Only order magazines you really want
Why would people subscribe to magazines they don’t want? Well, have you ever been approached by a child asking you to buy some magazine subscriptions to support the school band? It can be hard to turn down this type of request, but here are two ways to do it:
- Ask if you can just make a direct donation to the cause, rather than buying the subscription.
- See if you can buy a gift subscription that goes to a local library — after making sure the library would indeed appreciate this gift.
Don’t subscribe to a magazine just because you’re getting a deeply discounted price
J.D. Roth got those discounted subscriptions, and then discovered he was “paying $150/year for the added mental stress of having too many magazines around the house.” It’s never a deal to spend any money on something you don’t really want.
Be aware of what you’re subscribing to
Do you really want the magazines that come along with some memberships, like the Costco Connection and the magazine that comes from your auto insurance company?
In The New York Times, Bob Tedeschi writes about his “64 half-read New Yorker magazines” which he is “collecting as part of an extended experiment in self-delusion.” And in the Guardian, Tom Cox writes: “I keep on subscribing to The New Yorker magazine in the expectation of a lengthy, debilitating illness that will allow me to catch up on 15 years’ worth of issues I have hardly skimmed.”
Yes, The New Yorker has some wonderful articles, but it comes every week. Is a magazine like this going to be enjoyable to you, or just a source of when-am-I-going-to-read-this stress? A monthly magazine might be more your speed.
Cancel subscriptions to magazines you no longer enjoy
You don’t need to wait until the subscription expires to cancel a magazine; you can do it any time you wish — and maybe get a refund check! Magazines will have information on how to cancel in each issue, although it may be buried and in some pretty small type. Sometimes it’s as easy as filling out a form online, as with the Costco Connection.
But if you’d prefer to just let the subscription lapse, remember that some magazines do an automatic renewal — and be sure to respond to any notification that your subscription is about to renew.
Decide what to do with your magazines once you’ve read them
The answer here could be to donate them to others or to recycle them. You may have a good reason to keep some, too. You might want to scan selected pages, as Erin does, and then give them away or recycle them.
If you actually read the magazines you subscribe to, you still might want to stop the printed version from coming into your home. Some magazines are now available on DVD. For example, you can get 123 years of National Geographic on CD — and annual updates are available. Some other examples of magazines on DVD are Fine Woodworking and Threads. This might influence your decision on what to keep — or what to subscribe to in the first place.
Also, if you have a tablet or electronic reading device (like an iPad or Kindle), you can subscribe to many magazines digitally. Amazon, iTunes, and Zinio have subscription services for these devices. (Zinio is Erin’s favorite, but the other services are fine, too.)