Not Missing My Magazine Subscriptions

I was cleaning out my office over the weekend and came across several unread magazines from subscriptions that I had in the past which I’ve let go. I just realized that I don’t miss them…..much. At various times I had subscriptions to:

  • Maxim – This was a fun magazine that I had for a stretch in my late 20’s and early 30’s. I actually let this one run out a couple of years ago when I realized that I had outgrown it, that my future wife might not appreciate me getting it, and most importantly, from having the feeling that I’d read just about everything. I didn’t miss this one bit.
  • Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine – I love to read and this was one of my favorite magazines as a teenager, as it contains a lot of short stories in the mystery genre. I had subscribed to it for two years, but let it go about three years ago. I enjoyed it but it was hit or miss. Since I still have a couple of unread copies, I guess this was no big loss.
  • Entertainment Weekly – This was probably the hardest to let go. I had subscribed to this magazine since I was a freshman in college, when I got hooked into one of the ‘deals’ that they throw at newbie college kids. I really enjoyed this magazine for the 15 years or so that I subscribed, but it got to where I wasn’t reading it fully anymore. When I found out that my local library carries back copies, I decided to let it go. I do miss this one a little bit, but I plan on keeping up with their ‘preview’ issues through the library, which are the ones I enjoyed the most. These were regular previews of things such as the Fall TV season, Summer Movie season, etc.
  • Us Magazine – This one wasn’t for me but was my wife. She signed up for a really good deal a little over a year ago, and decided not to renew it as she felt that it was very repetitive.

So, we are currently not paying for any subscriptions. We have three monthly magazines that come to us, but they’re free. One is for Better Homes & Gardens which was free inside a cookbook my wife got for a gift. A second is a pregnancy magazine that my wife found somewhere. The third is a professional publication for my profession (project management) that is included in the annual membership dues for the national insitute. My employer pays those dues, so there is nothing out of pocket for me.
In all, although I miss the magazines occasionally, I realized that the money I’m saving by not having the subscriptions is worth more to me, especially since I have an outlet to read the magazine that I do miss the most. Just a little bit more that we can apply towards our debt!

My City Government Is Helping Residents Save Money

One of the things that was new to me when we bought our house last year was having to pay for garbage pickup. Prior to that, I had lived in a condo and so the garbage pickup was included in the monthly association fees.
When we were buying our house, I investigated and found that garbage pickup in our city was up to each individual household. There are five trash haulers licensed in the city, and our subdivision has a recommendation of using one of the five haulers. I signed up with them.
The cost varies with fuel costs, but most recently the cost was approximately $80 for three months, or approximately $27 per month.
I was surprised that there wasn’t a single trash hauler, and did a little bit of research on the subject. I found that the residents had actually voted it down a few years back. The details in the archive news stories were a little sketchy, but I think that the residents were nervous about it being an additional tax, some didn’t like the government ‘taking it over’, and yet other residents didn’t want to pay because they don’t use the service all year. A lot of retired people in Michigan are ’snowbirds’ and spend the winters in warmer climates such as Florida or Arizona. Many of these people felt it would be cheaper for them to pay as you go.
Recently, I heard that the city council has been inundated with requests from residents to consider this again. The costs have gone up tremendously versus what it was a couple of years ago. Plus, the fact that there were multiple haulers meant multiple trucks. This added to traffic, wear and tear on the roads, and the general displeasure of having to look at garbage on the curb as well as listen to garbage trucks going by.
Apparently, the city council is bypassing the city vote. Instead of rolling it into the taxes, they’re basically still making residents pay the garbage hauler, but they’re eliminating all but one of the trash haulers licensed in the city. People that leave for the winter can turn the service off, with a nominal re-activation fee in the spring.
And, the price for three months will be $45. That’s $35 every quarter, or $140 saved per year. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Even people that leave for four or five months will save for the time that they’re using the service. Plus, we’ll have one day of trash pickup in our subdivision, less wear on the roads, and I believe they actually provide better service. They’ll take more recycling than they do now, they’ll provide residents with larger trash bins and recycle bins, and they’ve agreed to purchase all new equipment.
For us, the hauler that was chosen is the same one we’re using, so I’m hopeful that the transition will be relatively seamless when it happens.
I can’t really see a problem with this and am glad that our city government is helping our residents save money.