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Monday, April 27, 2009

Frugal movies. . . .

I don't enjoy the luxury of just chilling at home much these days (and, truth be told, I'm not a couch potato even in the best of times . . .) Between Job #1, Job #2, and being a full-time graduate student, my schedule is tight, but my budget is even tighter, meaning that entertainment gets squeezed in here and there, as time and money permit.

A couple of years ago, I explored the possibility of 'renting' movies at the local library, only to find that the most popular movies (meaning, anything with a title I recognized) had from 10 to 75 'holds' on them, placed by other patrons. I chafed at the prospect of not having my movies when I wanted them---wait times could be months long---and continued to rent some instant gratification from Blockbuster, at almost $4 a pop!

Now that I'm two-thirds through my graduate program, I'm feeling the need for additional 'self-care' while also feeling the pinch in my budget from ramping up my savings to account for my upcoming drop to part-time status at the day job.

So once again, I went back to my beloved Multnomah County Library website and set to work finding some movies that interested me. I dutifully placed my holds, behind scores of other library patrons, and settled in for a long wait.

Imagine my surprise, then, when just weeks later I received an email from the library letting me know that my first DVD hold had come in! I trotted down to the library before getting on the Max (light rail system) for the ride home, and presented myself at the DVD counter. Shockingly, there were FIVE movies waiting for me! In placing my holds, I had tried to be strategic, placing holds up to the limit of ten DVD's, thinking that they would arrive in a staggered fashion, allowing me to watch one or two DVD's every weekend or so. Not so, not so. Although patrons are allowed a whopping TWO WEEKS to keep their DVD's, many often return them in mere days, meaning that the 'hold list' decreases much more quickly than I had assumed.

So far, I've watched six or seven FREE movies over the course of the past month or so. Using coupons, I purchase some packaged popcorn, and voila, I have a fun movie night that cost pennies. I've had friends over to watch a couple of movies with me, and if they bring beverages, we're all set for a frugal evening of entertainment.

Note: I have been downloading free audiobooks for my MP3 player for about a year, which I use when I go to the gym. I can get all sorts of books this way, without paying the $15-$30 they cost on the iTunes and other audiobook sites. . . .

3 comments:

KristinBrianne said...

Also, why not take advantage of the free Redbox code on Mondays if you're driving by one anyway, at least on those weeks that you have time to watch one. As long as you're mindful enough to return them the following day, you could watch a newer movie when you actually want one. There are, as I'm sure you know, also many free codes for new members as well, so you could possibly rent a free Redbox movie anytime of the week!

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in how you have found free audio downloads. thanks!

Finally Frugal said...

Oops! Should have been more clear about the free audiobooks. My library website has a section that allows users to download audiobook (on "loan"---you can only 'download' for ten days---but as long as it's on your MP3 player, you can listen as long as it takes). It's totally free, and although sometimes I have to place a 'hold' on a book because other users have 'borrowed' it, generally I get my audiobook access within a week or two. . . in fact, I have one waiting for download as i write this!

It's been really great, and a huge motivator for me to go to the gym, if I've got a really good book I want to listen to. . . .

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