The Lost Art of Pen-Paling

In the art of digital life, receiving mail is a positive and and a negative. Digital or physical.

Whenever you get a letter from that 501-c Charity about renewing your quarterly donation, some people give the money, or shred the letter. When “junk mail” comes into my mail box, whether digital or physical, it always goes to the trash. Except the physical mail, I shred it, and then recycle it. Either way, I remove the unwanted mail from my life. That’s how I would classify junk mail- unwanted mail.

Scams fall in that category, too.

The best mail is the one that is hardly sent these days. A good ol’ fashioned, hand-written letter. Even a typed letter is great. My family was never much for sending holiday cards, and only one or two people would send me Birthday cards. I have always enjoyed writing. During my early years in University, I would send pen-pal letters to friends at home. I couldn’t go home, which was two hours away. When I moved out of state, I relied more on pen-paling wit ha few of my friends.

It helped to take a step away from social media,and send a letter out with a coloring page. Back in April, I joined a Pen-Pal group. If you search the internet, there are a lot of safe, reliable Pen-Pal groups. This one was tied to something we all loved, but I’m not going to reveal the group, We are already large enough!

Here are somethings to know about when it comes to Pen-Paling:



United States Post Office, oh how I love thee. We are about to approach the busiest season for postal workers, and last year, I started a tradition: I would write a thank you card to my post man for delivering all cards through out the year and especially during the holidays.

But when the holidays end, the majority of people go back to living without writing letters until the next holiday season to friends and family. I have to agree wit ha fellow writer in the group who said that getting mail by USPS “teaches patience in an age of instant gratification.”

Imagine what Alexander Hamilton would say to all these people not writing?



Alright, so this is where I’m really good at playing this “game.” I can wait on letters, easier than waiting on a paycheck. Only once have I gotten impatient on waiting on a letter response and I probably will never have a response at this rate.

Nonetheless, for some people, the waiting is the worst part. What if your letter “hopped out of a mail bin and hid under someone’s desk for two years?” Anty, I’d have to agree! Disaster indeed.

Or, the torturous, what if they MOVED! Moving and pen-paling has become easier to work with, and this is where I was able to use Facebook Messenger to  help locate my pen-pals, and inform them of my abrupt address change a month ago. Who would’ve thought that social media saved lots of mail from being sent to the wrong address!

The Cost



When you want to buy stamps, you buy forever stamps. I always get the design they are running out of. I’ve grown tired of the American Flag stamps, personally.
Stamps cost 49 cents. We (U.S.A.) recently went up three cents in 2014. Everyone in my household went nuts, but nobody was sending letters! I wouldn’t be surprised if we went up a penny by 2020, or earlier. *Crosses fingers that the prices drop*

And, I send letters abroad. Currently, I am pen-paling with one Canadian, and one from Scotland. International Forever Stamps are my favorite, but they come at a higher price. One stamp is $1.15. Its smarter to buy a International Forever Stamp, than to put three regular Forever Stamps, at a total cost of $1.47. You could save $0.32 cents per piece you send abroad!

I asked my group how much they budget for pen-paling, and the average amount was $20/month. One user, Felix (Hey, that was the name of my cat, we have something in common! tehehe) puts aside $100 to $150 per month. Which, includes postcards, envelopes, stationary, etc.

I, like a few pen-pals in the group, like to buy my stamps in books or rolls. A book= 20 stamps, and a roll= 100 stamps, just FYI. This saves me from doing multiple trips! I’m stocked up on writing utensils, stationary, etc. because I bought all this stuff years ago, and I’m finally getting to use it! Yay!

And to cap of the topic on finances when it comes to pen-paling:
“I didn’t realize how expensive it was, so I have to skimp on the pretty stuff.”  -Liz

What are “Forever Stamps,”anyways?

So its simple, but I’ve explained this loads of times. The USPS created “Forever Stamps” so that if you ever bought one, and the price of stamps increased or decreased, the “forever stamp” would always equal the current rate, or amount.

What are some MYTH’S about Pen-Paling?


Social Media

Here’s what I’m arguing: If you are someone who enjoys sending letters, you can use social media to aide the fun. Our group, loves to show-off each others creativity, personal gifts, or just to show that we are sending letters! Or, you have me, who today found blank cards at Target for $1 out in time for the holiday season. I passed up on it, but shared the picture on our group!
“Social media has helped me learn about my pen-pal, which I think is great because I don’t want to offend (with comedy and such).” Wrote TM, and I’ve sent updated gardening pictures to the one I’m writing to in Scotland.
And speaking of pictures, you can message each other pictures instead of printing them. Brilliant!
What if I lose my pen-pals address? I’ve put envelopes away, and put my Pen-Pal address book away forgetting I had to still write the address. Messanging helps me keep track of the current address. 🙂

I don’t have time.

I laugh at this one. Last year, I wrote a 50,001 word novel in one month. After that, I learned I had time for almost anything. Okay, not everything, but this “writing letters” or sending a hand written “thank-you” card doesn’t take long. Read some testimonials from some pen-pals below:

“It’s silly, but I find it didn’t really take that much longer to hand write a letter but it takes more thought.” -K. Nick

“An exercise in penmanship (or craftsmanship if you decide to decorate your envelopes, or letters).” -Anty

“When we first started pen-paling, my life was very busy. Now that it is slowing down a bit, I want to send out more postcards to those who have sent ones to me.” -TM

I know some who are working two jobs and pen-paling. Others are juggling family, life, school, jobs, etc. And you know what? Every time I send a letter, I feel like I’m building a friendship with someone who lives miles away.

How many pen-pal friends do I have? Currently, I’m around twenty, but not everyone responds at once. My youngest is a sixth grader who is improving on her hand-writing and typing skills. The oldest? Haha, I have no idea. Age is just a number, right?

I have three letters to respond to and tomorrow I’ll be getting more stamps. I don’t like being low on stamps.

Thank you for those who contributed their answers, and for all of you who have read! Note: I originally wrote this by hand, go me.

Now, go write those letters dear colleagues,


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