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9 Ways to Save Money on Magazine Subscriptions

By Jacqueline Curtis

magazinesOkay, I’ll admit it: I’m addicted to magazines. I love mindless entertainment to decompress from my day – grab a magazine, flick on “The Bachelor,” and my night is pretty much set.

But unfortunately, magazines aren’t necessarily cheap, and the cost of one or two subscriptions can really add up. And while you might be tempted at the supermarket checkout to grab a pack of gum and the latest issue of “Vogue,” you shouldn’t ever pay newsstand prices for magazines. A typical magazine costs around $3.99 – if you’re grabbing one per week, you could spend well over $200 per year.

Spending Less on Magazines

While your magazine budget can easily get away from you, there are plenty of ways to cut costs without having to forfeit your home decorating, sports news, or gossip fix:

1. Group Deals
Every so often, a daily deal website features magazine titles for cheap – around $5 for an annual subscription. When compared to a $5 monthly subscription, you can save $55 per year. Check out sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for deals on the magazines you love. While the selection might not be enormous, you can usually find one or two great picks.

2. Airline Miles
Instead of letting your unused frequent flyer miles languish, check out MagsForMiles, a site that exchanges unused airline miles for magazine subscriptions. Even if you’re the type of person who always redeems miles, chances are that you have a few leftover from your last reward ticket. Put them to good use, and by the time you’re ready to fly the friendly skies again, you can take some new reading material with you.

3. Free Magazines
Some websites reward points for online activity, which you can then use to purchase magazine subscriptions. Sites such as SwagBucks.com and RewardsGold.com give you points for searching online, registering for various services, and surfing the Web. In addition to magazine subscriptions, you can score gift cards and other perks. Just keep in mind that you need to be signed into these services in order to accumulate points, and it can often be slow-going to earn a reward.

4. Ask for Cheaper Rates
When doling out subscriptions, publishers routinely give the best deals to new subscribers, as they want to attract newbies who have the potential to become long-term readers. However, as an existing subscriber, you’re more likely to renew, which means you probably won’t be offered the most attractive rates.

If you’d like to get back your introductory rate, just ask. Call the subscription hotline and politely request to have your old rate reinstated. This obviously works best when your subscription is up for renewal. If you can’t get a better price, stand your ground. You might be able to find a cheaper rate elsewhere.

reading magazines
5. Magazine Discounters
If you can’t score a cheaper deal through the publisher, check out online magazine discount stores. You can find outlets that sell subscriptions to almost all major magazines on the cheap. The best part about magazine discounters is that they offer the most popular titles, so you don’t have to miss out on your favorites just because you don’t want to pay newsstand prices.

Check out Magazines.com, mags4cheap.com and DiscountMags.com, all of which offer subscriptions for up to 93% off of a magazine’s cover price. Before you purchase, see what’s available at Amazon – I once found an annual subscription to “Sunset Magazine” there for $5.

6. Subscribe for Several Years
Publishers often extend special deals if you’re willing to buy more than one year in advance. If you’re diehard for a few favorites and know you can’t live without them, look at purchasing a subscription for two years. Often, you can save up to 50% off the cover price. Just call customer service or check for the renewal card that comes with your last few issues.

7. Buy Digital
If you can bear to part with those paper-printed pages, look into getting a digital version of your favorite magazine. They’re usually cheaper than the print version, and many offer content such as video and slide shows that you would never get in your paper magazine. Plus, when you’re done, it’s stored on your iPad, Kindle, or other e-reader, and not cluttering up your bedroom floor.

8. Swap Them
If you know that your friend is a slave to “Glamour” but you’re more of a “Cosmopolitan” reader, don’t waste money on a magazine that you only want to peruse rather than devour. Make a deal with your friends to swap magazines when you’re done. You can get the satisfaction of reading additional titles without paying a dime. The same goes for those reading architecture, sports, or business magazines – bring them into your office to see if you can swap with coworkers. You can’t beat free reading material.

9. Go to Your Local Library or Bookstore
If you live near a public library or bookstore, you can usually peruse the latest magazines without paying a dime. The only caveat, however, is that you can’t take them home with you, but this should be fine considering that there are usually chairs and couches you can sit down on and enjoy.

Final Word

Magazines aren’t a must – they’re a luxury item. Sometimes your budget can handle an extra few bucks a month, but sometimes it’s just too tight for you to find out which celeb is dating which and how to improve your golf swing. In that case, find ways to score magazines for cheap or free and you won’t have to give them up. I know that my dates with “InStyle” and reality TV won’t be stopping anytime soon.

What kind of deals have you found on magazine subscriptions?

Jacqueline Curtis
Jacqueline Curtis is an experienced style expert, and she focuses on getting high fashion on a tight budget. She writes for several online publications, including her own fashion blog, How Not to Dress Like a Mom, and specializes in fashion, finance, health and fitness, and parenting. Jae grew up in Toronto, Canada, but now resides in Utah with her husband, two kids, and prized shoe collection.

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  • http://mydebtucation.blogspot.com/ Mario

    I usually save by browsing the magazines free on the web, then using Instapaper to grab the stories based on headlines that interest me, and send a PDF to my B&N Nook, which I bought refurbished for less than $50 and has lasted me two years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TahnyaKristina Tahnya Kristina

    I love this post. I subscribe to two different magazines and I’m always looking for ways to save on the annual expense.

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