STAMP prices have risen in recent years as fewer people send letters in the post.
Postage costs depend on what type of stamp you buy and how quickly you want your mail delivered.
Royal Mail charges different postage prices depending on the size or weight of the item.
First class stamps are more expensive than second class, as they will get your letter to its destination faster.
Royal Mail has hiked postage prices again from today (April 4).
We explain everything you need to know about how much it costs to post a letter.
How much is a first class stamp?
Sending a letter first class is the fastest and most expensive option, with your item typically arriving within one to two working days.
From April 4, the cost of a first class stamp has jumped 10p to 95p for a standard letter, which can weigh up to 100g and measure a maximum of 24cm x 16.5cm x 5mm.
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A single first class stamp can be bought individually if you buy it at a Post Office counter.
Otherwise, you can typically buy them in sets of multiple stamps.
For example, a book of eight costs £7.60 from Royal Mail.
Buying a book of stamps used to save money but it now works out the same prices as buying each one individually.
It still saves you the time and effort of going back and forth to the Post Office though.
If you want to send an item first class that's bigger than a standard letter, the cost of the stamp will increase.
What can I send with a first class stamp?
Small and medium parcels can also be sent with a first class stamp, costing more depending on how heavy it is.
Royal Mail defines a small parcel as 45cm by 35cm by 16cm thick.
If it weighs up to 2kg, the stamp will cost £4.45,
For a parcel to be considered "medium", it must measure up to 61cm by 46cm by 46cm.
A medium parcel costs £6.95 to send first class if it weighs up to 2kg.
It then costs £7.95 if it weighs up to 10kg or £12.95 for parcels that weigh up to 20kg.
If your parcel weighs any more than this or is larger than this then you can't send it via Royal Mail.
You will instead have to use a service like Parcelforce, FedEx or Hermes.
We've rounded up an in-depth guide on the best parcel service options.
How much is a second class stamp?
Posting a letter or parcel second class is cheaper than first class but it takes longer for it to arrive.
Typically, it takes two to three working days for a second class item to arrive, including Saturday.
A second class stamp for a standard letter costs 68p as of April this year.
This comes as an increase of 2p from 66p in January.
You can buy second class stamps individually from the Post Office.
But you can also get them in a book of 8 for £5.44 at a variety of different shops, like supermarkets and off-licences.
If you want to send a large letter weighing up to 100g, it will cost you £1.05.
Large letters that weigh up to 250g, will cost £1.65, ones weighing up to 500g will cost £2.15 and those weighing up to 750g will cost £2.70.
But like first class stamps, you can send small and medium parcels with second class stamps.
Sending a small parcel that weighs up to 2kg will cost £3.35.
Meanwhile, medium parcels will cost £5.35 to send second-class if they weigh up to 2kg and will cost £6.95 if they weigh up to 10kg.
For a parcel that ways up to 20kg, you'd pay £10.45.
With second class stamps, you also can't send large parcels so will have to send your package via a different parcel service.
Do stamps have an expiry date?
Stamps with no monetary value indicated on them do not usually expire but there is a big change coming next year that will invalidate current stamps.#
From January 31, 2023, you won't be able to use the current style of stamps that feature an image of the Queen's head.
Instead, only the new style stamps complete with their new barcodes will be valid, and you'll face a surcharge trying to use anything otherwise.
However, MoneySavingExpert reported that the postal service has made a partial U-turn, and old Christmas stamps will still be valid after that date.
How are postage prices decided?
The Royal Mail typically increases the price of stamps annually and this year the price rose in April.
Normally, it gives customers advance warning of around a month before pushing up prices.
This year the hike was announced in March.
Royal Mail said it is hiking the price of postage due to the decline in the number of people sending letters.
The number of letters being posted has dropped 60% since 2005 and around 20% since the start of the pandemic.
It also blamed rising inflation for the increase.
Brits are facing a cost of living crisis, with food and energy bill prices also on the rise.
Royal Mail said it is a necessary move to meet its Universal Service obligation.
That means the postal service has to deliver letters to 31million home and business addresses six days a week at one, universal price
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