Magazine subscriptions aren’t a new concept and, like other paid-for subscriptions, they are often one of the first things to go when looking to cut outgoings. If you’re not an avid magazine reader, they won’t be for you.
However, if you love your monthly dose of gossip or tech updates, are you actually increasing your outgoings by not having a subscription? We set out to investigate and to get answers to the questions you should be asking yourself.
1) Can’t I just read the magazine articles online?
The simple answer is no. In a world dominated by the Internet, it would make sense for people could access the same content online, in the same way as many national newspapers such as the Daily Mail.
The reality is that you can access magazine some content on the net as many of the main publications such as Heat Magazine, FHM and Glamour all have websites. However, not all of the content is available, which means that you may be missing out on some articles.
The larger titles have also started combining a ‘digital’ subscription alongside the traditional print mags, which works in the form of having access to an app, which contains the content.
If you don’t mind about missing some hot gossip or new tech products revealed, the websites may provide just enough to keep you going. If this is the case, ditch the subscription and just buy a copy from your local newsagent if there’s a story you just don’t want to miss.
2) How much cheaper are subscriptions than buying single issues?
Savings for magazine subscriptions vary depending on the popularity of title, as well as the length of time the subscription is for. Generally, you should be able to save a minimum of 19% per year on popular titles such as FHM and Heat Magazine, with savings of up to 78% available on more niche magazines.
Lots of companies such as Great Magazines
often offer a taster of four issues for £1, helping to cut the cost further.
Based on the savings it’s quick do work out whether or not you would be better off taking out a magazine subscription instead of buying single copies.
Example 1: Heat Magazine – 51 issues per year
Buying a copy Heat Magazine each week would cost you £91.80 (51 x £1.80)
Taking out an annual subscription for Heat Magazine would cost you £68 (£34 direct debit every 6 months)
You’d save £22 with an annual subscription, which is the equivalent of around 12 issues. Therefore if you’re an avid reader and don’t miss a copy, you’d be better off. However, if you only ever buy 3 issues or less each month, stick to buying the single issue as a subscription would actually INCREASE your outgoings.
Example 2: Empire Magazine – 12 issues per year
Buying a copy of Empire each week would cost you £47.88 (12 x £3.99)
Taking out an annual subscription would cost you £25 (then a £35 direct debit for the second year)
You’d save nearly £23 with a 12-month subscription, which is a huge 48% off compared to buying standard issues. Unless you only buy a copy of Empire Magazine every other month or fewer, you’d be significantly better off buy taking out the subscription.
These two examples are indicative of the pricing structure for different publications. Subscriptions for weekly magazines are often only good value if you buy a copy nearly every week. If you’re not careful, you could end up actually increasing your outgoings each year, rather than trimming it down. With the monthly magazines, subscriptions are often the better option, as the savings tend to be higher.
3) Do subscription prices vary online for the same magazine?
Yes, a lot. Like all things online, there’s huge variance in the price charged by different companies for exactly the same subscription. As a general rule, you’re often better off by taking out a subscription directly with the publisher of the magazine.
For example, GreatMagazines.co.uk is owned by Bauer Media, which is the publisher of titles like Heat, Grazia and FHM. Based on our research, the cheapest subscriptions for these specific titles was on the Great Magazines website.
Likewise, we found the cheapest prices for T3 and Total Film magazine on MyFavouriteMagazines.co.uk
, which is operated by the publisher, Future Publishing.
It isn’t always the case though, and it is still worth checking sites that aren’t tied to a specific publisher, such as iSubscribe
which is independent. We found Men’s Health to be £1 cheaper than the publisher’s own site, QualityMagazines.co.uk
, plus they also offer voucher codes from time-to-time with an extra 10% off the cost of the subscription.
So will I save money with a magazine subscription?
From all of the research we’ve done, the answer is yes, but depending on how many issues you usually buy each year.
You can cut the cost further by keeping an eye out for voucher codes, which offer an additional saving. These are usually always available in December/January as many people also buy magazine subscriptions as gifts.
It’s also clear that you should check the prices on a few sites first. The subscription link from the website for the magazine will always take you to a site operated by the publisher, which is often the best price, but not always.