Sooner or later you are going to end up at the Post Office. It's a fact of life. Long lines, cryptic rules, endless forms plus sometimes less than helpful counter staff. But with a little know-how and a small investment you can virtually eliminate any need to visit the post office ever again.
The key to this postage nirvana is taking a few simple steps before you have to mail something. If you wait until the mail is in your hand chances are you will be back at the Post Office waiting in line again. Thinking ahead really does pay off.
In the past I used to buy a book of stamps and keep them handy. It worked for the most part but invariably the Post Office would change the postal rates. This meant either going back to the Post Office to buy stamps in the denomination of the difference, or a new book of stamps. Very frustrating, and a big waste of time and money.
This clumsy state of affairs has been solved by the new Forever Stamp. The Forever stamp is always valid for First-Class postage on standard envelopes weighing one ounce or less, regardless of any subsequent increases in the First-Class rate. Bottom line - they are valid forever.
Not only does this eliminate unnecessary trips to the Post Office, it also saves you money. If the postage rate goes up you can still continue to use the Forever Stamp that you bought at the lower rate. They come in books of 20 stamps, but you can also order a packet containing 100 Forever Stamps right from the USPS web site.
If you have to mail a package you have two problems to overcome. The first is determining the weight of your package. The second is calculating and printing the required postage.
To accurately calculate the weight you are going to need a scale of some kind. The ideal solution is to buy a small digital postal scale. You can find these on places like Amazon and Ebay. But if buying a dedicated postal scale seems like overkill to you a good quality digital kitchen scale will work just as well. Please remember my advice earlier. Buy the postal scale now. Don't wait until the package is sitting on your desk.
Now that we have the package weight we are ready to calculate the postage amount and print our shipping label. To do this we are going to use a feature available from PayPal called ShipNow. (If you have never sold anything on eBay before the ShipNow option will be missing. See below on how to fix this.)
From the ShipNow screen select USPS as the carrier and enter the required information. You can print your shipping label using plain paper or better yet a self adhesive label.
The labels print on standard 8.5 X 11 inch paper using your existing inkjet or laser printer. The actual shipping label is 6X4 inches, so be sure your package is big enough to accept this. You can print a dummy sample label first to check that your printer is working correctly. Vipparcel can help you to print labels online without any hassel. Good thing is that they have discounted rates.
Unlike regular postage stamps ShipNow postage labels are only valid for the date specified. So be sure to mail your package by the specified ship date. You can specify a ship date up to three days in advance at the time you create your label. ShipNow will allow you to ship your package internationally, but you are restricted to the more expensive Express and Priority mail classes.
Posted on September 6, 2018