How to Know How Many Stamps to Place

When it comes to mailing an item, selecting the right amount of postage depends upon many variables, including the size of your package, weight of your package, shipping method and destination. You'll want to so some math before dropping your item, with the proper postage, in the mail.

Weigh Your Package

Because shipping prices with major shipping companies vary based on the weight of your package, it is important to determine how much your package weighs. Weigh large packages on a bathroom scale. To determine the weight of small packages and envelopes, use a digital or mechanical scale, which you can purchase at many office supply stores and through the United States Postal Service store.

Determine How You Will Package Your Item

In most cases, your item will be shipped in either a box or envelope. Determine the type of box or envelope you will use. Options may include a standard-size envelope, padded envelope, small box, large box, or tube box, for example. Non-standard-sized envelopes and boxes may require additional postage.

Confirm the Destination

Confirm the shipping destination. The shipping rate will vary based on the destination zone if shipping domestically and the destination country, if shipping internationally.

Calculate the Total Cost of Shipping

The cost for shipping your package is based on the weight of your package, the type of packaging you use, and the destination. To determine the cost of shipping, use the price calculator for the United States Postal Service, which is available online through the United States Postal Service site and at the post office.

Do the Math

Next, do the math to determine how many and what denomination of stamps you will need to ship your package based on the shipping cost you just calculated. Even for large packages, you may use stamps to pay for your postage, rather than a meter. There are many different value amounts for stamps, so you may need to use a variety of stamps to reach your total shipping cost. The value of the stamp is written on the stamp. Keep in mind that Forever stamps do not have their values written on them because their value is the cost for a 1-ounce letter mailed within the United States.


  • You can take the guesswork out of postage by purchasing a flat-rate envelope or box. Anything that fits within the mailer goes for one set price.


About the Author

Carrie Belt has been a professional writer since 2004, focusing primarily on business, marketing and web writing. Her articles have appeared in "Richmond Magazine," "Boomer Life Magazine" and "Richmond Times Dispatch." Belt won three first-place Collegiate Gold Circle awards for her work. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in media arts and design from James Madison University.