It's going to cost you a few pennies more to send a letter.  But many people might not feel the increase because of Forever Stamps, which are good for first-class postage no matter what the current rate is.

The USPS has increased postage by 3 cents,  the largest rate hike in 11 years, and it went into effect January 26, 2014.  The 3 cent increase to 49 cents will be in effect for the next 2 years, with the hope to make up some revenue that was lost during 2008 to 2011.

Along with the higher rates to first class mail, the rate increase will also apply to magazines, newspapers and bills being sent through the mail.  This makes up about 158 billion pieces of mail delivered every year.

The USPS has not said if they are going to issue a 49 cent stamp for people to use, which would then have to be retired when the price drops back to 46 cents.  Postal officials are also not saying if they anticipate the price to stay at 49 cents.

The other option would be having postal customers rely on the Forever stamp to mail letters that are under one ounce.  Forever stamps first went on-sale in 2007 to help customers adjust to price changes and allow people to stock pile as many as they want at the lower stamp price.  Forever stamps now make up now most first-class stamp sales.