NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Say goodbye to next-day delivery on stamped letters.

The U.S. Postal Service

warned back in September

that ongoing financial difficulties could potentially lead to the closing of more than 250 mail-processing facilities, which would precipitate a slowdown of first-class mail delivery. Now it looks like that doomsday scenario will indeed come to pass.

Budget cuts at the U.S. Postal Service mean that first-class mail delivery will take longer in 2012.

The Postal Service, which posted a

$5 billion loss

in the 2011 fiscal year resulting from unique pension demands imposed by Congress, unveiled on Monday the details of its proposed billions of dollars in budget cutbacks. In addition to putting thousands of Postal Service employees out of work, it will also mean that the delivery time of stamped first-class mail will be reduced from one to three days to two to three days. In other words, if you need to send a Mother's Day card or a rent check, you'll need to allow at least two days for it to arrive.

That's bad news for procrastinators: According to

The Associated Press

, 42% of first-class mail arrives the next day, but when the changes take effect next spring about half of all first-class mail will arrive in two days and most remaining letters will take three.

That's not the only change affecting consumers next year. Since last summer the Postal Service has been planning the closure of 3,700 post offices across the country, and it has already announced that the cost of a first-class stamp will be

rising to 45 cents

Jan. 22 -- the first price increase since May 2009. The Postal Service is also looking to close as many as 252 mail processing facilities (from a total of 487 such facilities).

The net result is that in 2012 mailing a letter will be slower and more expensive. The Post Office said in its Monday notice that it needs to reduce costs by $20 billion by 2015 to satisfy Congress' pension funding demands.

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