I had a zine I sent returned today for insufficient international postage because I had made it rigid with a slab of cardboard. They wanted 5 times the postage I had put on it! I took the cardboard out (I'm still learing to trust mail handlers with my sent mail art) and the postage cost went back down to what I originally put on the envelope. I'm new to mail art and reaquainting myself with using the post and want to ask what are some general tips for keeping domestic and international postage costs down and not having mail returned for insufficient postage?

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For US mail, I use their site, www.usps.com to calculate postage.

(I buy postage for less than face value from certain eBay sellers so a $1.30 International rate stamp costs me 90¢ on average.)

Hope this helps!

I keep the bunny stamps handy. I weigh and add one at 1.2 oz up to 2 oz. The bunny stamps add an oz up to 2 oz to US, International, and non-machinable equally. Cheaper than 2 forever stamps, which I see often. 

I also keep the nonmachinable stamps handy and use them often. 

Seems to be more of an art than a science, though. I reused a $1 stamp that hadn't been cancelled today. I've received cards WAY larger than 4.25 x 6" with just a postcard stamp attached.

Also, nonmachinable stamps often keep the stamps from being cancelled because they don't go through the sorter. 

Seems like some people get away with a lot and others fight uphill. Mare depends on the local postal workers than we suspect, I think.

In Portugal there are standard measurements for the size of envelopes. Also the weight has steps of 20 grams, (0.75 oz.)100 grams (3.52 oz.)... Also now it is mandatory to declare the contents to customs if it is more than 100 grams and even though it is an offer sometimes the recipient has to pay what you get, that's why I stopped sending the tiles I paint.

I use a simple digital food scale I bought on Amazon. I always weight my mail and put the exact postage. Too much postage adds up.

Also, I keep my mail light weight. I'm amazed when people send me a big heavy add/pass book and expect me to pay to send it on. 

Luckily, the mail art community is generally super awesome and I love you all!

Hi Mark, 

In Russia there are simple rules: one price in the range (0 - 20 grams), another price in the range (20 grams - 100 grams) and so on.

So I had to buy a jewellery scale, it's battery-operated, and I weigh the envelope before sending it off. Depending on the weight, I stick the stamps at home according to the tariff. (I buy stamps at the post office in advance, in quantities).

I think we would all appreciate keeping things light enough to be able to pass it on.  Rates in Canada have gone up, but I still love to add and pass.  

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