I am a notoriously thorough couponer. An insanely diligent circular reader. I REFUSE to pay more for something that I know I can buy for 20 cents less if I just take the time to drive two minutes down the road to a different store. I work grocery store promotions for free milk and bread and cheap gas when they offer Catalina coupon deals. I diligently research sales and use multiple coupons on items at drugstores so I never have to pay for shampoo or hair-dye or Excedrin (which I need to cure my headaches form all the eye strain brought on by all my diligent sales research on the computer). I collect and print coupons for department and retail stores and shop the clearance racks to get free dresses and jewelry. I roll my own cigarettes (yes, I KNOW it’s not healthy to smoke!!) and pay 95 % off the state minimum for a pack of cigarettes. I stockpile when I can get food free, or super-cheap food, and cram it in my ready-to-burst pantry/cabinets or shove it in my freezer (which, incidentally, is starting to resemble that old Nintendo game Tetris…you kind of have to flip and turn the boxes to slide them into the open holes in my puzzle-like freezer). I bake my own brownies and cupcakes and quick breads because I can do it for 99 cents instead of $2.50 (not to mention it’s healthier and tastes MUCH better!).
But all that goes out the window when it comes time for me to stand in front of a rack of shiny, brand-new magazines when I’m waiting in line at the checkout at the grocery store.
Mike tries to stop me. But I won’t listen. I’ll plop down ten bucks faster on an issue of In Style and a Better Homes and Gardens Flea Market Style Special Addition merely ten seconds after I agonized over whether it was worth it to buy a bag of potatoes I knew would cost me $1 less the next week. I often have to spend a few minutes clearing the magazines from the dining room table just so Mike and I have a space to sit down and eat our $3.50 pot-roast, homemade mashed-potatoes and fresh garden salad dinner at.
Hi, my name is Jen, and I’m a Magazine Addict.
I HAVE been doing better. Of course, my obvious advice to you ( and I know there are others like me!) is to get subscriptions to the magazines you pick up regularly from the news stand. You will save TONS of money (often 80%) over news-stand prices!! I’ve lately found a lot of really great subscription deals (ranging from FREE to $7.50 per year) on some of my favorite magazines…and I’ve slowly been signing up for a few of them that I tend to buy every month. Problem is, it usually takes 6 to 10 weeks to receive your first issue, so what to do until then??
My Top Tips For Magazine Addict Relief, When You’re Chewing Your Nails Waiting For Your Subscriptions To Come In
- Like I said, I’m not alone. I have friends who are WAY worse than I am with buying magazines at the news stand!! One way to cut back on costs…say you have four friends, and you all read the same magazines. Have each person buy one of the magazines each month, and then trade them with each other. Better to pay $4.99 than $25 each month! I’ve tried this magazine-trade before, and it works very well…magazines can be read and passed on pretty quickly…unlike book-swapping, there isn’t a long waiting time in between different magazines as they’re passed along because magazines tend to be digested quickly!
- Sometimes I find, when I’m stuck in an impossibly and agonizingly loooong line at the checkout, that flipping through the magazine while I’m waiting and using the 5 to 10 minutes to read the few things that caught my attention on the cover completely quells my desire to actually pay money for a copy of the magazine. Try it out next time you’re stuck in line behind 3 buggies packed-to-the-rafters with Twinkies, Moutain Dew, and screaming toddlers, a senior citizen moving at a glacial pace as he/she counts out $28.59 worth of nickels and dimes, or an extreme couponer like yourself who is brandishing a stack of coupons roughly the thickness of the book War and Peace. You can get a lot of reading done in these scenarios, and the wait will be much more pleasant.
- If you aren’t really TOO concerned with the latest, greatest, up-to-the-millisecond high fashion advice, and just want something entertaining to flip through in the tub/get recipes from/read articles on the can/etc., I HIGHLY suggest visiting your local thrift store/salvation army/flea market/garage sales/etc. I recently got 5 issues of Cosmopolitan (which were only out of date by a few months) for ten cents apiece at my local Goodwill. I was still able to get some great fashion ideas, read some funny articles, and used the still-unopened perfume samples for nights out on the town, so SCORE!!
- Some friends have told me that their local doctor/dentist gives them their slightly outdated magazines for free. Next time you’re in for a root canal…ask for your Novocaine with a side of Women’s Day and Good Housekeeping!!
- Remember a thing called the Library? Check it out, they have magazines there as well as books, DVDs, CD’s, and Audio Books!
- Sometimes I’ll use my leftover +Ups (Rite Aid) or Register Rewards points (Walgreens and CVS) or Catalina coupons (Giant Eagle) to get myself a free magazine instead of using it to get a few dollars more in groceries. Shhhh…don’t tell Mike! 🙂
- Sometimes nothing will do but a fresh, glossy,uncreased magazine to take home from the store and call your own. Unbeknownst to many, there are actually COUPONS for magazines hiding out on your favorite printable coupon sites like coupons.com and couponnetwork.com. These coupons are usually always there, forgotten amidst all the food/beverage/beauty product printables. I use them pretty much every week…I’ve gotten $2 off In Style, People, In Touch, Real Simple and more. Like I said before, a subscription is the frugal way to go, but if you’re waiting for your subscriptions to come in, or you just can’t help yourself, here are a couple I’m using this week…print ’em out ladies, I understand!! (I have even seen a couple in the coupon inserts in my Sunday paper).
- $2 off People Magazine
- $1 off In Style Magazine (September issue)
- $2 off People’s Specials: Kate’s Style Secrets!
And, what to do with all those magazines when you’re through with them?? Believe it or not, there are a ton of crafty, amazingly chic-looking things you can do with torn-out, rolled-up magazine pages…i even saw some baskets for sale at a store recently…I almost purchased one until I realized what it was and that I had enough raw magazine material to make 25 of them for next to nothing…it was that cute! Anyway, if you need inspiration, check out this article:
- Top 10 Recycled Magazine Crafts (www.favecrafts.com) I REALLY love the bowl idea…it looks great and would be a wonderful catchall for keys/loose change/receipts/etc. as you walk in the door!
That should hold you over my friends. And get yourself a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup or a Dove Chocolate Bar while you’re standing there waiting to check out to go with your shiny, new (discounted) magazine. Just don’t forget to use a coupon!!
What’s your best money-saving strategy on magazines and other impulse buys at the grocery store? I’d love to hear some new ideas…leave a comment in the box below, or click the link at the start of the post to leave a comment!!