There is a piece over at smartmoney.com on how to get your magazine subscriptions at a discount. The piece lays out three basic strategies:
1. Check the mail-in subscription inserts that for a benchmark for evaluating other offers
2. Visit the well-known sellers of discounted magazine subscriptions such as Publishers Clearing House and Amazon.com.
3. Consider purchasing through eBay, but know the risks.
What the article leaves out is the absolutely best way to get magazines – for free.
A little known secret is that while the magazines want you to pay for the subscription to help defray their costs, they also want to keep their circulation numbers as high as possible because this allows them to charge more for the advertisements inside the magazine. If the magazine feels it’s going below a subscriber base number they need to attract and charge advertisers what they want, they will often times give away subscriptions for free in increase their circulation numbers.
While finding these free subscriptions to popular magazine titles is sporadic, they do appear from time to time. When they do appear, however, you need to be quick as they are usually given away within days if not hours. In the past year I have picked up free subscriptions to the following personal finance / money saving magazines: Budget Living, Forbes and USA Today (as well as a subscription to TV Guide). I also recently received a free electronic subscription to Fortune.com by taking a survey
The best way to find these free subscriptions is to keep tabs on a freebie site and the magazines that get listed there. It does take a bit more time, but you can end up with a fairly good selection of money related reading at no charge.