As the cost of living continues to rise, Brits must now prepare for stamps to go up in price from April 2022 too.
2022 certainly marks a penny-pinching year for households up and down the UK. As we come to terms with rising energy bills, gas bills, petrol prices and of course the National Insurance increase. Sadly, it’s not just the bigger things that are hiking up in price either – with the cost of grocery items like pasta and bread having increased too. And now Royal Mail have announced further testing news for Brits, as their trusty First and Second Class stamps wil also go up in price during the forthcoming month.
These new changes to the cost of living – as it’s known – has led many to take another look at their finances and seek ways to save a few pennies here and there. And the good news is that like those handy hacks to help save on fuel costs, you could potentially save a few bob on stamps before the price increase deadline.
When do stamps go up in 2022?
Royal Mail have confirmed that current stamp prices will increase by up to 10p on 4 April 2022. This increase applies to the cost of both First and Second class stamps, plus Large Letter stamps.
A rise in prices has been credited with inflation rates, coupled with less people sending letters these days. “Royal Mail has considered these pricing changes very carefully in light of the long term structural decline in letter usage and rising inflation,” read a statement on 4 March.
According to Royal Mail, the amount of letters Brits send has decreased by 60% since 2004. And the pandemic only contributed to this decline, with a further 20% drop reported since the outbreak of Covid-19.
A growing population and increased demand on postal workers is also behind the rise:
“While the number of letters our postmen and women deliver has declined from around 20 billion a year to around seven billion since 2004/5, the number of addresses they have to deliver to has grown by around 3.5 million in the same period,” said Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail.
This address growth has proved problematic for the company, who announced postal delays to 45 UK postcodes last December. During the peak Christmas delivery period.
“We need to carefully balance our pricing against declining letter volumes and increasing costs of delivering to a growing number of addresses six days a week,” he added.
How much is a First Class stamp?
The price of a First Class stamp is currently 85p. Though this will increase to 95p from 4 April 2022.
Royal Mail’s First Class postal service aims to deliver your letter by the next day, including on Saturdays. The stamp can be applied to letters that weigh up to 100g. It also features compensation cover of up to £20 – should your letter go missing. Though this insurance does not apply to money or valuables sent via letter.
You can buy First Class stamps at your local postal office, or online via the Royal Mail shop.
How much is a Second Class stamp?
Second Class stamps will rise by 2p on 4 April, from 66p to the new price of 68p. Royal Mail confirmed a change to it’s Second Class stamp cost on 4 March.
Second Class is a chaeper option for UK customers who don’t need their letter sent urgently. As a result, delivery times are slightly slower: “Delivery in two to three working days including Saturdays,” Royal Mail states of their Second Class postal service online.
The future 68p cost covers letters weighing up to 100g and has the same £20 compensation cover (excluding money and valuables).
You can buy Second Class stamps via the post office, or online at Royal Mail.
Can you use old stamps when the price goes up?
Yes, customers will still be able to use stamps bought before the price increase. This is because the design is not changing – just the price – so the regular Queen fronted stamps are still usable after 4 April.
Savvy stamp shoppers can save money in the long run by stock buying stamps before the price hike takes place. In fact, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has urged Brits to do this before the deadline.
“You can stock up on 1st and 2nd class stamps now at the cheaper prices,” said Martin on Twitter.
This hack is worth it if you are someone who uses a lot of stamps. For example, buying 10 First Class stamps now will save you a pound long term.
Do stamps go out of date?
Yes, the current First and Second Class stamps featuring Her Majesty are valid until 31 January 2023. The Royal Mail are introducing a new barcode stamp to replace the current ‘everyday’ stamps. And as a result, these will expire after the January deadline.
“The barcodes will enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world through the Royal Mail app,” reads a statement on the Royal Mail website.
You therefore have until next January to use up the current stamps. But fear not, as those who won’t be able to use all of their stamps before the cut off date can exchange them for the new barcoded ones.
This can be done via the Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme which launched 31 March 2022. Brits just need to print and fill out a Stamp Swap Out form and send it to the return address along with the non-barcoded stamps.
There is but one exception to the rule though. “Special Stamps with pictures on and Christmas Stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don’t need to be swapped out,” Royal Mail confirmed.
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