Tag Archives: magazines

Mindless Magazines

I recently got free magazine subscriptions to InStyle and Redbook. While InStyle has always been light on content, I thought Redbook offered more “insightful” articles about relationships, marriage and life in general.  At least that’s what I remember from skimming through Redbook in doctors’ offices.  Anyway, the issue I got was a revamped Redbook with a beaming Lauren Conrad, bold fonts and bright, happy graphics and tons of images.  There was definitely an attempt to be more interactive as in encouraging you to scan a code to see videos or go online.  In many ways, it was mimicking a website or blog.  And it read like a very light-weight fashion blog, too.  InStyle also seemed more graphic and image-heavy than in the past.

I get it. Magazines are competing with the online experience on tablets, websites, social media and blogs.  It’s fair to assume your readership, or potential new readers, have very short attention spans.  Still I find it sad that both of these magazines have become so shallow (especially Redbook, now a sad imitation of Lucky and Teen Vogue) that it’s not worth keeping for a second glance.

What are your thoughts of lifestyle or glossy women’s magazines?

What Won’t You Pay For?

I love reading magazines, from money to fashion/design to family/parenting, to the point that I could easily subscribe to a dozen.  However, in the interest of saving money and reducing temptations, I limit myself to 3 or less at a time.

Despite my love of magazines, I haven’t paid for a subscription in years, not since getting my first free subscription via expiring airlines miles.   After that, I realized that there are a few ways to get my fix for free.  This works for me because no magazine is a must-have for me.  I enjoy Real Simple and Self, but as long as I get any glossy lifestyle magazine, I’m pretty happy.

In addition to airline miles, which I can never seem to redeem for travel, I have also gotten free magazines via online surveys.  I don’t waste too much time on these but I’m part of a consumer panel and I actually enjoy giving feedback so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time.  Over the years, I’ve gotten 15 – 20 free subscriptions from Lucky to Smartmoney to Martha Stewart Living.

Another way I’ve gotten free magazines is via purchases.  It’s not so common but Harry & David had a promotion — offering a free subscription with X amount purchase.   I had to email customer service but it was really easy and I think I got Sunset or Martha Stewart Living magazine. I also got a free issue of Dwell from an online furniture/decor store.

Right now I have 3 magazines coming in — 1 via surveys and 2 via Recyclebank participation.  I’m still not sure how Recyclebank works (or makes money) but I get points for reporting my recycling so I figure why not participate.

Anyway, this post wasn’t supposed to only be about ways to get free magazines. I was just wondering if other people had similar experiences.  One friend finds it hard to pay for designer jeans because she used to get it for nearly free via a work connection.  Another friend hates to pay for parking. Do you have something (or things) that you just can’t bring yourself to pay for?

Buried Under Glossy Magazines

One of the surest ways to avoid the temptation to spend is to avoid advertising.  That’s not easy to do in our consumer-oriented culture.  That’s why many simple living gurus shut off the television altogether.  I’d bet they also limit their magazine consumption. With pages full of glossy ads and editorials that highlight new and better products, magazines are really nothing more than catalogues with added content.

Even though I take cheap shots at them, I love glossy magazines.  Through survey sites and expiring airline miles, I’m now the lucky subscriber of at least a dozen magazines ranging from Money to Body+Soul to Self.  The only magazine I pay for is Real Simple ($5 through an Amazon.com deal). I thought magazines would be a good way to find special offers and another way to get coupons.

For months now, I’ve been bombarded with ads and articles about fashion, make-up, organizing, cooking, decorating, losing weight and self-improvement.  At first, I held up pretty well against the constant stream of advertising.  Then I started wanting and needing sweaters and other pretty things I wouldn’t have known about if not for a magazine.  On a side note: Would men be more uptight about organizing and cleanliness if their magazines bombarded them with housekeeping and organization tips on a monthly basis? 

So what’s a simple living, magazine-loving gal to do? Here are some of my “survival” tips for those who can’t give up pretty magazines:

Give It Away, Give It Away Now 

Luckily I think I’ve found a way to manage the effects of advertising. Soon after reading each magazine, I give most away to co-workers, friends or family.  I’ve noticed that if I hold onto an issue, say a Fall Fashion one, I am more likely to want something.  If I pass it along, the pretty item soon fades from my mind.

Take the Good with the Bad
Not all magazines are “bad” for you of course.  I think fashion magazines are the worst culprits so I’m avoiding those for the most part.  Lifestyle magazines like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living will make you feel inadequate on so many levels.  Self and Shape actually inspires me to work out more often.  Surprisingly, my favorite is the Martha Stewart-owned Body+Soul.  Like any magazine, it spotlights plenty of things to buy but it also has helpful articles about food, finance and healthy living.  After reading a few of their “be a better person” articles, of which there are many, I made a point to do small, kind things for people.  I’m such a cynic so this was very unlike me.  I actually did feel better about myself and the world in general.

Look for Special Offers
Although not as prolific as I thought, magazines do have special offers and coupons for their readers. Be on the look-out for these and you can justify your magazine subscription cost.  In the December issue of Martha Stewart Living, there is a free subscription offer to Body+Soul or Everyday Food if you spend $25 or more at the UPS store.*  This is just one example of deals you can find if you look carefully.

Are you a magazine junkie?  What are your favorite magazines? Any tips on avoiding temptation even if you read Lucky?
* To receive the free subscription, you have to send a copy of $25+ UPS store receipt with a notecard including your name, address, phone number and code indicating magazine of your choice (EFAEGV2 for Everyday Food or BDAAYA7 for Body+Soul) to P.O. Box 60015, Tampa, FL 33660-0015. Offer expires December 31, 2009. $25 must be total sales amount including tax on one or more receipts.