I’m not much of a TV watcher most of the time. I’m more of a computer addict. However, my husband and I love to watch movies together. And recently we’ve been barraged with thunderstorms in the evenings, which makes being outside in the evenings impossibleā€¦unless we want to get wet.

So lately we’ve taken advantage of some free and inexpensive options for watching things we like to watch, as opposed to whatever is available at the time on network TV.


Redbox is a relative newcomer to the DVD rental scene. Rather than a typical retail DVD rental location, Redbox is exactly as it sounds: a big red box, filled with DVDs. The boxes are usually located right inside or outside grocery stores and supercenters. Around here they’re located at Albertson’s and Walmart. You can find a full list of locations at the Redbox website.

All you have to do to rent a DVD is make a selection, either right at the box or online, insert a credit or debit card to pay, and your DVD is dispensed. Just remember to take it back before the time it’s due, or you’ll be charged for another day. Rentals are only $1 a night. And during the summer, Redbox will send you a text message with a free movie code on the first Monday of the month, if you sign up for text alerts. Movie selection is somewhat limited, but you can’t beat the price.


I’ve known about Hulu for a while now, but I just started using it. If you have a fast internet connection, you can watch movies and TV episodes, free of charge. You may not be able to find the most recent episode of your favorite TV shows, but I was impressed with their selection. Included in the lineup are shows like House, The Office, and Bones.

But what I really like about Hulu is their selection of older TV shows; the ones I watched when I was a child. My recent obsession is watching old episodes of Emergency!. It’s kind of corny, but I have good memories of playing Emergency! with my grade school friends.


My family recently signed up for a Netflix account, after having been without a DVD rental membership anywhere for years. I wanted to be able to supplement our homeschool curriculum with relevant movies throughout the year, and movie rentals (besides Redbox) are pretty expensive.

On the surface, Netflix isn’t super frugal. The cost is $8.99 a month if you want to have one DVD out at a time and $13.99 a month for 2. But if you watch a lot of movies, it’s a good deal, and here’s why. Netflix offers unlimited streaming of movies to your computer. So if you sign up for the $8.99 plan, you not only get one DVD sent to your house at a time, but you can stream multiple movies every day!

If you want to step it up a notch, you can stream movies to your TV by buying a $99 box that works with Netflix. You add movies to your queue in your Netflix account, and when you turn on your Roku box, you can select a movie to watch from those in your queue. I think that’s a pretty good option for the serious movie watcher. It’s certainly cheaper than the premium cable movie channels!

Technology has sure come a long way, when it comes to home entertainment. And I, for one, am glad for the options!

Are there any frugal TV and movie watching sites that I’ve missed? Let me know!

Photo by Luke Wisley.