For the first time in almost a century, sending mail got cheaper

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For the First Time in Almost a Century, Sending Mail Got Cheaper

The next time you send a letter to Grandma, it will cost you a little less.

For the first time in nearly a century, the U.S. Postal Service is dropping the cost of stamps — but not by choice.

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The 2-cent price reduction is a mandate from the Postal Regulatory Commission, the independent federal agency that oversees the Postal Service.

In January 2014, the PRC allowed the post office to temporarily increase the price of stamps to help it recover from the recession. That surcharge ends April 10, bringing the price of stamps down to 47 cents, as well as reducing the cost of other mail services.

The USPS estimates the price cuts will cost it $2 billion per year.

There is one downside for those of us who still use snail mail — stocking up on Forever Stamps in the last two years wasn't so cost effective after all.

RELATED: 11 ways to save money at Target

Ways to save money at Target
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For the first time in almost a century, sending mail got cheaper

Look at what number price of an item ends in
It may seem overly attentive, but it's worth it. If the price of an item ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be marked down again at some point in the future. If the price ends in $0.04, the item is marked for final clearance and the price will not change again.

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Trade in electronics for gift cards
If you bring your old electronics to the electronics department, they'll quote you on how much your stuff is worth and compensate you in Target gift cards to spend around the store.

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Be aware of the weekly markdown schedule
Different departments in Target mark down items depending on the day of the week:
Monday: Electronics, accessories, kids' clothing, books, baby, and stationery
Tuesday: Domestics, women's clothing, pets, and market 
Wednesday: Men's clothing, health and beauty, lawn and garden

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Thursday: Housewares, lingerie, shoes, toys, sporting goods, decor, and luggage
Friday: Auto, cosmetics, hardware, and jewelry

Strategically utilize holiday clearance sales
Target has consistently scaled markdowns on themed items after the holidays:
Day after holiday: 50% off
Three days after holiday: 75% off
One week after holiday: 90% off

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Sign up for mobile coupon alerts
By signing up, a new set of coupons will be sent to your phone each month (you can even specify the exact time you want them delivered.) The coupons are scannable and can be redeemed at the register. 

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Shop the end caps
The end caps are the shelves that sit at the end of each aisle, seeming somewhat misplaced. However, most clearance items are usually placed here--make it your go-to place to check if you're looking for discounted items.

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Check online for current deals  
Each week, Target updates its current promotions and weekly sales pages--you'll be able to scout out deals you want to take advantage of and know how much you can save before you even get in to store.

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BYOB (bring your own bag)
Target offers a five-cent discount for every reusable bag you bring in to use at checkout. Every cent adds up!

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Opt for store-brand items
A general rule of thumb when shopping at any major retailer, but its especially worthwhile at Target. Target has several top-quality store-brands that produce everything from food to beauty products at a much lower price than name brands. 

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Hit the dollar section first
Target's dollar aisle is like no other--you never know what you can find when you really look! 

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Utilize "Target Cartwheel"
Cartwheel is a social coupon program that Target created that allows you to set up an account to earn and receive deals. You can use each deal up to four times, as well as stack your deals with other coupons. 

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