I went ahead and ordered some at 90% off face value from Ebay. (Not a great selection on there, and it’s hard to find dealers who are selling unused postage below face value.) The stamps came all in one, unsorted envelope, but they came quickly. Might be you could get some really good deals on unused postage by bidding for them, but I hate waiting for bids to come up and wanted the stamps right away, so I searched for dealers who had the “buy now” option only.
Check out Harry Gitner’s website. The only thing with this website is that to order unused Discount Postage, you can’t add it to your cart and check out like with the rest of his collectible stamps. You’ve got to contact them. I wrote an email and didn’t hear back for about a week. But they did get back to me finally, giving me an order total and where to mail my check to. (If you pay by credit card or paypal, they charge an extra 3%) They have a minimum order of $100 face value, but their regular discount postage is sold at 86% of face value which is the best deal I’ve found so far, and they send it out all sorted by price into different envelopes, which makes it a LOT easier when trying to come up with $1.71 in assorted stamps! Harry Gitner Philatelists, Inc. is my top choice for discount stamps!!
There are two things besides stamps that you’ll need to start saving money on postage by sending packages from home with discount stamps. You need a postal scale (this is the one I bought, it’s not too pricey and works like a charm!) and you need to calculate how much the postage will cost. The USPS website has this handy rate calculator you can use, but seeing as how there are standard rates for domestic postage, I prefer to just look at the First Class Mail Rate Chart under the Packages column. Notice that if your package weighs even .1 ounces over the number in the “Weight Not Over” column, then you have to use the higher rate up. (One more thing to note is that if you’re sending international packages, you’ll still need to stop by the post office since you’ll need to fill out the little customs form there!)
There you have it! An easy and legal way to save money on postage and look way cool doing it! Until next time, Happy Money Saving Everyone!!