Bargains on Magazines

Do you like to get magazines?  I’m not hugely in favor of getting a lot of magazines, as it clutters up the house and often makes me want to buy more stuff.  However, there are a few magazines that I like to get, and I hate to pay for them at the store.  It makes no sense to pay $5 for one magazine when you can get a whole year for the same price.

There are two ways that I like to order my magazines:  using Coke Rewards points, and ordering via Best Deal Magazines.  Magazines at Coke Rewards “cost” between 150 and 300 points.  150 points is 15 twelve packs of soda.  I wouldn’t recommend buying soda just to get the points, but if you are drinking it anyway, you might as well use the points for something.   There are a variety of offerings – I’ve been using points to get Smart Money magazine, and I sent House Beautiful to my mom as a surprise.

Best Deal Magazines has amazing rates for selected magazines.  Looking through their $4.69 and $5.95 offerings, I can find lots of things that interest me.  Best Deal Magazines also regularly offers percentage off specials.  Right now, you can get 15% off of any subscription by using the code:  PXCJ214.  Plus, register with Ebates and go through their link to Best Deal Magazines to get 10% back.  (The Ebates site also lists the current promotional codes.)  Best Deal Magazines offers nearly every magazine, but not all prices are super-duper good.

So what’s the catch?  You know there is one.  First, Best Deal Magazines sells subscriptions for magazines via a clearinghouse.  As a result of the process, your magazine won’t start for months.  Fine if you are just getting something to fill the time while watching soccer practice, not so fine if you are really looking for the information in the magazine.  Second, their customer service has poor reviews.  If your magazine doesn’t start in a decent amount of time, and you want to follow up on it, you are likely to be frustrated.  Ordering from an online magazine service (any of them, not just Best Deal Magazines) requires that you keep track of your order and follow up if necessary.

If you are looking for a very particular title, and can’t find it at Coke Rewards, and the price is high at Best Deal Magazines, do a simple internet search to find a better bargain.  There are many websites that offer discounted subscriptions.  However, as I’ve said above, these magazine websites all go through a clearinghouse process that means that there will be significant delays and possibly mishaps.  Be sure to keep records of any online transactions (good advice for all online shopping, not just for magazines.)

A third method to paying better than retail is to pull a subscription card out of a magazine at the grocery store or book store.  There are always plenty of cards in these magazines and most of them end up getting thrown out.  I see nothing wrong with taking just the subscription card.  Sometimes the deal might be great, sometimes it might be just OK, but it will surely beat the newsstand prices.  Once your original subscription expires, you might be amazed at the offers you will get.  For example, my husband subscribes to an expensive magazine.  I had been paying over $30 a year for at least 10 years and couldn’t find a better price anywhere.  Since his interest seems to be waning, I let it lapse a few years ago.  Shortly thereafter, I received an offer in the mail that brought it down to about $10 a year!  I was amazed.

Magazines can be a great source of info, recipes, or just entertainment, but they cost too much if you are paying retail.  A subscription is always a better deal if you will purchase more than an a few issues per year, and it can often be cheaper than just one magazine.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.