This week, in keeping with my Bills and Budgets theme, I wanted to share how we have seriously axed the entertainment area of our budget, without totally sacrificing a fun night!
When we made the decision for me to quit my job outside of the home, we knew we’d have to cut the budget as much as possible to make it work. One of the “easiest” areas to sacrifice was entertainment. No more expensive sushi dinners (except on special occasions), very rare trips to the movie theater. Even a trip to Blockbuster was just too expensive. Cable… HAHAHAhahahahaha! Like we need to spend THAT kind of money to be motivated to sit in front of the TV.
What we did do was rent movies from Red Box. You know, those red movie kiosks at McDonald’s and other places (they’re popping up everywhere now). A buck a movie worked just great. That is, until we got a slew of DVD’s so scratched we couldn’t even watch them. Not to mention the fact that I had to take the “drive of shame” into the Golden Arches parking lot to rent one.
I’m sure all of you have at least heard of Netflix. I had heard of it for a looong time before I gave it a try. I had even set up an account for my grandpa! But we never wanted to shell out the dough… I mean, how many movies can you watch? But one day we realized we were hitting the Red Box for two to four movies a week. That’s more than $16 a month for a limited selection of possibly scratched, guaranteed grease stained DVD’s! We looked into Netflix for ourselves. We have not looked back!
We signed up for Netflix 1 at-a-time (Unlimited) Plan… for $8.99 a month. We get about 2 movies a week now. Any movie we want. Or TV show, for that matter. I can even reserve new releases like Seven Pounds or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before they’ve even left the big screen. And they have a nice little bonus feature called Watch Instantly. You can watch TV shows or movies instantly on your computer at no extra charge.
So far we’ve watched Dead Like Me, Weeds, Dexter, and we’re getting ready to start Big Love. All TV series’ on cable networks like HBO & Showtime. Also, I’ve finally watched the Office and 30 Rock. It’s fun watching a show “on demand” without paying On Demand prices. And we only watch what we like!
And when Friday rolls around, we run to the mailbox to grab the latest flick. After Henry goes down for the night, Rick makes some popcorn, and suddenly, it’s date night! There have been nights where we set up the highchair in the office, and we have “movie night” with Henry at dinner. We eat our baked squash and watch The Incredibles or Wall-E as a family treat. It’s a fun, money saving compromise.
We’re even considering NOT getting the DTV box when the switch happens… radio’s still free, and we can get any TV show we want on Netflix. It’s ridiculously cheaper than cable, Blockbuster, and even Red Box (especially for movie buffs like us).
Genny had a great blog a week or two ago about checking out movies at the library… a free movie option. But if you need a bigger selection on the cheap, sans the fries, check out Netflix’s latest plans.