how to: magazine swap.

Are you slightly obsessed with magazines *cough, cough, cough* but feel like buying or subscribing to magazines is

A} Completely crazy! I Can’t afford to buy magazines, they’re pricey!


B} I love buying magazines! I deserve a little something happy in my day don’t I?  I just don’t know what to do with them when once I’m done gleaning out the bits about Reese Witherspoon and her newest hottie.

Well, I have an idea for you:  set up a magazine swap with friends.

1. Gather together a group of friends and friends of friends who can get their paws on a few magazines a month to trade.

2. Decide how to set up the magazine swap.

There are a lot of different options, depending on your group of friends and whether or not you’ll be swapping in person once in a while, shipping magazines back and forth across the continent, or having one main swap location at someone’s house.  A few things to consider:

  • Is this something you’ll do in person monthly, throw in a play date with the kids and some dessert for the moms?
  • If so, will you change locations and times or will you have a standing date for the last Friday of the month by the swings at noon?
  • If a monthly swap meeting isn’t feasible, would one of the group members be willing to be the main swap location for the entire group where you set up rules about dropping off and picking up magazines?
  • Will you run the magazine swap like a library with one of you keeping track of what’s coming and going in a binder or will it be a more casual affair?
  • What kind of magazines will you be trading?  How current do they have to be in order to be considered swap-able?  How long can you keep magazines once they’re in your possession?

Figure out all the nitty gritty details and get a swap going with friends, co-workers, family, anyone you can think of.  There’s no reason for all those magazines to go to waste, and you might even extend your magazine repertoire in the process.  A magazine swap is, after all, how I came to know and love Real Simple.

Try it and let me know what works, I’m itching to set up a magazine swap of my own.

(Visited 580 times, 1 visits today)


Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. stephenie :

    I am such a magazine junkie! I subscribed to way to many. So this idea is a great one. However, there are a few of them (i.e., Real Simple) that I would never part with because there are too many times when I sit down on a Sunday afternoon and re-read them. Like I said, I’m a total junkie.

    • Allison :

      Stephenie, I have a hard time getting rid of my Real Simple’s too, but eventually I part with them.

      I love magazines.

  2. Marie :

    I only get BHG, but looks like you already get it. What if you don’t have any to exchange but you just want your friends old ones?!!

    • Allison :

      I think something could be arranged. Don’t you think? I’d give you mine, and I have a lot to give. We need to start a swap asap.

  3. Nadia :

    Oooo good idea! I just scored 15-20 magazines from my library today actually (free!). I’m slowly turning into a magazine junkie. Never was, never have been but somehow the addiction has crept up on me thanks to Conde Naste.

    • Petit Elefant :

      Nice score! That Conde Nast has a way, right? Love magazines, and now, maybe you can trade up for some new stuff when you’re done. Way to go!

  4. danish :

    Hi Allison! Delurking to admit I am a total magazine junkie too. I only pay for subscriptions to 2 magazines (Oprah and Entertainment Weekly) , and I never ever pay full price at the store.

    My secret? I can’t believe I am admitting it but, I kind of dumpster dive at the recycling center. I can get tons of mags in perfect condition, for free! I just bring them back when I am done! I don’t care if people look at me funny. I’ve seen others do it too. :)

    My other suggestion? Dentist offices, offer to take some off their hands. I am sure they just get thrown in the trash when the new ones come.

  5. Allison :


    So glad you’re delurking. Really.

    Dumpster diving? Gotta admit I’ve never thought of that, but it’s not a shabby idea. I’ve totally taken magazines off the hands of doctor’s offices, with permission of course.

    Good calls all around.

    • Allison :


      I’m starting up a swap with friends, and I can’t wait! Let me know how yours goes.