One magazine subscription isn’t expensive, but when you take more than a few, the costs can add up quickly. I’ve been addicted to magazines in the past, and I know how easy it is to oversubscribe. When you take so many magazines that you can’t read them all, you’re essentially throwing your money away.

One way to keep subscription costs down — no matter how many you have — is to share the expense via a magazine exchange. Find a people with whom you can swap magazines. Check with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors — there are lots of magazine junkies out there who would be happy to cut costs.

Before you begin your exchange, set some guidelines:

  • Will magazines return to the original owner, or will they be recycled?
  • Is it okay to tear out articles that you’d like to keep, or should the magazines be left whole?
  • Are there formal rules for the exchange, or do you just swap when you feel like it?
  • Will participants pool money for subscriptions, or simply share the periodicals they already take?

Most magazine exchanges are informal. Several people at Kris’ office bring old magazines to work for others to browse or to take home. We stockpile our own magazines when we’re finished reading. From time-to-time we offer back issues to freinds. People can tear out articles that interest them. They can chuck the magazines, or they can pass them on.

Regardless of the rules you choose, sharing magazine subscriptions is a nice way to save a little money. This can also be a good way to explore publications you might not otherwise read. I’m never going to subscribe to Mother Jones or National Review, but I’m happy to swap my old copies of Harper’s or The New Yorker for them.

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