Watching movies is one of America’s favorite pastimes. As a matter of fact, I have read recently that American’s spend something like 9 billion dollars a year on watching movies. But are there ways to enjoy this kind of entertainment more cheaply?
I often compare the different ways to watch movies, and what is the most cost-effective. I’ve tried everything from Hulu Plus to Netflix, and here is a list of what I believe are the cheapest ways to watch movies.
You can’t beat paying $1.20 for a movie. Redbox kiosks are pretty much everywhere, so they’re easy to locate, and you can return them at any Redbox location, making it convenient. The only downside is that you have to return the DVDs in 24 hours. Of course, you can always just choose to keep the DVD for longer, and pay the extra fee as well.
Both the streaming service and DVD rental service give you the chance to watch a lot of movies for a monthly fee. The problem with the streaming service is that the selection mostly consists of older movies. That said, Netflix does have a great selection of TV shows you can watch, and they have more original programming than any of its streaming rivals. Many hits include Daredevil, Orange is the New Black, and other shows that are widely popular. I’ve read that Netflix now has over 50 million subscribers. The price is right as well, as subscriptions only cost $8 a month, which is comparatively little for the value that you receive in return.
- Hulu Plus
Hulu Plus is a great alternative to Netflix. Most people seem to have tried Netflix at least once. I encourage people to try Hulu as well since there is a Hulu Plus free trial available at this time. For some people, the trial can last as long as one month. You may or may not like Hulu better than Netflix, but the fact is, the two services are pretty similar. (They are even the same price). The one gripe I have about Hulu is that there are commercials, even after you pay to become a subscriber. Netflix, on the other hand, does not have any ads.
- Second run theaters
These theaters let you watch movies for as little as $2.00. The theaters, however, tend to be run down and dirty. But you still get the theater experience at a fraction of what it normally costs. Quite honestly, it’s a lot like watching a movie in the 80s. Some second run theaters are actually quite nice, so if you search around a bit in your neighborhood, you may find one that becomes a favorite place to watch movies. There are not as many second run theaters as there used to be (I suspect because of the plethora of DVD rental and streaming options available today). I encourage you to support your local second run theater to make sure it doesn’t go away.
- Playstation Vue or Xbox Sling
Both Playstation and Xbox allow you to watch movies and TV online if you already own one of these game consoles. Plans generally range from $20 – $50, and a quick comparison shows that you get more for your money than you would using traditional cable subscriptions. If you are a gamer, therefore, adding one of these services may be the smart way to go as opposed to joining a separate service like Hulu or Netflix. But it’s important to point out that if you join the game rental service, Gamefly, you can get a free month of Hulu. So if you are thinking of renting games instead of buying them to save money, joining Gamefly may be something you want to look into. To learn more about this, check out Freetrialspot’s Gamefly Free Trial Offer.
The most expensive way to watch movies, no doubt, is watching new releases at multiplexes. If you buy popcorn and a soda, expect to be paying $20 or more per person. But sometimes you just want to see the latest movie and enjoy the theater experience. So while it can be costly, it’s still worth it in my opinion. I save the multiplex experience for the movies I am dying to watch. If it’s a movie I’m not that excited about, I will wait until it’s playing at my local second-run theater. And for all other movies that don’t fall into the above categories, I wait for the DVD on Redbox.
Here is a video that discusses the pros and cons of some of the more popular streaming services.