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Giving Subscriptions as Gifts

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For some odd reason, my brain is programmed to think that when you’re giving a gift, you’re usually giving something finite. Whether it’s straight cash (think Chinese New Year red envelopes), a stupid gift card, or some sort of product or service, I generally think of a gift as something that happens “once” and then never again. When I rack my brain for gift ideas, I often think of these finite type things when you can give something that lasts a whole lot longer – a subscription. Whether it’s a magazine subscription (the more common one) or a service subscription (membership to some organization they really love), giving a gift that actually keeps on giving is something that I only recently though of and it’s a phenomenal idea.

I’ll use magazines as the example run with it…

Magazine subscriptions are dirt cheap. You can find basically any magazine off eBay for a fraction of what they cost directly and for a microscopic fraction of the newsstand price. Most of the eBay sellers are reputable but if you don’t trust them, you can always turn to reliable powerhouse Amazon.com or some of the other smaller magazine shops online like NetMagazines or Magazines.com.

Magazines come every month and every month your recipient gets reminded how you got them such an awesome gift. Sure, if you got a product as a gift you get reminded every time you use it (I remember getting a knife two years ago, I still use that knife today – thanks Mattybo!), but a subscription is recurring, regular, and lasts for at least a year.

Dollar for dollar, a magazine provides the most time per dollar… if you pick the right subscription. When I read a magazine, it usually takes a few days before I actually make it all the way through. In fact, some magazines will take weeks as I will often set it down, forget about it, and then pick it up later. Magazines are nice because the articles are so bite-sized, unlike an entire book, so you can really enjoy it in manageable chunks… for a long long time.

So, next time you’re thinking about getting a gift, consider a subscription!

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10 Responses to “Giving Subscriptions as Gifts”

  1. Matthew Paulson says:

    My grandmother got my a subscription to Newsweek a while ago, and I’ve actually really enjoyed reading it…Definitely a good time-user-upper for the hour between classes that I have sometimes!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I so feel you on this,
    I absolute dislike giving gifts that are forgotten or gone by the end of the day. Some of my friends consider me to be cheap but I love giving gifts that the person either needs or something that will keep giving. So, as of last year, I incorporated this method and it has worked thus far.
    Now, I even receive gift subscriptions from my favorite magazines. This saves me money and every month, I smile when I get a new Money Magazine, Kiplinger, and Essence –because I didn’t pay for them.

  3. Argonautica says:

    OTOH, a poor subscription choice is just more junk that has to be collected and disposed.

    For example, our area receives a free newspaper: it’s pretty awful, but almost gives the local paper a run for its money in terms of content. However, I don’t like it and I don’t want to read it, and I’m tired of lugging it in every day to the recycle bin. It’s like someone is daily littering my yard.

    Apparently, the delivery person feels that because it is gift, I should be grateful. When I picked it up and waved and yelled, she replied “it’s free!” as she drove away and littered the neighbor’s yard.

    I guess the moral of the rant is to be careful when ordering a subscription as a gift so it doesn’t become just one more piece of junk mail to be tossed.

  4. Rick Morley says:

    Of course, subscription companies like you giving subscriptions as gifts too. Especially subscription services like Netflix. So you get the first 6 or 12 months free, but after that, most people are so used to having the subscription that when the bill comes to renew, they’ll just pay for the next year without even thinking all that much. You are now a recurring revenue stream for the company.

  5. sandycheeks says:

    I recently gave a magazine subscription as a gift and I “paid” for it using Coke reward points. I drink the soda anyway so it was essentially free. The person asked for the subscription so I knew they would like it.

  6. MoneyNing says:

    I’m giving away my RSS feed subscription as free gifts so head on over to my website to claim it :D

  7. TTFK says:

    In past years, I have given Basic Emusic.com subscriptions to friends I know that have MP3 players.

  8. The problem I run into with giving subscriptions as gifts is that I tend to feel obligated to renew them. If it’s someone I’m close to, like my mom, I’ll just ask if she wants to continue getting the magazine, but with others, it’s a little awkward.

  9. Curls says:

    It is a great idea except when the subscription runs out, the publisher sends you letter after letter to remind you to renew your subscription for your dear “insert name” and how disappointed they would be if they stopped getting the magazine. It made me feel so bad.

  10. Kris says:

    I have found the best place to buy subs to be bestdealmagazines.com – they have a ton of magazines available for $4-6/year! Check it out if you haven’t already!


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