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Old 12-26-2013, 02:48 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by rbmrtn View Post
For tax payments I just go to the courthouse when I'm nearby, Strange thing is they charge for online CC payment but no charge for CC when paying in person ( I get the cash back rewards )
Interesting. Most tax-collecting entities I've see charge some kind of fee, usually about 3% to cover credit card fees.

Many other tax-collecting entities that accept credit cards online use a third party service which may take its own pound of flesh (they ain't working for free)....
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
I've seen several posters here say they only use a few stamps per year. That to me is difficult to envision as we use stamps for mailing in property taxe payments, mailing birthday and Christmas cards, sending important correspondence (via certified), etc.

I said earlier, I believe we use about 40 stamps per year (this estimate is without asking DW what she sends).

To those posters, how do you manage to use so few stamps?
I've gotten it down to just a few stamps per year. I use one for property tax bill. When i'm away from the condo for an extended amount of time I send my condo fee via mail with a stamp. That is just a few times per year. I could just prepay that as well and I could pay extra to pay my property tax bill with a CC then I wouldn't use any stamps at all.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:52 PM   #63
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...

It not only keeps the cost of postage down for the rest of us, it enables businesses to reach out and sell, and as investors, we benefit from the high stock prices that are one result.
Not interested in subsidizing the rest of the country's antiquated mail use by "keeping the cost of postage down". As I said, USPS is useless to me. They are the Microsoft of information delivery, failing miserably to keep up with change. The low correlation of this method of "scatter" advertising to sales results has been documented elsewhere, so it's effect on stock price is suspect to me.

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What? You think that having somebody come to your house (or nearby area) six days a week, pick up your letter, deliver it to another house or business as far as across the country, usually in no more than a week, with 99.999% reliability, and do it all for 49 cents is a deal?
For the one or two times this happens for me, it's not a deal. Were the USPS eliminated, I'd find alternatives without the hassle of emptying a mailbox crammed full of "opportunity" every two weeks when I do think to check the mail.

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Me too. Since I average 7 stamps per year, this comes to $3.43/year, or around 6-7 cents/week for this service.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:00 PM   #64
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It's interesting how different postal usage is with demographics -- ages, urban versus rural, tech savvy versus not so much. I work in small town post offices -- just covered a shift this morning in my home town (tough commute, a 4-block walk) -- and in these little towns, the PO is still actually a bit of a social hub, where locals meet and greet each other while getting the mail and such. Many of them are older and very rural, so they have little or no Internet (or computer savvy). They don't have "online bill pay" or automatic payments. They still write a lot of cards and letters, pay a lot of bills with mailed checks, and together with the telephone the US Mail is still one of their main connecting points with the "outside world".

Yet for many younger folks, more urban and suburban folks, with more computers, Internet access and tech savvy, it's a lot different. Many of them rarely, if ever, send physical greeting cards or write letters. (Not saying it's good or bad, just different, though IMO the ability to at least write a letter or send a card when you need to is still a skill that's worth having.)

Anyway I guess I'm lucky in my semi-retirement that this doesn't feel like w*rk, and as long as it doesn't, I can probably stick with it. Especially if I can get more days like today where I don't have to drive 25 miles each way.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:02 PM   #65
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For the one or two times this happens for me, it's not a deal. Were the USPS eliminated, I'd find alternatives without the hassle of emptying a mailbox crammed full of "opportunity" every two weeks when I do think to check the mail.
Good for you. And since they aren't taking tax money, it shouldn't bother you if they continue to exist, either, though for some reason it sounds like it does bother you. If nothing else, they add competitive pressures on UPS and FedEx in the parcel delivery business to push each other to be better and more efficient.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #66
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Good for you. And since they aren't taking tax money, it shouldn't bother you if they continue to exist, either, though for some reason it sounds like it does bother you. If nothing else, they add competitive pressures on UPS and FedEx in the parcel delivery business to push each other to be better and more efficient.
With all due respect, it would help if you would read what I posted. I don't care what they do: exist, expand, or dye their hair red.

What I do care about is all the "opportunity" they stuff uselessly in my mailbox despite having attempted in vain to get on several do not mail/disturb/harrass/vex/annoy, etc., lists...

I've thought of not checking the mail at all, but there are some people/companies so hopelessly behind the times that they insist on sending things by mail (i.e., AT&T's external envelope stating "important information about your account inside" which turns out to be nothing more than a ploy to get me to open an ad campaign). Fortunately, this comes down to maybe one or two as most people I know and do business with are living in the 21st century*.

*Big Caveat: YMMV, and it's your thing, do what you wanna do, I can't tell ya, who to sock it to...hear me now...
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:50 PM   #67
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I've seen several posters here say they only use a few stamps per year. That to me is difficult to envision as we use stamps for mailing in property taxe payments, mailing birthday and Christmas cards, sending important correspondence (via certified), etc.

I said earlier, I believe we use about 40 stamps per year (this estimate is without asking DW what she sends).

To those posters, how do you manage to use so few stamps?
(1) After my property tax got lost in the mail one year, resulting in a late fee that upset me a lot, I have instead chosen to pay it online, in a lump sum for the year as soon as I know how much it will be. To avoid the credit card or debit card fee, I just have the exact specified amount deducted straight from my checking account at a cost to me of $0.00 (a savings of $0.49, I suppose). It is deducted promptly and that is that.

(2) I don't subsidize Hallmark. I do respond to Christmas cards by sending a long, newsy e-mail with attached photos in return. More effort but a lot more personal, and they usually initiate a number of e-mail exchanges back and forth as a result.

(3) Last year I had one important correspondence (concerning an investment) that needed to be sent by mail so that they would have my signature on file. So there's ONE stamp..... I am obviously not nearly as important as you are because I just don't have to send certified mail every time I turn around (and fewer and fewer of them seem necessary as the years go by).

(4) Flood insurance needs to be sent in by surface mail instead of snail mail, IIRC, although I believe they have changed that or are changing it soon. But, I am still sending it by snail mail. So there's another stamp (unless I used a pre-paid envelope).

Not sure what I used the other 5 stamps for.

I have paid all of my other bills electronically since the year 2000, by automatic deduction from my checking account, with no errors; the accumulated postage that I have saved would be enough to pay for a considerable error after all these years, but still no errors.

I keep in touch with people through e-mail, not letters, since everyone I know is quite capable of handling e-mail.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:13 PM   #68
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And since they aren't taking tax money, it shouldn't bother you if they continue to exist, either, though for some reason it sounds like it does bother you. If nothing else, they add competitive pressures on UPS and FedEx in the parcel delivery business to push each other to be better and more efficient.
+1

I agree Zig. It's kinda strange how the loudest complainers about the USPS are folks that generally don't use it. You're right. If the PO isn't taking tax money, and since there are alternative private sector services readily available, why get yourself worked up whining about the PO (that you don't use anyway)? Just go use the electronic or hand-carried delivery service of your choice and write positive reviews of those you're most happy with.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:22 PM   #69
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I wonder if people who do not want USPS mail can just take down their mail box, and the mail man would just stop. Is there a law requiring a homeowner to have a mailbox or a slot in the front door for delivery? Yes, I used to live in an older part of town where the mailman had to walk to each house front door to push the mail through a slot.

Up in my boonies home, USPS does not deliver mail and homeowners have to apply for a mail box at the post office. The home address is not used, and replaced with a P.O. box number. The home owners must renew every year, or the mailbox gets de-assigned.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #70
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I wonder if people who do not want USPS mail can just take down their mail box, and the mail man would just stop. Is there a law requiring a homeowner to have a mailbox or a slot in the front door for delivery?
It seems like receiving mail is optional here. We live in a suburban neighborhood with mailboxes at the curb which the postal worker delivers to directly from a vehicle. My neighbor next door lost his mailbox to the snowplow a few winters back and decided he just didn't want mail anymore. He didn't replace the mailbox. He no longer gets mail delivered to his house as the postal worker is not allowed to park his/her vehicle, get out and walk to the door for daily routine deliveries.

As to whether he now has a box at the post office or checks for mail at "general delivery" from time to time, I have no idea. I don't see how they could force him to go to the post office and ask for mail at general delivery though....... Maybe some Federal Marshalls come to your home, cuff you and put you in the back seat of a cruiser, take you to the post office and make you ask for your mail at general delivery?
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:48 PM   #71
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At my main suburban home, I have my own mail box at the curb as you do. Houses built just a few years later on the adjacent streets have mailboxes clustered in a block for easier delivery by the mail man.

About your neighbor without a mailbox, would his first-class mail get returned stamped with "Not deliverable due to lack of mailbox"?
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #72
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(1) After my property tax got lost in the mail one year, resulting in a late fee that upset me a lot, I have instead chosen to pay it online, in a lump sum for the year as soon as I know how much it will be. To avoid the credit card or debit card fee, I just have the exact specified amount deducted straight from my checking account at a cost to me of $0.00 (a savings of $0.49, I suppose). It is deducted promptly and that is that.

(2) I don't subsidize Hallmark. I do respond to Christmas cards by sending a long, newsy e-mail with attached photos in return. More effort but a lot more personal, and they usually initiate a number of e-mail exchanges back and forth as a result.

(3) Last year I had one important correspondence (concerning an investment) that needed to be sent by mail so that they would have my signature on file. So there's ONE stamp..... I am obviously not nearly as important as you are because I just don't have to send certified mail every time I turn around (and fewer and fewer of them seem necessary as the years go by).

(4) Flood insurance needs to be sent in by surface mail instead of snail mail, IIRC, although I believe they have changed that or are changing it soon. But, I am still sending it by snail mail. So there's another stamp (unless I used a pre-paid envelope).

Not sure what I used the other 5 stamps for.

I have paid all of my other bills electronically since the year 2000, by automatic deduction from my checking account, with no errors; the accumulated postage that I have saved would be enough to pay for a considerable error after all these years, but still no errors.

I keep in touch with people through e-mail, not letters, since everyone I know is quite capable of handling e-mail.
We get three tax bills: Property, school and municipal water district, all of which require a separate payment. They don't allow auto deduct from my account and only accept checks and credit cards. Kind of old fashioned, but it is what it is. So there goes three stamps. Then I review my checking account online in a week or so to make sure all the checks have posted.

We are not very important folks as you coined us as, but with a new solo 401K application to Vanguard, they insisted on something better than a $0.49 cent stamp to send it in. So we sent it certified, return receipt. Cheaper than FedEx. Another time we used certified this year was mailing a car title to the insurance company after daughter totaled her car and the insurance company wanted the title endorsed prior to sending a payment check. I believe we made one other certified mailing this year when I closed my sub S corp and had to file a closing document with the state. When I had the sub S corp, I mailed all tax filings and correspondence to the IRS certified, return receipt. You are crazy if you don't do this, especially if you have a business.

DW is very traditional and sends birthday cards to siblings, grandkids and great grandkids. We send out about 20 Christmas cards to friends and relatives each year.

Our personal bills are generally paid through bill pay, but I have had one occurrence of a utility payment being lost in space for several months which about caused us to have our power turned off unless we re-paid the bill.

None of this is perfect, and you have to work at it. One thing I have noticed is how easy it is to throw away junk mail and have a bill or other correspondence stuck in the wad of junk.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:55 PM   #73
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About your neighbor without a mailbox, would his first-class mail get returned stamped with "Not deliverable due to lack of mailbox"?
Good question! I don't really know. I'm friendly with both the neighbor and our long time mailman, so if I see them I'll ask what's happening, how it's working out.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:19 PM   #74
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I think your mailman would have the better answer, as your neighbor doesn't care would not know if he had any important mail.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:40 PM   #75
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I use so few postage stamps annually that I doubt it will affect me even a little bit. I foresee an increase of 9 cents annually in my budget.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:57 PM   #76
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If the price increase would reduce the amount of junk mail I get from Verizon and Optimum (cable TV provider) it would be well worth it. I get the same garbage from both places a few times per month and it is always the same stuff, sometimes in those big, wasteful envelopes. Do they really think that after the 100th one of those I am going to cave in and buy their overpriced, bundled services? The only thing worse than the junk mail are the junk phone calls I get from their reps, mainly the Optimum ones. The last time one of them called me I yelled at the guy for 10 minutes about how they force me to pay extra surcharges for the many basic channels I never watch.....and they want me to pay them MORE money? HA!

I have gone through a few paper shredders over the years shredding the junk mail (the papers which have my address or other personal info) I have gotten from Optimum, Verizon, Geico, AmEx, and CapOne over the years.
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:56 AM   #77
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I thought about buying $400 worth of stamps because they are a good deal but would I live long enough to use them?? Pays much better than a CD.
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:34 AM   #78
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I think it should at least double to $.92 heck make it a buck! Then all that rubbish I get in mail each day offering me unbeatable CC deals, Insurance or asking me to attend a seminar, invest in or buy something I do not want or need may stop. Or, I will get the pleasure that they are wasting more money sending it to me. I would miss the ritual of shredding them all every day though.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:04 AM   #79
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USPS loses billions every year. How financed if not through taxes eventually?
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:10 AM   #80
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USPS loses billions every year. How financed if not through taxes eventually?
Don't you have some problems up there in Canada you need to focus on? The problems we have with USPS won't cost you a single looney, right?

Edit: OK, I suppose if the USPS fails there could be thousands of desperate postal carriers swimming north across the 49th parallel...
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