Renting Movies Online with Blockbuster and Netflix

January 27, 2009

Renting movies online was the topic of a piece on NPR yesterday that covered the cost of going to the movie theater vs renting movies.  “Trading down” was the term they used to describe the increase in the number of people who were renting movies from Netflix or Blockbuster in order to save money on their entertainment budget.

Despite several ways you can save money at the movies, it’s still usually cheaper to rent a movie, especially if there are two of you.  We’ve cut way back on our movie theater visits not just because of the cost of movie tickets but because it’s more expensive to go when you have to get a babysitter. 

One nice thing about renting a movie is that you can watch it whenever it fits into your schedule instead of having to go at a certain time; it’s also nice to be able to pause the movie for refreshment or bathroom breaks whenever you want.  However, we still really enjoy the movie theater experience every now and then but it just seems to get more and more expensive.

How about you, are you “trading down” and going to the movies less often?  There are several ways you can save money on movie rentals, such as the Blockbuster free trial or signing up for both Netflix and Blockbuster as they compete against one another.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to Renting Movies Online with Blockbuster and Netflix

  • Scott Siegel

    I currently use Redbox for most of my rentals. At 1 dollar per night it is the most cost effective. Sometimes they even have specials if you give them your email and occasionally will provide free rentals.

    Another source I use for videos is absolutely free. It’s called the public library. While they may not have the very latest releases my library has a lot of current ones.

    I can check out 10 videos at a time and keep them for 3 weeks. No Cost!

    Can even reserve them online.

    Can’t beat that anywhere!


  • Ben

    Grant, how does it work to have your account “on hold”? Does that mean you’re not paying for the Netflix service each month?

    Rick, sounds like you definitely get your money’s worth out of your movie watching experience, nice work!

  • Rick

    We have not been to the movie theater for over a year. We canceled pay TV and rent redbox movies for $1. We reserve them on line. We also get to use Clearplay filters if we watch at home. We often invite my daughter’s family over and the children’s friends to watch the movie. Sometimes we save the dollar and borrow a neighbor’s DVD. No wonder there’s a recession. 🙂

  • Grant Baldwin

    We use Netflix, but generally will leave our account on hold until we have several movies built up in our queue that we’re interested in. Rarely will we actually go to the movies…way too expensive when you can wait a few months and just get the DVD!

    Good post and a simple reminder of how the little expenses in our lives can add up…