Why I won’t ever send a letter first class again

My invitations with 2nd class stamps arrived the next day

My invitations with 2nd class stamps arrived the next day

We’ve been conditioned into thinking that first class is, well, classier. Whether it’s flying or getting the train, first class is what everyone aspires to. But with that added class comes added cost.

It’s no different when it comes to sending a lowly letter. Here the class comes from the speed of delivery, and that speed of delivery by Royal Mail will cost you an extra 9p on a stamp for a normal-sized letter.

"Only 9p?" I hear you cry. "That’s small change." And that’s what I used to think. That’s before I sent 70 wedding invitations in the post this week.

As the control freak that I am, I decided a self-addressed, stamped envelope for people to send their RSVPs back, was entirely necessary. After all, what’s the point of going to all the effort with the invites if people don’t even bother to reply?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, our invitations were rather chunky (in a classy way), and didn’t fit Royal Mail’s required size for a normal-sized letter, so I was now faced with the dreaded ‘large letter’ cost.

There was only one thing for it. I had to bump the invitations down to second class delivery. We’d put an RSVP response date on the invitation, but I decided second class, which states it will get there within three working days (as opposed to first class next working day) would just have to suffice.

I tried not to feel too embarrassed as the couple next to me, who were sending out their invites as well, decided they would take the extra cost on the chin and stumped for first class.

Second class, but next day delivery

Turns out it’s the best postage-related decision I ever made. I posted the invitations on Tuesday morning before work, and by Wednesday morning (the next day) I was getting texts off friends and family saying they had already received them. I now felt sorry for the couple that paid the extra for first class.

Working at MoneySavingExpert.com, I couldn’t help myself but do the maths and work out how much I had saved by sending second class and receiving the same service as if I had sent them first class. Here’s how much I saved…

  • Second class stamps for RSVP envelope – 70 x 53p = £37.10
  • Main envelope large letter second class stamps – 70 x 73p = £51.10
  • Total = £88.20 (don’t judge me!)

What it would have cost me to send first class:

  • First class stamps for RSVP envelope – 70 x 62p = £43.40
  • Main envelope large letter first class stamps – 70 x 93p = £65.10
  • Total = £108.50

That’s a total saving of £20.30. Not a life-changing amount, but when you’re forking out money left, right and centre for a wedding, every penny counts.

Now obviously I could have avoided any such costs in the first place by sending an e-invite, but I like the tradition of sending an invitation by post. In fact I still enjoy sending letters despite the fact we now live in the digital age (the most recent one I sent I had actually written on a typewriter).

But when I send letters and cards in the future, I will no longer be wasting my hard-earned cash on first class stamps. It’s second class all the way for me.

Do you use first or second class stamps? Do you notice a difference in when letters arrive? Please let us know your opinions in the discussion below or in the forum.