After a great discussion on the Shoptimist blog a few weeks ago about the popularity of e-books, I realized that there are ways to save on other reading material too, like magazines.
Whether you prefer to read your magazines on an e-reader or the old-fashioned paper form, there are tons of ways to get subscriptions for free or cheap. Personally, I subscribe to four different magazines, none of which I’ve had to pay for. It’s great to have so many freebies show up in my mailbox monthly.
One way I’ve gotten free subscriptions is through e-Rewards, an opinion panel I was invited to participate in.
I take surveys on a variety of topics for the website and earn digital e-Rewards dollars in return. There’s a full list of magazine subscriptions (as well as other rewards) I can cash in my survey money for, and many of them are popular titles.
Unfortunately this website is only available by invitation, but it works with many different retailers. I got my invitation on a receipt from the retailer Express. What’s great about the e-Rewards system is that I don’t have to enter any credit card information when I sign up for a magazine, so there won’t be any tricky charges.
Not all survey panels are invitation only. MySurvey, Pinecone Research, Inbox Dollars, Vindale Research, Opinion Place and Ipsos are all legitimate survey sites that pay cash or offer rewards, like magazine subscriptions. Each site opens up for new survey takers at various times throughout the year.
I’ve also signed up for free magazine subscriptions through Mercury Magazines. The best way to get notifications about deals from this website is to sign up for email alerts, which you can do at www.mercurymagazines.com.
About twice each week I get notifications about free magazine deals. Some of the offers are for digital subscriptions while others are hard-copy subscriptions. Also, the number of issues you receive can vary; some deals are as few as two months while others can be a full year. You don’t have to enter any payment information on this site either.
Other websites where you can find free or deeply discounted subscriptions are Amazon, ValueMags (www.valuemags.com), Discount Magazines (www.discountmagazines.com) and Rewards Gold (www.rewardsgold.com). Prices fluctuate daily, so check back often if you don’t see what you’re looking for.
If you are a subscriber to a magazine already, chances are you also have a digital subscription that can be viewed on youre-reader. If that’s not the case, there are still some outlets for you.
Amazon Prime members can access many magazines for free and at special promotional prices through the Kindle Store. The Nook app, Zinio and Next Issue also offer discounted digital-only subscriptions for various eReaders, tablets and smartphones.
Split a deal
Magazines often advertise buy one, get one free or buy one, get one half-off deals. If you have a friend or relative who’s also interested in getting a subscription, these can save money or make great gifts. Just watch out for the fine print. Important details to verify include how many months are included and whether the deal is on auto-renewal.
Auto-renewal, promotional prices
If you do find a subscription that automatically renews itself, call well in advance to cancel the next pay period if you’re not interested in continuing the deal. This option should be available to you right after subscribing, so don’t wait until it’s too late.
On the other hand, auto-renewal magazines are often some of the best bargains, so if it’s a publication you know you want to keep receiving, they can be great in the long run.
As a subscriber, you do have some power. If you notice the subscription price of a magazine has gone up, it never hurts to call and ask the company to renew your promotional price. Even if you can’t get the exact deal, they may offer you something else that will save money. Mentioning you may not keep your subscription because of rising costs is a surefire way to get a bargain.
What great magazine deals have you found? Have you made the transition to digital, or do you still prefer hard copies?