I MADE the mistake on Monday of buying both stamps and petrol.

You hear about inflation every day, but it’s only when you pay £6 for a book of 12 second-class stamps that you really appreciate the full horror of rising prices.

That’s right – six English pounds to purchase a dozen stickers with the Olympics logo on them.

For a moment I thought it would be cheaper for me to deliver my own letters. But then I remembered the petrol.

Filling up my modestly-sized Kia cruised north of £50 on Monday. I don’t imagine the cost will be sailing south of that mark any time soon. If ever.

Of the two rip-offs, it’s the stamps that really rankle.

A lot of people whinge about the amount of tax on fuel, but this ignores the fact that all those schools and hospitals don’t fund themselves. And someone’s got to cover for those multinationals who’d rather not pay any tax in this country.

In any case, to moan about petrol duty misses part of the point about rising oil prices. As mentioned below, there are one billion people in India and another 1.3 billion human beings up the road in China.

With each passing year the citizens of these two booming countries become richer, they live more like us, consuming more and driving up the price of key commodities – like oil.

So, while I don’t enjoy forking out £50 to fill up the car, to some extent I accept the historic inevitability of it.

But 50p for a second-class stamp? I can’t blame India and China for that one.

Earlier this year, Royal Mail was allowed to hike the cost of a second-class stamp from 36p to 50p – a quite staggering increase of 38%.

And it’s not as if this extraordinary rise came as a sudden jolt after years of price stability. As recently as 2007 a second-class stamp cost just 24p.

The price has been rising steadily for the past half a decade, even before this year’s mammoth increase.

Don’t leave your valuables in sight, as I’m sure the new police and crime commissioner would warn us.

Better hide that book of second-class stamps then.