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Buying stamps online
June 21, 2007 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy first class postage online? I need to be able to choose a custom rate (say, $1.57).

Every item I mail is the same size and weighs exactly the same (DVDs in cases, in a cardboard mailer). In the past I have used the machine at the post office to purchase stamps 20 at a time (actually 5 at a time, 4 times, stupid machine). Due to my work schedule, getting to the post office during business hours is difficult. I only ship about 20 packages a month, so subscription services like stamps.com and postal meters aren't really options.

Is there anywhere online I can order first class postage in custom dollar amounts? I am willing to order up to 100 stamps at a time.
posted by indyz to Shopping (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried the U.S. Postal Service?
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2007


Depends if you want standard ol' first class or not. Check this page for options.
posted by pupdog at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2007


It sounds like he wants it Media Mail, which I thought was $1.59 for less than a pound.
posted by cmiller at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2007


The way I interpreted the OP's question was that he's sending his items via FCM, but that due to the size/weight, it always ends up costing $1.57.

I don't know of a good way to buy custom stamps like that, aside from Endicia or Stamps.com, both of which I think charge not insubstantial fees. They're really made for much higher-volume use than you're using, I think. (Although no harm in looking, maybe they're cheaper than when I looked into them a few years back.)

I guess if I were you, I'd probably just go down to the Post Office and buy a bunch of stamps of various denominations, so that I could get to $1.57 using the fewest stamps. Wikipedia has a list of available U.S. Postage Stamp denominations. (Maybe some clever person out there can look at the list and find out what the easiest way is to get to $1.57 using the fewest number of stamps without going over...?)

If you don't mind wasting a few cents per package, you could just put a $1 and a $0.60 stamp on each one, and you'd be done. Since it doesn't expire, buy as much as you want at a time.

You might have to go to a big Post Office to get any weird-denomination stamps you want, or have your local office order them for you, but they should be obtainable.

Just be careful that you're not putting packages over 12 (maybe 16?) oz into drop boxes (there's a limit on the size of packages bearing stamps you can put in letterboxes, because of the Unabomber thing).
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:11 PM on June 21, 2007


If $1.57 is your magic number, then you could go to the USPS site and order a whole mess of Margaret Chase Smith $.58 stamps and half a mess of ordinary first class $.41 stamps. Two Margaret Chase Smiths + one first class letter stamp = 2($.58) + $.41 = $1.57. And they would look cooler than plain ol' printed postage labels.
posted by Orinda at 2:14 PM on June 21, 2007


And if it's $1.59 as I predicted, then get 69¢ and 90¢ stamps.
posted by cmiller at 2:27 PM on June 21, 2007


@SteveInMaine: The post office only sells standard denominations over their website. The Click-N-Ship thing is only for express and priority mail, as far as I can tell.

@cmiller: I don't actually want media mail. The packages are light enough that first class to anywhere in the lower 48 is cheaper. First class is also quite a bit faster, especially as distance increases.

I'm beginning to suspect that buying smaller denomination stamps is my only real option.
posted by indyz at 2:29 PM on June 21, 2007


Do you have a printer? You can use stamps.com to print out postage of any denomination. It uses an optical barcode so you don't need any special paper, but if you have printable sticky labels that might save you some time.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:37 PM on June 21, 2007


And now I read your question again and see that you already ruled that out. Doh.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:38 PM on June 21, 2007


Why do you think there are non-standard denominations? Their website sells all of them. The airmail stamps are nice and big and high denomination, and can be used for any mail.

When they do the postage in the post office, they print up a custom label for the exact amount, but they don't use stamps at all.
posted by smackfu at 3:30 PM on June 21, 2007


Or another option is something from this recent question. You can use a PayPal account to print postage. It doesn't let you print arbitrary postage, but it does let you print Media Mail labels
posted by smackfu at 3:33 PM on June 21, 2007


Don't rule out Endicia. You can sign up for a one month free trial, and print out "Insta-Postage" in (I think) any denomination. Just print enough to last you for a really long time so you don't have to pay $15/month to print more.
posted by reeddavid at 4:05 PM on June 21, 2007


This link goes to Paypal and is intended for shipping EBay items, but it enables you to print USPS first class and media mail postage with delivery confirmation for any value. You can also do bulk printings.
posted by meehawl at 6:21 AM on June 22, 2007


usps.com has lots of different denominations. I just bought 80 cent stamps and 17 cent stamps for my particular mailing needs.
Here is the page with non-standard stamps on it. Granted, they don't have one for $1.57, but there are loads of fun combinations you can use to get there.
posted by bink at 7:53 AM on June 22, 2007


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