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How People Get Magazines For Free (Or Really Cheap!)

Updated on September 30, 2010

How I get Free Magazines

One of my most indulgent pleasures is reading magazines. Sometimes the information is useful, sure, but the truth is that I mostly read magazines for the light entertainment which they provide. And I find that when things are really stressful in my life, I sometimes create more stress for myself by increasing my personal debt through impulsive purchases of items like magazines. After all, buying magazines right off the stands may be a quick fix when you need a mental escape from the world, but it can get pricey if you aren't careful.

Recently, after realizing that I was wasting my money on magazines, I vowed to stop buying them. I bet you can guess how long that lasted. Yup, one store trip into my first bad day and I was armed with all of my favorites. So I decided that the cold turkey approach wasn't right for me and set about trying to find a way to get my magazine fix and not spend my money. Surprisingly, it didn't take long. I haven't bought a magazine off of the shelf since but I haven't had to go without my favorite indulgence either.

Here's how I get magazines for free or at least really cheap:

  1. I order unknown magazines. Remembering back to the days when I was into alternative press, I recalled the personally made "zines" which used to fill my mailbox. Produced primarily by youngsters, they provide great light entertainment, fresh information and low-cost reading material. They sometimes only cost the stamps it takes to get them sent to you. Do an internet search for "zines", "zine distros" and "zine conventions" to find some that you like.
  2. I beg, borrow and barter. I ask for magazine subscriptions as gifts from people at holidays so that I can get the brand-name magazines I really like at no cost. I ask my friends with magazine subscriptions to give me their leftovers. (Even my doctor lets me take some home with me when they're getting old.) Barring that, I compile the stacks of things I have to get rid of (clothes, CDs, unused notebooks) and let everyone on my social networking lists know that I'll trade them for magazines.
  3. I read magazines online. Same information as many of the regular magazines and only a click of the button away.
  4. I carefully check out available free magazines subscriptions when they are offered. Publications want you to read them, therefore they sometimes offer free trial subscriptions or they offer subscriptions in exchange for your completion of surveys and the like. There are sometimes hidden catches and there are sometimes steps which must be taken to prevent added cost (such as canceling subscriptions before trials run out) but by paying close attention to them, I have gotten free magazine subscriptions which worked for me.
  5. I check the "free" section of classified posts. I am a big fan of acquiring anything for free, so I know that there are classified posts for "free" things all of the time. Craigslist, which is one of the biggest classified ad sites online, has a "free" section under their "for sale" ads. Magazines are frequently listed here, so as long as I can get myself transported to where they need to be picked up, I can get some good ones. This has been the best method I've found for getting turned on to magazines I might not otherwise have noticed but really enjoy.

Saving money requires the use of some basic common sense. This is true of getting free magazines in the same way it's true of any other money saving technique. But if you look around, ask around and notice the details of the transactions, you can meet your magazine-indulgence needs without spending much money at all.


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    Vanessa 3 years ago

    - Thanks for the comment, Jody. I'm not sure how faoulbus my life is but it's definitely fun. Thank you! I'm with you on the games. I think they feel really forced and most ppl I know do not like them. I think food and drinks are enough to bring people together. Sometimes it's more painful if you don't know anyone and have to interact by playing games. It's like a team-building exercise at work!

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    Hawk 3 years ago

    I told my grtdhmoaner how you helped. She said, "bake them a cake!"

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    Transportation Collection Agency 7 years ago

    Great hub....I love magazines and especially when they are free. Good work.

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    Nari 9 years ago

    The link that I have enclosed has a direct link to my other blog (whose URL is too long) which lists most available options for getting magazines for miles.

    Your post here on bartering and free mags is actually a well written detailed list. Kudos to you. Actually I need to get rid of my mags, maybe I will post them on the local freecylce, haha peace. I am not trying to promote my hub/site, magsformiles has been down for a while, so people need accurate info, just helping em out.. peace

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    Jason Menayan 11 years ago from San Francisco

    This is great advice! I got a letter in the mail from US Airways about 2 months ago, saying I had to use my 5000 or so miles soon or they would expire (since you need about 25,000 to go anywhere, the 5000 were useless). However, they gave me the option of getting a year's subscription to a bunch of magazines of my choosing, for about 500-1200 miles apiece. I now get about 6 subscriptions to stuff I want to read, effectively free, because those miles would have gone to waste anyway.