Who can resist a juicy magazine cover at the grocery store? Still, magazines can cost $4 or more per issue from the newsstand, so it’s usually more economical to subscribe versus buying single issues. Magazines want subscribers because it boosts their subscription numbers and ensures that you’ll stick with the magazine long-term.
However, there are a few strategies that can you help stretch your magazine subscription dollars even further. Here’s a look at five ways to score magazines on the cheap (or even free).
Trade in your airline miles. If you’ve accumulated airline miles that are about to expire or if you don’t have enough miles to redeem for a trip, consider trading in those miles for a magazine subscription. MagsforMiles.com accepts miles from most major airlines and offers subscriptions to magazines like “Glamour” and “Sports Illustrated” at no cash cost. The cost in miles of each subscription varies by title, but redeeming miles for magazines will often keep your frequent flyer account active even if you aren’t actually flying.
Check your library. Your local library can be a great resource for magazines. Not only can you browse paper issues on the shelves, but some libraries now let you check out digital issues using your smartphone or tablet so you can read magazines on the go. My local library has a partnership with Zinio so that cardholders can check out current issues of dozens of newsstand and trade magazines. CNet has a great explainer about checking out digital magazines from your library.
Look for online discounts. Websites like Magazines.com and DiscountMags.com, often feature promotions for discounted magazine subscriptions, as do Groupon and other online deal sites. In the past, I scored an 8-week digital NYtimes.com subscription for $1 (regularly $15.99).
Sign up for freebies. Blogs like Hey, It’s Free and I Crave Freebies frequently feature limited-time, free magazine promotions. In addition, Recyclebank lets you earn points for eco-friendly activities like taking online quizzes or recycling and redeem your points for free magazine subscriptions. If you’re interested in more business-oriented magazines, sign up for free trade magazines through Tradepub.com. Sometimes you can also find inexpensive back issues of magazines at yard sales or library book sales.
Get a multi-year subscription. Some magazines offer a deeper discount to subscribers who pay upfront for a two-year subscription instead of one. Others offer two-for-one subscriptions so that you could buy one subscription for yourself and another for a friend. You can always update your address if you move, but the key to long-term magazine subscriptions is making sure that you’ll still have an interest in the magazine 12 or 18 months into the future. Avoid auto-renewals so that you can reevaluate your interest in the magazine and potentially renegotiate your subscription rate before your credit card or bank account is charged.
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