August 11, 2013

Cheap or Free Magazines - Review of Magazines.com

I've been using Magazines.com for magazine purchases for nearly a year now.   Last fall I
bought a magazine subscription as a gift for someone.   I've gotten 8 subscriptions through the service.   Five of those I got free or close to it by using  $5 gift card or promo coupon code they've emailed to me once a month.  I got 3 subscriptions for free and paid $1 and $5 for the other couple.

*** UPDATE Oct 14, 2013 :   In the couple months since I first wrote this article, I've stopedd getting free $5 gift certificates.   The deals I've gotten lately are $5 off select titles or $5 after buying certain titles.   Neither of which can be used for free magazines.
*** UPDATE Oct 22nd.   :    They just sent me a $6 free code via email so I guess the freeby deals have not gone away after all.

Disclaimer : Yes I know magazines aren't super frugal.  You can generally get the same or similar content online for free.   But some of us like magazines.  Personally I like to get them to read on the airplane.   I used to find myself spending $5 retail a few times a year to get a magazine at the airport newsstand before a flight or during a layover.  I instead started getting a subscription for $10-15 and saved money doing so.

Pricing and promotions

Normally their pricing ranges all over the place.  Their normal prices seem to be OK but not great.  You can generally do better elsewhere if Magazines.com isn't having a sale.   Their prices aren't bad but not the best.   However they have such frequent sales that you just have to wait for a sale and you can find a good deal.

Magazines.com does have a LOT of sales and discount deals.  Once you buy from them and get on their mailing list my inbox has been almost bombarded with promotional offers.   I probably get about 1 email a day from them on average.  Honestly its a little too much email.   However there are a lot of great sales deals and better yet frequent coupons or gift card codes for $5-10 for free magazines.   With the $5-10 free deals combined with sales you pretty easily get some free subscriptions.   For example I got myself year subscriptions to Popular Science for free and Money for $1.
YMMV :  I don't know if they send the free promo deals to everyone.  Note that the original purchase I made as a gift was for a relatively pricey magazine and so I may be target for freebie deals more often due to that. I'm not sure but its a possibility.

Free magazines


I mentioned free magazines in the title.   I've gotten some free subscriptions myself.   The way to get free subscriptions is to wait for a free $5-$10 coupon code in your email and then go shopping for magazines on sale for less than the coupon value.    So for example, they sent me a $5 coupon code.  I then went to their site and saw that Popular Science was on sale for $5.   So I used the code and bought Popular Science for a net cost of $0.

Service and customer support

I've had good service with Magazines.com.    I've had to contact them a couple times for service and the service has been good.    First I was confused about a charge to my credit card and I couldn't find the corresponding order on their site.  They responded quickly and explained the charge.  I'd simply not noticed the second page of orders on my account history.   The second time I used their support was to cancel a magazine we didn't want.  They replied quickly and canned the order without any fuss.

Don't forget 26% rebate via Ebates

If you do buy a subscription on Magazines.com you can also get a 26% rebate via Ebates.    That rebate alone can make some of their prices a great deal and if you add a good sale at Magazines then the combined savings can be hard to beat.

To get the cash back you need to be signed up with Ebates.  Then simply go to Ebates to get the referral to the the store before you do your shopping.  I also get a referral bonus if you use my links to sign up with Ebates

You do Have to Watch for Sales to get the Best deals

As I said their prices often start out higher but can be deals if you get a sale.
For example right now the renewal price on one magazine I get is $19.99 but the same magazine is $10 on Amazon.  However that magazine was on sale at Magazines.com for $14.99 a couple weeks ago.   If I had one of their $5 codes that would make it $9.99 net cost.  If I throw in the Ebates rebate then I'd be paying $7.49.   Another example, right now Popular Science is $12 on their site for a year but if you wait around a little you can easily find it on sale for $5 to $10 and if you use a $5 code you may get it for free like I did.

Bottom Line :  I give Magazines.com a thumbs up.    They have great selection and good services.  If you watch for sales and use their free coupon codes you can find great deals.



-- This article may contain referral links which pay this site a commission for purchases made at the sites. I am not getting a referral or commission from Magazines.com but I do have referral links for Ebates

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