Editor’s Note: This piece is part of an ongoing series called “Get It for Less” that will appear every Wednesday on MainStreet, so check back for more shopping tips on your favorite products.
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you pay full price for any of your magazine or newspaper subscriptions, chances are you’re doing something wrong.
On any given day, you can find free and discounted subscriptions for many popular magazines if you know where to look. MainStreet asked two shopping experts for their tips on how to save money when subscribing to both print and online publications.
The New Customer Discount
Publishers are always looking for ways to attract new customers and boost their overall subscription numbers, which means the prices tend to be better for new subscriptions than for renewals.
“Usually you’ll pay quite a bit less if you are a new subscriber so definitely watch what you’re paying for an auto-renewal,” says Erin Huffstetler, who writes the Frugal Living blog for About.com. “Sometimes it’s worth canceling your current subscription and starting over at a better rate.”
The one exception to this, she says, is when you are looking to renew for a multi-year subscription. In these cases, the price will likely be at least as good or better than the introductory rate.
Renegotiate Your Newspaper Subscription
With newspapers, the difference between introductory rates and renewal rates is even more noticeable. And to make matters worse, the low initial rate tends to expire after a shorter period.
“A lot of people feel they have to pay the higher rate as the subscription goes on, but if you call up and say the new price is more than you want to pay, the company will usually extend the introductory offer or at least lower the new rate,” Huffstetler says.
This may not work every time – Huffstetler notes that each company has a set number of times they are willing to adjust subscription rates – but it’s still worth having the conversation.
The Web Is Your Friend
There are countless websites devoted to advertising cheap subscriptions, but some are better than others.
Julia Scott, the blogger behind BargainBabe.com, suggests browsing through the selection on Discountmagazines.com, where every magazine subscription costs less than $6 a year, as well as similar sites like Magazines.com and ValueMags.com, both of which offer discounts of 50% off or more.
Amazon also advertises one $5 magazine subscription every day as part of its Gold Box deals, though as Scott points out, the one downside with this and other services is that subscriptions may automatically renew at the normal rate after the first year, so be sure to put a reminder on your calendar to cancel or renegotiate the subscription before the year is done.
Publishers aren’t the only ones who offer deals on subscriptions. According to Huffstetler, retailers like Coke and Stoneyfield offer rewards programs that let customers earn points which can be redeemed for magazine subscriptions.