Planning to mail packages this upcoming holiday season? You might want to start tucking away a little extra cash because not only is the cost to send packages through the United States Postal Service going up, but it will also take longer for some of your mail to reach its destination.

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According to CBS News, around 20% of first-class mail in the United States reached its destination late during the first quarter of 2021 and now, snail mail is about to get even slower. Starting today, Friday, October 1, the United States Post Office will begin changes it says is part of a 10-year plan with the goal of chipping away at its $160 billion dollars in debt.

Generally, when a letter, package, or magazine subscription is mailed out, it lands in the recipient's mailbox in two or three days, but effective immediately, the time for those items to be delivered is being slowed to up to five days. In other words, if you're thinking of sending holiday cards this year, you might want to pop them into the mail at the start of December. Or, if you have a bill that you'll be paying by check or money order, you'll want to get it in the mail well over a week before it's due.

In addition to the slower mail delivery times, the United States Postal Service will also be increasing the cost to ship a parcel package for the holidays and those new prices will go into effect on Sunday, October 3.

The United States Postal Service defines a parcel as anything that isn't a postcard, letter, or a flat envelope, newsletter, or magazine. From October 3, 2021, through December 25, 2021, the cost to ship a parcel will increase anywhere from 25 cents to $5.00 all depending on which delivery service you select and how far the parcel has to travel.

If it's been a while since you bought stamps, you're in for a surprise there, too. The United States Postal Service also increased the price of a first-class stamp from 55 cents to 58 cents in August.

While the price of a stamp will remain the same, it appears that the price increase for parcels is only temporary and that they'll go down at "12:00 a.m., Central Time, Dec. 26, 2021."

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