How To Save Money #9: Drop Your Magazine and Newspaper Subscriptions

I once read that all newspapers and magazines made their money from their advertisers. The money they make from subscribers is a pittance compared to the amount rolling in from people who want to sell something to you. Next time you pick up one of your magazines or newspapers, take a look at just how much space is dedicated to advertising and not to actual content. And that advertising is insidious. It can lead you to think you must have Product X or Fashion Style Y, which in turn leads you to, yes, spend more money.

Think about it this way:  Most of what you are getting from your magazines or newspapers is available for free on the Internet, and you can more easily avoid advertising while you are at it. Yes, even (or maybe especially) that kind of material.

In addition, all those magazines and newspapers consume trees. Trees may be considered a renewable resource, but have you seen a forest that is being managed as a resource for wood as opposed to a forest that is being managed as, well, a forest? There is a huge difference. A forest being managed for the value of the trees as wood is not a stable habitat for wild plants and critters. We can’t yet completely avoid using paper, but each step we take to reduce our personal consumption of paper is another step taken toward a healthier, saner planet.

Now, you may be saying there are some newspapers and magazines you simply must read. I leave it to your discretion to decide which ones. (Seriously? You only read it for the articles? Really?) But take stock and see if there is even one subscription you can drop. And as each subscription comes due, ask yourself if you really must renew. Ask yourself how inconvenient it is to manage all the old issues lying around. (You do recycle them, right? Or pass them on to someone else? I don’t want to hear that you just throw them into the waste stream. If you hang onto them, see the next paragraph.) Also ask yourself how often you read it, and how much value you get out of it. If you do not read at least 3/4 of that magazine or newspaper every time, then you are wasting your money. And remember, most libraries have subscriptions to many magazines and newspapers. Consider using the library instead. It’s free.

As for hanging onto magazines and newspapers: do you really need to? Really? Why? If you say that you might re-read them some day, ask yourself when. When are you are going to have the time to re-read them?  If you honestly think that you will someday have the time to go back through all your old magazines and re-read them, then I am not talking with a rational person. But if this is suddenly making sense to you, remember, libraries have magazine indexes that go back many decades, so consider letting the library have the headache of storing all those issues instead.

And if there is an article you really must keep because you might re-read it again one day, think about recycling the magazine and using the library later. Or at least, just tear out that one article and recycle the rest.

Reducing your subscriptions has the added bonus of simplifying your life, giving you less to worry about, less clutter, and more money in your wallet. And you are helping the environment as well. There is no down side to it!

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