Saturday, July 7, 2007

Saving Stamps

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usPostage rates consistently go up, time after time. When I was born (not so long ago, I know), stamps were 20 cents, now they're over twice as much at 41 cents each (though according to a Wikipedia chart, the rate has consistently stayed the same when inflation is considered). While a 41 cent stamp really isn't at all costly, they add up quickly - a booklet of 20 is $8.20. How can we save stamps to in turn save money? Frugality should cause us to look for ways to save stamps. While one way to save stamps would be through utilizing e-mail as much as possible, I encourage you to consider a way to frugally cut your stamp usage and take advantage of a beneficial tool in today's world.

Pay as many bills as possible electronically. If you are looking at this blog, you have at least limited access to the internet. Thus, this is a tool available to you. Each month, I pay as many bills as possible electronically. I login each month to pay my DirecTV bill, a student loan bill, my Cingular cell phone bill, and my Credit Card bill. Additionally, each month another student loan payment, the XM Radio payment, 2 life insurance payments, the car insurance payment, and the phone bill are automatically debited from my credit card or bank account. Making electronic payments is frugal in several ways:
  • I save stamps! 10 bills are payed electronically each month, saving $4.10 per month, or $49.20 per year! That's not huge, but remember frugality is all about saving in little ways which adds up huge over time. Each bill you begin paying online will save you $4.92 per year!
  • It is more difficult to steal financial information shared over a secure encrypted internet connection than out of an unsecured and unencrypted mail box in front of an empty home.
  • If you keep enough funds in your account to set up the payments to go through automatically (and hopefully you do!), you will save by not having to pay late fees because you forgot to send in a bill. I have paid late fees on water, gas, or electric probably 5 times in 2 years, simply because I forgot to mail off the payment in time. That wouldn't happen if those bills were paid electronically automatically.
A final word of advice, don't pay to pay electronically. I could pay my gas or electric bills electronically, but it costs $2.95 each, each time! That definitely isn't a way to save money.