I’m a die-hard media consumer. For me, the Internet is a never-ending source of information on any topic that catches my interest. But I also love to read books, magazines, and newspapers and have a soft spot for apps and music.
My husband’s a movie lover. He’ll watch just about anything once, even if it looks like it cost $100 to make and is subtitled in English. The movies he loves, he’ll watch dozens of times.
For our family, media consumption has the potential to be a real budget buster. If you’re a media consumer, here are a few tips to help you save some cash while feeding your need.
How to Save Money on Books, Magazines, Newspapers, and Movies
1. Visit your local library
Even without a library card, you can read books, magazines, and newspapers in the comfort of your local library — for free. With a library card, you can check out and request nearly any title (if your library participates in an exchange consortium with other libraries). You can download just released music albums (for free), listen to an audio book on your iPod or MP3 player, access the Internet from your own laptop, or use a library-provided PC without paying a penny.
2. Join Amazon Prime
If you’re a big book reader, and don’t mind reading digital texts, the Amazon Prime membership is a deal that can’t be beat. Among other benefits, Amazon’s Prime membership allows you to download thousands of books to your digital device without paying for the content. If you prefer printed books, a Prime membership gives you special discounts on shipping. You also get a free subscription to the Wall Street Journal and access to free streaming movies from Amazon’s website. For $79 a year, it’s a great deal.
3. Download free eBooks
If you have an eBook app on your smartphone or tablet, there are several apps for finding and downloading free eBooks. Both the Kindle and iBooks apps have selections of eBooks for free.
4. Share a subscription with a friend or neighbor
If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on the local newspaper, consider sharing a subscription with a trusted friend or neighbor. Split the cost, and read the paper when the other is finished. It’s also a great excuse to see your friend, which will deeper your relationship with him or her.
5. Subscribe to an online edition of your favorite magazine or newspaper
You can often get these subscriptions for less than print editions, and some publications even offer online versions for free.
6. Create a media co-op in your neighborhood
Use it to swap books, movies, and magazines with others, and refresh your library for less.
7. Check thrift stores and pawn shops
Besides having books, magazines, and CDs, these stores often offer new or like-new DVDs for $2-3. You can even pick up an MP3 player, tablet, or eBook reader for far less than you’d pay for a new device (just make sure it works before leaving the store).
What’s your favorite way to save on books, movies, music, apps, magazines, and newspapers?