Friday, February 6, 2009

Get Your Screen Time For Cheap!

Yesterday, I wrote about how my family doesn't pay for cable TV, but how we do enjoy watching movies and TV shows on DVD. Thinking about this, I realized that you could easily spend a lot of money on DVDs as well, but that there are many ways to keep to a very low budget for entertainment. Here are some ideas:

For something to watch once or twice:

- Redbox - This is really the greatest innovation in movie renting since the VCR! If you're not familiar with Rebox, very simply it is a machine, usually located in a grocery or big box store, that rents DVDs for a $1/night. Although they have mostly newer releases, they also mix it up somewhat. For instance, I noticed that had both the new "3:10 to Yuma" and the old black-and-white version. Go to and sign up for an account, and you can actually reserve the movie you want at a local machine. That way you don't have to go to multiple machines if one is out of a title. Also, Redbox publishes codes for a free movie on Monday nights.

- Netflix or Blockbuster Online - Although you can pay a decent amount for one of these services, they also both have very cheap plans. The one we have right now from Blockbuster is just $3.99/month, and we get two movies per months. This may not be a lot, but with two little ones we just don't get as much time to watch movies as we used to! This way, we get to choose from the more extensive selection online and pay half of what we would pay per movie in a Blockbuster store.

- Libraries - I feel that libraries are such an ignored frugal resource! Many libraries have a good selection of DVDs, even newer ones. They also might have some quirky or harder to find selections that could enjoyable. At my library, DVDs can be checked out for two weeks, just like books, and there is no limit on how many you can check out. Best of all - they are FREE!

- Hulu and Boxee - I just found out about these websites that allow you to watch current TV shows over the Internet (Thanks The Simple Life of the Boreings). Since without cable we don't really even get broadcast channels, we are definitely going to have to check these out soon.
For something you would like to own:

- Freecycle - You can find your local network of this awesome organization at People often clear out their movie collections and post bunches of movies. If you still have a VCR, you can often get tons of videos for free. And since the movies are free, you can pick up a box of them, watch them once, and pass on anything you don't want to keep.

- - Blockbuster has a large selection of previously viewed DVDs on their website, often for really good prices.
- Ebay - Even for a new, unwrapped DVD, you can often find a title for at least a few dollars less (including shipping) on Ebay than you would in a retail store. And if you're just buying a DVD for yourself, you can buy a pre-watched one and save even more.
- Amazon - Please, if you're going to just buy a new movie, at least get it from Amazon! Their prices are almost always lower than just buying it in Target or Best Buy, and if you were going to spend $25 anyway, you can get free shipping!

With all these great options out there, we generally spend less than $10/month on movies and TV. That sure is a lot less than cable!
PS - Read the rest of Crystal's post on menu planning here and check out tons of other Frugal Friday posts!

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