Category: Finance

Saving money with online movie rentals

We joined Blockbuster Online last year, selecting the “1 at a time for $9.99” option (including tax, it came out to $10.76). We found that we could get 3-4 movies each month, along with two free in-store rentals using their e-coupons.  At the time, we were powering through various episodes of CSI (Las Vegas) and CSI: New York.

Then, Blockbuster changed to their “total access” policy, where turning in a movie in-store got you a free rental. Suddenly we were getting 7-8 movies a month. This turned out to be way too much media for us, and we found our discs collecting dust.

So, I downgraded to the $7.99 “1 at a time – limit of 3 per month” plan ($8.61 including tax). We still can turn in the movies for free rentals in-store, and we still get one more free e-coupon, so we can still get up to 7 movies each month for $1.23 each! (Unfortunately our local Blockbuster doesn’t have CSI season 5, otherwise I would downgrade even more to the 2-per-month plan. Maybe when we get through season 5!)
We don’t have a TV, so we aren’t paying for cable/Tivo/etc., but have found online movie rentals to be a nice way to enjoy movies and TV shows (albeit we’re always at least one season behind). And we love not sitting through commercials.

We’re saving $25.80 a year by downgrading to a simpler plan. This inspires me to look at other areas of our finances. $2.15/month isn’t much, but if I can figure out ways to pinch pennies on other things that aren’t even being used, those pennies will add up to savings!

(By the way – I keep wondering how long this online movie rental thing will last. $1.23 per movie is a far cry from $4.99 in-store rental prices. Now the in-store folks are trying to convince me to purchase a “snack card;” somehow I don’t think this is going to help them that much.)

Envelope Budget System in Quicken

QuickenHead has a post about using Quicken to track an envelope budget system. I like the idea and want to take a bit of time (perhaps this weekend when I update our budget) to think about how this might apply to my “envelope system in spreadsheet format.” It would be nice to simplify my system and take Excel out of it, but I’m not sure yet if the fact that I don’t have an actual cash envelope system will cause a problem…