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The postage hike affects your life more than you think

While the price of a letter might only be going up a few cents, it adds up fast for a company like Valpak, the direct mailing giant in St. Petersburg.

The price of a postage stamp went up by the largest amount ever over the weekend.

First class stamps to send a letter or mail-in a bill are now $0.55. That’s up from 50 cents.

But, even if you don’t use snail mail as often anymore, the latest post office increases are bound to cost you money.

With the post office losing $4 billion dollars last year alone, the price of moving mail is going up. Overall, two or three percent, but in some categories as much as 10 percent.

“They have to make money somehow or another,” said customer Bill Eislein, visiting the Post Office Branch in St. Petersburg.

Previous: Biggest stamp price hike in decades is here

The record price spike for individual stamps probably won’t break the bank with so many paying bills online or using email.

“I’ll be honest,” said customer Bill Perkins, “I can’t remember the last time I used a stamp.”

But, for people like Dayna Firchow, it’s the increase on almost all forms of priority shipping that hurts.

“I ship off 50 things a day, every day,” said Firchow. “So, I don’t like the price is going up.”

Firchow runs her own custom T-shirt company. At close to a dollar more to ship each one, it’s a big chunk of change that she and other online sellers will have to absorb or pass on to customers.

“Exactly. So, now I have to raise prices,” said Firchow. “People don’t like me raising the prices with the shipping, because, you know, they just want a bargain.”

Now, multiply Firchow’s story by the millions of people who buy almost everything online these days.

Related: The biggest stamp hike in decades goes into effect in January

Financial giant Credit Suisse figures the post office’s parcel increase could cost a company like Amazon.com between $400 million and a billion dollars.

That troubles anyone like Bill Perkins, who was returning an item at the post office Monday.

“Oh, of course, we are going to all have to pay that, right? It’ll come out of our pocket," Perkins said.

Consider also, that while the price of a letter might only be going up a few cents, it adds up fast for a company like Valpak, the direct mailing giant in St. Petersburg.

Valpak pays what it calls a “saturation mail” rate.

But at 37 million homes per month, a company spokesperson says the price hike is felt across the board.

Five cents here. A dollar there. And pretty soon you’re talking real money. Impacting your budget. Big company profits. And perhaps a small company’s survival.

“It affects me because I’m trying to make a profit to live with my family and raise my kids,” said Firchow. “And raising prices just doesn’t help out at all -- for the customer or for me.”

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