Movie Theater, Rentals, Cable or Free TV?

by Kelly · 16 comments

in Living Frugally

I was first introduced to the concept of frugality, like so many others, by the Tightwad Gazette. I found the books just when the newsletter was stopped, but the books were enough!

One of the things I remember the most was a mock quiz about watching movies. Amy asked which you would do: watch the latest blockbuster in the movie theater with a full tub of popcorn the week of its release, rent it 6 months later on DVD, watch it 9 months later on cable or wait until it was broadcast for free on the local station, commercials and all, two years later.

I remember feeling so frugal because I opted for the option of renting! “Only $3;” I said to myself! But now I’ve changed my answer… or at least modified it slightly.

Today I’d chose: wait until it comes out on free TV. Then fall asleep halfway through!

What would you choose?


1 me in millions September 23, 2009

Get it from Netflix when it comes out! I consider the $9 a month I spend on Netflix to more than pay for itself. I rarely go to the movies anymore. I can see at least 4 movies for what I would pay to see one movie in the theaters. Once I hear about a movie that sounds interesting I add it to my queue and then it magically appears at my house once it makes its way to DVD. Love Netflix!!!
.-= me in millions´s last blog ..Financial Atonement =-.

2 Meegan September 23, 2009

LOL! I would pick your now modified version as well – if I too could stay awake long enough to see a whole movie!
.-= Meegan´s last blog ..Proof is in the second baking =-.

3 Negotiate September 23, 2009

I also would chose the TV movie, but now I would TIVO it without the commercials!
.-= Negotiate´s last blog ..Negotiating for Moms =-.

4 ipek September 23, 2009

I think it actually depends on how happy it makes you.. for my part I wouldn’t mind seeing it 5 years later..whereas my otherwise super frugal boyfriend would be depressed if he didn’t see it in the movie theatre on the day it’s released, because cinema is his biggest interest..

5 Nancy September 23, 2009

It depends on the movie. Some movies are just better on the big screen. We don’t go as often as we would like because it is just too expensive for a family of 4. When we do go, it’s a production! A family date! We still try to be as frugal as possible though (is it?) — matinee, take in our special movie candy (in my purse), purchase 2 drinks to be shared.

We also do Netflix. $9/mo. and we can easily do 5 movies per month. A much cheaper version than the theatre.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..on the menu =-.

6 Miguel de Luis September 23, 2009

Watching a movie in the theater is reserved for the best, awesome movies, specially those that make intense use of visual effects. If it’s a drama or comedy that makes no use of special effects then I rent it (or go to the library where you can get them for free) On TV? Not really, it takes too much time

7 Craig September 23, 2009

If it’s a movie I want to see I go see it. It is different watching the movie in theaters and it’s the whole experience of it and a night activity.

8 Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog September 23, 2009

I think it depends… if I really want to see it, I’ll go right away to the theater, but as a week or two pass I’ll usually forget about the movie all together. Usually, I end up watching most movies on DVD with friends that have Netflix accounts. I can’t do the tv-movie- I’m a chronic channel flipper!
.-= Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog´s last blog ..Dollar Store Halloween Dinner Party =-.

9 Karen September 24, 2009

We attend, as a family, only 1 or 2 movies a year in theaters. The rest we check out from the Library. I am very familiar with our library and have figured out a way to get on the hold list as soon as the library puts it in their system

10 Amiyrah September 24, 2009

Since I’ve been able to get free movie tickets from, we were able to see all of the summer blockbusters that we wanted to see this year. Movies are a big part of our family, so I made sure to find ways for us to see these for free or cheap. I also get movie gift cards from mypoints, so that takes care of popcorn, IF we want it. I usually make sure we eat a big meal before we go.

If we do miss a good movie, we wait until redbox releases a free movie code and use that to rent.
.-= Amiyrah´s last blog ..Quotable Wednesday =-.

11 My Frugal Miser September 24, 2009

Does your community have a dollar theatre? I’m fortunate enough to have one, and I’ve noticed with the recession that it’s parking lot is packed, especially on weekends. Most of the blockbusters (and many of the less popular films) make it to the dollar theatre. That way, you get the experience of seeing it on the big screen. Sure, I’m spending a buck, but the experience is worth it. AND, I turn everything off in the house before I go, so I do save a little electricity.
.-= My Frugal Miser´s last blog ..The First Step: Assess Your Situation =-.

12 zomg September 24, 2009

I don't watch TV or movies in the theatre. I go out of my way to find free movies, music, and TV shows online. has some free Bollywood movies (100% legal) with English Subtitles. I really liked Swades. I watch family guy and american dad on too.

Anyways, if you're really cheap, you can find good stuff online that's both free and legal.
.-= zomg´s last blog ..Free Jazz Sampler from Amazon =-.

13 Sheila September 27, 2009

We go to the drive-in in the summer, it is $15 for our family of 5 to get in and they show 2 movies, but we usually get movies from the public library; you can’t get any cheaper than free! If it is a new DVD that we can’t wait to see, we will rent it from redbox for $1.

14 Lawrence October 2, 2009

I’d always prefer to save a buck and watch a movie at home but I really enjoy going to the movie theater. The experience is so much better in my opinion. I just do my best to avoid the popcorn and soda. Avoiding the junk food is my answer.

15 Comcast Cable Deals October 19, 2009

Each has its own niche.With friends theater is better, with family sometimes home is better to watch a movie.

16 Comcast Deals May 19, 2010

I would choose to get it from netflix.

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