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The postman will only ring five times a week

U.S. Postal Service employee Arturo Lugo delivers an Express Mail package during his morning route on February 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday delivery of first-class mail by August, which could save the service $2 billion annually after losing nearly $16 billion last fiscal year.

The long-suffering, and all-but-bankrupt United States Postal Service, said today that starting in August, it will stop stuffing home mailboxes on Saturdays. The USPS figures to save $2 billion a year.

The postal service is losing $25 million a day delivering our mail, but what’s in our mail these days? If you look in your mailbox, you might see a magazine or two, some bank statements and, of course, junk. But mostly, it's what is called first-class mail. Postal industry analyst John Callan says the category is made mostly of business mail -- billing statements and checks.

“If they’re still paying checks in the mail," he says.

Callan says deliveries of first-class envelopes have been declining and with that, so too has the postal service’s revenue. Junk mail, or what the industry calls standard or advertising mail, now makes up half of the mail’s volume but brings in much less money. And even that is declining. You can expect 3 percent less junk mail in your mailbox this year.

But don’t think this is a foreshadowing of the beginning of the end of your mail. Rick Geddes, who teaches in the department of policy analysis and management at Cornell, says your mail deliveries for the foreseeable future, are safe. And he’s not basing that statement on raw optimism.

“But on the experience in other countries that have made their postal services more commercial, more like real companies, more entrepreneurial and more innovative,” he says.

Like UPS and FedEx, those private sector models of speed and efficiency. But even these companies rely on the postal service for some of their deliveries.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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