Here are a few strategies for watching movies more cheaply at home. Since I have two children, I have developed these strategies out of necessity rather than choice, including one called “how to avoid late fees.” This one hatched out of an incident when my then three-year-old daughter cried hysterically every time I tried to return Dora’s Halloween, resulting in $21.00 in fees. And it wasn’t even Halloween! Goodbye local movie store…hello Netflix!
The beauty of Netflix is that you can keep movies at home for as long as you want. This is especially helpful if your kids get particularly attached to a particular movie and want to watch it daily until they achieve total burn-out. If you or your child simply cannot part with a movie title, you can also decide to buy the movie for $14.00 ($20.00 for Blu-ray). Depending on if it was a new release or not, this can actually be cheaper than buying the DVD new at the store. Netflix also allows for the occasional “lost in the mail” excuse, so if your DVD never arrives back to their receiving address, you will not be charged.
Plans range from $8.99 (one title out-at-a-time) to 4 out-at-a-time ($23.99). We currently have the cheapest option, but this works out great, because it also comes with the option of watching unlimited numbers of movies and television shows instantly on our PC’s. My husband picks out his choice (usually a new release) to come by mail, while the kids get to watch what they want on the laptop. Not bad for $8.99 (and no more late fees). A new option with Netflix is instant streaming to your Wii console, which we happen to have. If you have your Wii set up to wireless internet, you can watch Netflix selections on your television screen. Gotta love technology!
Most Blockbuster locations offer a membership plan that comes with one free rental per month and it is free to sign up. If you can be diligent about returning your items, this movie rental chain can be a great choice. I was also able to purchase an Indiana Jones game for Wii from Blockbuster for $14.99, after my son refused to relinquish it (do you see a pattern emerging here?). Blockbuster also sends us coupons periodically for more free movie and game rentals. Thanks, guys! Blockbuster now offers a movie delivery option as well, but it is a little more expensive than Netflix and wait times are longer, in my area, anyway, for sending and receiving movies.
Redbox rentals are available at many grocery store chains and discount stores and are only a buck (plus tax) per night. Even if it takes you a few days to actually watch the movie, it is still cheaper than most movie rental stores. It can be tricky to find certain new releases if they are in high demand, but there is a “reserve online” option where you can put a movie title on-hold until you can get there to pick it up. If you sign up for their email newsletter, you also get a code delivered to your inbox each month for a free movie.
If you like watching television episodes and some older movies, there are a few great websites out there where you can watch for free:
- You Tube (I am not sure of the legal issues involved here, but this can be a valuable resource for hard-to-find movies and television shows).
If it is a recently-aired television show that you seek (and you do not want to pay for DVR or TiVo), then remember to check the network’s website, as you can usually find episodes of popular shows that you might have missed. I am also hearing a lot about Roku lately, but do not know much about it. If you have an opinion one way or the other, I’d love to hear from you!
What is your favorite way of getting movies for low cost?