Stamp prices will leap by almost three times the current rate of inflation in April.

Royal Mail announced today the price of first class stamps will rise by 5p to 46p and second class stamps will jump by 4p to 36p (see the Cheap Stamps guide).

These rises, the largest since first-class postage began in 1968, represent an increase of 12.2% and 12.5%, respectively. Yet the Retail Prices Index inflation measure is currently at 4.7%.

The price of a first class large letter stamp is rising by 9p to 75p – a 13.6% rise.

The cost of franked mail, mainly used by businesses where an ink stamp is used, will go up for the first time in two years.

Both first and second class prices will rise by 3p making them 39p and 28p, respectively.

While the rise is a few months away, if you stock up now you can beat the hikes provided the stamps only state 1st or 2nd class, not the price itself. This way, they'll still be valid after April's increases.

High Street chemist Superdrug is currently offering 5% off all first class stamp sales in-store until 4 January, though there's a 72-stamp limit per transaction.

Further reading / Key links

Cut costs: Cheap Parcel Delivery, Cheap Stamps