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This is a money saving tip for the 50/50 Challenge.

Cable is Now a Joke

I'm having a hard time seeing how cable television is a reasonable deal. I don't want to keep calling and threatening to switch to keep a promotion going. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I mentioned my thoughts on some alternatives to cable. For our area just getting the basic broadcast deal is around $20/month.

If you're looking for bigger packages it can be around $70/month. If I could pay for the few channels I do enjoy, I'd upgrade. However, the costs are too high for us since we don't watch a ton of television.

Today I'll highlight some deals on keeping your entertainment costs low.

Netflix – Still a Bargain

I was upset like many subscribers when Netflix announced not only were they raising prices, but they were also thinking of spinning off their DVD deliveries.

My husband and I had planned to drop one of the services, but after some consideration, we kept both services. We feel like Netflix is still a good deal.

Streaming doesn't have all the content selection of the DVD deliveries yet and there are some programs we really want to watch.

For us the 1 DVD/Unlimited Streaming option is a great fit. We can wait in between DVD deliveries with streaming content.

NetFlix Plans: Unlimited Streaming + DVDs

If you're interested in signing up for Netflix, here are the current prices for the bundle services (as of November 2011):

  • 1 DVD out at a time with unlimited streaming – $15.98/month
  • 2 DVDs out at a time with unlimited streaming – $19.98/month
  • 3 DVDs out at a time with unlimited streaming – $23.98/month
  • 4 DVDs out at a time with unlimited streaming – $29.98/month

It's much cheaper than cable and we get to watch the shows we want to watch when we want to watch.

Redbox – Get the Codes

Looking for more new releases, than Redbox is a wonderfully cheap option. The have also raised their prices just a tad ($1.20 instead of $1), but it's still a frugal deal.

It's easy to use and if you need a last minute movie before you get home, you can grab some snacks and a DVD at your local grocery store.

Redbox Codes – Make a Great Deal Better

If you have an account with Redbox you can get free Redbox codes sent to you by signing up to receive messages either through your phone or email. It's a win-win in my book.

New Accounts Special

If you haven't tried Redbox yet, here's another reason. New users can get a free online rental. here's how:

  • Create an account
  • Reserve your first movie online
  • Pick up at a kiosk and enjoy
  • Return your rental and get an account credit redeemable online for a free one-night DVD rental

Please remember if you keep the DVD for more than one day, you'll be charged the regular price for the additional time. Try it out and see if Redbox is for you.

Hulu’s Deals

Finally, if you have a reasonable high-speed internet access at home, Hulu is another option for cheap entertainment.

If I missed a current show on television, I check out their site. I use the free option and have a pretty wide selection of network shows to choose from.

With the Plus ($7.99/month), members can get subscription service with the full current season of many TV shows, access to to content on their electronics such as computers, iPod Touch, and TV.

Hulu offers less ads for their shows, but they are still included with a paid subscription.

Thoughts on Keeping Entertainment Cheap

I'm handing it over to you. How do you keep your entertainment reasonable? How much have you saved?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

9 comments add your comment

  1. I have instant Netflix and Hulu Plus. I used to have streaming and DVD but once Netflix split I kept streaming. I just don’t watch that many DVDs. Those two shows subscriptions give me plenty of viewing. I also have an over-the-air HD antenna for broadcast TV. I have done this for the last two years. The average cable/satellite bill is generally $50-$120 I have saved at minimum $900. That’s a 4 day vacation right there.

  2. In my case, cable (through Verizon) isn’t a bad deal after all.

    For internet only, it costs about $50, either through Verizon or through the cable company. However thanks to the intense competition between the cable company and Verizon, plus a discount through my work, I’m now getting phone+tv+internet (FiOS triple play) for $60 with a free DVR for a year. Of course, this is a promotional rate, but I have no doubt that they will extend this rate when I call at the end of first year, which is in January.

    For those interested, the discount program is called Verizon Connections.

    Plus, since we switched to prepaid pay-as-you-go plan for our cell phones, we definitely need a home phone to use in combination with Google Voice.

    • I’m glad you have competition with your cable and internet – it can lead to some big savings. Let me know if you get an extension in January.

    • I really wished cable companies offered more options, like custom subscriptions to channels. Their offerings right now don’t justify the costs.Maybe it’ll change in a few years.

  3. I buy group discount tickets ($6 each) for movies where full price is approaching $12. My wife and I still enjoy an occasional night out with friends with the movie on a big screen in a theater.

  4. I like the BlockBuster total access (like Netflix). My plan is $15/month for 2 DVDs, with options for $10/mo for 1 DVD, and $20/month for 3 DVDs. With this, however, comes free in store rentals. Instead of mailing back a DVD, you take it to BlockBuster and exchange it for a free DVD rental (no return date). They’ll mail another DVD when you return the in store rental. Downside is no streaming and BlockBuster is closing a lot of their brick and mortar stores. BlockBuster also has RedBox type rental machines.

    Also, periodically with a VisaSignature credit card, you can get a 2 for 1 deal on Fandango on Fridays for showings on that same Friday:

  5. totally agree. Have switched to basic cable since forever. the few channels are more than enough. there is always on demand, though this has become scarce lately. We also have Netflix, which is only ok. Not that great of selection for streaming.
    Though as a sports fan and most hockey fan, it close to impossible to follow games by the local teams with cable without spending a ton of $. At first I noticed a sports pack for about $7 a month, which i grabbed right away. But all of a sudden it was turned off. Turns out it was supposed to be only for higher packages. Recently i tried to add another package to my basic channels that has one channel that i wanted to watch. But the local games were blocked by the bigger network. unless going with with $80/month package or subscribing to for twice as much, no local games for me at home.
    anyone know of some great options/alternatives please let me know :)

  6. Where I live now, I pretty much had to get satellite TV or cable just to get good reception for the basic channels, whereas my previous town had great local television just with an antenna. My bill is around $70 per month for Directv, but through their referral program, I’ve been able to pretty much eliminate my bill for the previous year, and now I’m only paying about $30 per month for it altogether. When I first started, I had the movie channels and NFL package for free with my account, so that was nice, but now that they’re gone, we basically get all of our movies from the library for free, since they get new releases right away and you can get an unlimited amount of movies at one time. I’m a big sports and especially racing fan, so I like access to all of the sports channels and Speed, thank goodness the Fox/Directv dispute was resolved.