Do you feel like you are stuck paying for cable to watch movies and TV series because you don’t have decent internet?
The truth is you don’t have to pay for cable or internet or even have local HD Antenna channels to have TV entertainment. And for the truly thrifty, you can get all your TV entertainment for free.
Behold, the humble DVD. I admit, with the demise of blockbuster and the dwindling popularity of redbox, this form of watching movies and television series is a bit dated. People prefer the convenience of online streaming or a just-a-click-away TV channel.
But, DVDs and BluRays are a great option for people who don’t have the option of fast internet and don’t want to pay premium prices for cable. Best of all, DVDs provide excellent quality entertainment, and there are loads of ways to get them for free or cheap.
You may be limited in selection at any given time- especially in comparison with all the streaming content available online, but this may be a positive thing as you won’t waste time mindlessly binge-watching (or looking for something to watch). You can have a small, but quality, rotated selection of DVDs in your home that saves you time and money.
Without further adieu, I give you 4 frugal ways to watch TV shows and movies without internet or cable:
Many libraries have a large DVD section. You can borrow from here to your heart’s content, completely free. If you haven’t done so, check out your library and see what they have to offer. Make sure to ask if they will send out for DVDs from neighboring libraries or if they have a wish list.
You could also try borrowing movies from friends and family.
When we used to live close to my parents, I would borrow movies from them all the time. My mom has an extensive collection and likes to buy new releases, so this was always my favorite person to borrow from (thanks, mom!).
We used to also borrow movies from an older couple that we went to church with. They lent their movie library out to many people in the church and in their family and they even kept a spreadsheet with information on who had borrowed what so they wouldn’t misplace anything they owned.
Ask your friends and family if they wouldn’t mind you borrowing a movie or two. Make sure to return them promptly and undamaged so they will happy to let you borrow more.
You could certainly swap and trade DVDs and Blurays with family and friends for free. But there is also a site called Swap A DVD that helps you trade DVDs with people all over the country.
It costs 49 cents and 1 DVD credit to get a DVD sent to you. You earn a credit by mailing one of your own DVDs to someone else who wants it (mailing costs a little over $2).
This is a good, low cost, way to get rid of the movies you no longer watch and exchange them for ones you do.
My favorite way to buy DVDs (and most things) is garage sales. Most people host a garage sale because they want to get rid of their crap, so they are pricing things really low or willing to take a lower offer. I have gotten several movies at garage sales for less than a $1. My kids love the dreamworks and disney movie collection we have now because of this.
You can also find great deals on second hand movies at auctions, or bidding on collections for sale on Ebay.
Another great place to find cheap DVDs is the bargain bins at big box retailers. Walmart bargain bins are usually no more than $5 per DVD and they have a wide selection. If you are willing to dig through it, you can find some treasures.
And yet another option is a DVD subscription. My Discount DVD Club will send you 2 DVDs or Blurays, a handful of candy, and some microwave popcorn each month for $8.99. You get to choose which DVDs you are interested in via email a couple of weeks before the boxes are sent out. If you consider the candy and popcorn as freebies, the cost of each DVD is roughly $4.50.
And if there is a new release movie you want to add to your collection and don’t want to wait to get it, you can preorder it from Amazon. You will have a low price guarantee and get the movie delivered to your home on the day it is released.
Redbox can be a good choice for renting DVDs if you have one nearby. It costs $1 each night you keep a DVD and $2 for Bluray. They have new releases and popular movies and even games.
If you go to the Redbox website, you can find the nearest redbox to you, learn what movies are available, and hold movies for pickup (which is especially helpful so you don’t have to stand in line debating what you are going to rent).
More recently, Redbox began offering a rewards program called Redbox Play Pass. When you sign up you get 10 points every time you rent. 100 points gets you a free rental, and they will also give you a free rental on your birthday and the anniversary of the day you sign up for Redbox Play Pass.
I’m really bad about going back the next day to return my Redbox rentals, though, so I usually don’t rent them for fear of paying more to rent the movie than it would cost to buy it.
Another cheap rental option is Netflix DVD. They send you little red envelopes in the mail with the DVDs or Blurays of your choosing, you watch them at your leisure and then send them back through the mail whenever you want, without penalty. Once your nearest Netflix DVD warehouse receives the DVD back, they will mail out your next choice from the queue you made. Prices start at $4.99 a month and you get your first month free.
We are currently on a trial for the 2 discs out at a time unlimited DVD plan ($11.99/month after the trial). I like the large selection and that the movies come right to our mailbox. I love that I can watch the DVD when I want, whenever I want, and conveniently send it back when I am done (without racking up extra fees).
If you want to commit to no cable without having streaming internet, you can. Popular movies and tv series are available on DVD and can save you a lot of money, whether you borrow, trade, buy, or rent.