Save Money on Movie Rentals – From Free Movies to Blockbuster Online

December 5, 2008

Renting a movie to watch curled up on a warm couch is a favorite weekend treat on cold winter evenings. Saving money on movie rentals is a matter of balancing new releases and older movies, title selection, and convenience.

Free Movies

You can rent free movies from most public libraries. In my experience the selection of titles will vary from poor at many smaller, older branches all the way up through pretty decent at newer, larger libraries.

You might not be able to find the latest blockbuster but the library is pretty much guaranteed to have some old classics alongside some newer run DVDs.

The convenience factor of picking up a movie from a library is similar to dropping into a video rental store.  You still have to drive there and sort through the movies, the main difference is selection and how recent the movies are.

Cheap Movies

Next to free movies from the library, renting a movie for a $1 from Redbox is the next cheapest option.  Currently RedBox has over 10,000 locations around the US, you’ve probably seen one out front of a McDonalds or local grocery store in your area.

The movie selection isn’t as in depth at RedBox as it is at a movie rental store and the titles are a little older but the price is looooow.  Some people complain about choosing a movie through the kiosk interface but RedBox does have a website where you can go ahead of time to browse the titles, watch previews, and even reserve a movie online.  They call the process “Pick a Movie, Pick a Redbox, Pick it Up”.

In terms of convenience, you still have to drive somewhere to pick up the movie, just like a library or movie rental store, but if you can combine it with a weekend trip to the grocery store that at least saves you some gas money.

New Movies

If you want to see newer release movies and are willing to pay a little more then you can go with a movie rental store or online movie rental.  Sometimes local video stores can be a little cheaper than a Hollywood Video or Blockbuster it just depends on the store.

In Store Movie Rentals

The most expensive option is to walk into a Blockbuster or Hollywood video and rent the latest release.  The title selection will be pretty good, but the convenience factor is still similar to the library or RedBox, you still have to get in your car and go out to rent the movie.

Online Movie Rentals

Both Blockbuster and Netflix are now both selling set top boxes that allow you to download movies to a digital box in your home.  You have to make a big investment up front to purchase the hardware but then the movie rentals are only a few bucks.

In terms of the convienence factor these new boxes, the Roku Netflix player and Blockbuster MediaPoint, are pretty slick, you don’t have to leave your house to rent a movie.  The movie rental prices seem pretty decent, of course the downside is you have to pay all the money up front to buy the set top box.

Of course, both companies also offer their online DVD rental services where you visit their website, select the movies you want to watch, and they’re delivered to your home.  I’ve used both Blockbuster Total Access and Netflix to rent movies online for pretty cheap.  Both services offer a free trial period to let you test out the service, you can use the links below to get a free trial:


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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 Save Money on Movie Rentals – From Free Movies to Blockbuster Online

  • Rocky

    Using streaming media is much easier and also free, of course legal. Not paying money everytime I want to watch a movie, that’s the perfect way for entertainment


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