The price of first and second-class stamps will increase by 2p at the end of March, Royal Mail has announced.

From Monday 26 March, the price of a first-class stamp for a standard letter will increase from 65p to 67p, and a second-class stamp will go from 56p to 58p.

In addition, the price of a first-class stamp for a large letter will rise by 3p to 1.01, and a second-class stamp for a large letter will rise by 3p to 79p.

A standard letter can weigh up to 100g and be a maximum size of 24cm x 16cm x 5cm; a large letter can weigh up to 750g and be a maximum size of 35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm.

If you're an avid letter-writer, have invitations to send or are just looking ahead to your Christmas card list, it's possible to beat the price rise by stocking up on stamps at the cheaper rate before 26 March.

If you buy a stamp now it will still be valid once the prices rise after 26 March.

The latest increase comes almost a year after Royal Mail increased the cost of first and second-class stamps by 1p.

This is just one of many public service and utility price hikes due to hit:

- Passports... online application costs go up by 3 from 27 March beat the hike.
- Prescriptions... climb to 8.80 on 1 April in England see cheap medicines help.
- Council tax... bills increase on 1 April, yet some overpay challenge your tax band.
- TV licences... standard licence costs will rise by 3.50 can you legally ditch yours?
- Water bills... are going up by an average 9 on 1 April cut your water bills.
- Dental charges... check-up costs will go up from 1 April can dental insurance help?
- Student loan... repayment thresholds rise on 6 April see full info.

Martin Lewis
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What does Royal Mail say?

A Royal Mail statement said: "We understand that many companies and households are finding it hard in the current economic environment.

"As a result, we have considered any pricing changes very carefully and in doing so have sought to minimise any impact on our customers. Royal Mail's stamp prices are among the best value in Europe when compared to other postal operators."

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