I don't subscribe to any of the knitting magazines, but go to the library once a month and take a look at every magazine that relates to the things I'm interested in. If anything catches my eye, then I'll buy the mag. Usually, I can find a pattern online, for free, that comes close enough.
My downfall are books about knitting. Right now, I seem to be aquiring Elizabeth Zimmerman books, and really, I don't know how, the postman just brings them to my door!