As the United States Postal Service continues to struggle financially, they have implemented a plan "to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence." With the new standards come some changes to when you can expect to receive your first-class mail and periodicals.

Beginning October 1st, the USPS began the new service standards that will create an increase of "delivery reliability, consistency, and efficiency for our customers and across our network," according to a Fact Sheet shared by the organization. They say that 61% of first-class mail and 93% of periodicals will be unaffected with mail traveling within a local area expected to take up to two days to arrive at its destination.

The transit time for some mail traveling outside the local area and for longer distances is expected to increase by one to two days making for a three to five day delivery time. They say that by implementing these changes, "the Postal Service can entrust its ground network to deliver more First-Class Mail, which will lead to greater consistency, reliability, and efficiency that benefits its customers."

Get our free mobile app

The USPS considers a "Local Area" to be "within a 3-hour drive between originating and destinating processing facilities." So what does all of this mean as we head into the holiday season? If you're planning to send Christmas cards or gifts and you want them to arrive before Christmas, it may be worth planning ahead, especially if your parcel's final destination is outside of the three hour drive of being considered local.

[Source: United States Postal Service]

Postcards from Indiana's Past Showcase the Weird and Wonderful

Apparently, there is quite a market for old postcards on eBay. I found some really interesting ones, some even have handwritten messages on them. Basically, postcards were the original text message.

SEE INSIDE: The House and Filming Location from 'A Christmas Story'

The classic Christmas film is set in fictional Hohman, Indiana (which doubled for Hammond) but was filmed in Cleveland. The tour was a blast. Hey, I love visiting movie sets.

Take a Delicious Journey Along These 21 Indiana Food Trails

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Indiana Foodways Alliance has the MOST food trails in America. Taste the very best that Indiana has to offer when it comes to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Plan to visit some or all of these yummy stops all throughout the Hoosier state.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

LOOK: Things from the year you were born that don't exist anymore

The iconic (and at times silly) toys, technologies, and electronics have been usurped since their grand entrance, either by advances in technology or breakthroughs in common sense. See how many things on this list trigger childhood memories—and which ones were here and gone so fast you missed them entirely.