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Up another penny

Looking for a sure-fire return on an investment?

Head on down to your neighborhood post office and stock up on some Forever stamps for 45 cents each.

On Jan. 27, they are guaranteed to be worth 46 cents.

On Friday, the Postal Service announced new postage rates for 2013, all to take effect Jan. 27.

After that, it will cost an extra penny to mail a letter as the price on Forever stamps will go up in price from the current 45 cents to 46 cents, but stamps bought by that date will still be good for mailing a one-ounce letter, no matter what might happen to postage rates in the future.

The cost of a first-class stamp has gone up 17 times since 1974, when the price was raised from 8 cents to a dime. The rate last went up in January 2012 with the price of a first-class stamp jumping one cent.

Other prices going up are postcards, which will increase from 32 cents to 33 cents.

New this year will be the First-Class Mail Global Forever stamp, a new international rate stamp. The Global Forever stamp offers a single price for any First-Class Mail International one-ounce letter to any country in the world.

“We’re excited to introduce the new First-Class Mail Global Stamp,” said Central Illinois District Manager, Peter Allen. “The new stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10 and will ease the transition during price changes.”

Prices for shipping services increased by 2.6 percent with Priority Mail prices increasing an average of 6.3 percent. Delivery confirmation will be free on Priority Mail and Standard Post (formerly named Parcel Post).

New domestic retail pricing for Priority Mail Flat-Rate products includes:

• Regular envelope — $5.60

• Legal-size envelope — $5.75

• Padded envelope — $5.95

• Small box — $5.80

• Medium box — $12.35

• Large box — $16.85

• Large APO/FPO/DPO box — $14.85

Express Mail prices increased on average by 5.8 percent. The Sunday/holiday premium remains at $12.50 for the fourth year in a row. No other charges apply. Express Mail Flat-Rate Boxes were introduced last year and remain unchanged at $39.95. Express Mail retail prices begin at $14.10. Express Mail Flat-Rate Envelope retail prices increase to $19.95.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

This increase is the latest effort by the USPS to stem its tide of red ink caused by declining mail volume. In Fiscal Year 2011, the U.S. Postal Service suffered a $5.15 billion net loss, compared to $8.5 billion the prior year.

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