Tuesday, 25 June 2013

10 Ways to Save Money in the Magazine Minefield

A nice cuppa and a magazine: the perfect pick-me-up whatever time of day or year it is. But magazines are pricey items and they can have a negative knock-on effect. 

The plethora of glossy adverts may convince you to splash out on something you didn't know existed before flicking through articles like "30 anti-ageing products for Spring Skin" or "100 ways to simplify your life". 

Envy can be generated by celebs and their beautiful homes/ bodies/ partners. In short, you may suddenly find yourself mildly discontented with your lot and feel that you have to buy this season's lash growth-promoting mascara/ colour-changing kettle/ toenail extensions etc. 

The celebrity worship/ destruction aspect of many women's magazines is one reason why I don't have them in the house. The cover stories shrieking about cellulite, and crowing about crow's feet, the back-stabbing and false flattery... it reminds me of my days at secondary school. Most of the photographs inside and on the cover convey a mixture of messages that I don't think are appropriate for my children. 

Even if the glossies are struck off the list, I'm still drawn in by the craft titles and the more homely, less "I married my twin's murderer" magazines, like Essentials and Prima. Then there's the whole Vintage phenomenon - vintage decor, vintage looks, re-inactments... Don't get me started on the "But Mum, there's a FREE GIFT!" children's titles! Here are my cheap tricks for making your way through the magazine minefield. 

1. Swap or share magazines with friends, especially if you like the same kind of titles. Perhaps you can buy one magazine in April and your friend will get May's edition.

2. Buy them second-hand. This is possible via auction sites, charity shops, stalls at garden fetes etc. Even if the magazine is a year out of date, it will in all likelihood be perfectly readable, and probably only cost about 50p.

3. If you are friendly with the receptionist at your dentist, or your hairdresser, or anywhere else that has magazines in a waiting area, perhaps you can ask if you might have a particular magazine once it is finished with each month. 

4. Look out for trial subscriptions such as those by Magazine Subscriptions co.uk. I bought the King three issues of Empire for just £1 recently, as a gift. The cover price is normally £3.99 per issue. Just don't forget to cancel the direct debit before the trial period is up.

5. Go though all your old magazines, cut out the pages/ articles/ recipes etc you want to refer to again, and keep them in a display book (one of those plastic-covered books with 80 or so clear pockets). This way you can create your own magazine which can be updated in future, and you can recycle all your back issues, saving space.

6. Your favourite magazine probably has a website. Try reading that for free instead. E-books can be incredibly cheap and informative (have a look at my bookshelf of recommended reads here). Or stick with blogs - there are thousands of entertaining sites out there covering every subject you can name. 

7. Make the most of the magazines you do buy. Enter the competitions (as long as it is free!), clip the coupons, use the free gift, and send in readers' tips - often you get paid £25 if your letter or idea is printed. 

8. If you are really keen on a particular publication, and buy an issue nearly every month, it will probably save you money to subscribe. Do this via a website like Top Cashback, and you will get cash back on your purchase as well. I never subscribe to a magazine for more than one year consecutively though, because I have noticed that the same type of stories come up each season. So, only be loyal for a year, then switch to an alternative read.

9. Some publications will be available to read for free at your local library.

10. Head over to amazon and buy a second-hand paperback instead - they are often better value for money and have a lower "eye candy" quotient. 

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