Monday, February 9, 2009

Family Movie Night - The Frugal Way!

We’ve started a relatively new tradition of having a family movie night on Sunday nights. The promise of a movie is good incentive for me to get supper on the table early and, more importantly, for the kids to get bathed and don their PJs without a peep of protest. It’s a nice way to make us look forward to the end of the weekend as much as we do the beginning of it. The challenge, however, has become finding free or nearly free family movies to watch each week. Although we’ve done Netflix in the past, we found that we simply didn’t watch enough movies to make it worth it. If you have a service like Netflix or Blockbuster online, you’re already set. But if not, here is a short list of movie sources that you may want to check out if you haven’t already:

1. Your local library – Our library has a modest selection of DVDs for checkout. There are several oldies in the family section (for the sake of simplicity, I’m counting anything more than 2 years old as an oldie). They also have a constant trickle of new titles coming in so it’s worth checking back if we don’t find something we like one particular week.

2. Your TV! – Sounds obvious, right? But if you have even basic cable like we do, you can often find good family movies playing. If you do a quick search at the beginning of the week, you can always record something for later in the week.

3. Online - is an excellent site full of current television shows and old favorites, with a few full-length movies thrown in for good measure, all absolutely free for the watching.

4. Redbox – If you’ve got a redbox location nearby, it’s a great source of cheap movies. All the movies are a buck (plus tax), and the boxes are usually located in highly frequented areas like grocery stores, Walmarts, and McDonalds. To make a good deal even sweeter, go online and sign up to get a free movie rental code. Once you sign up, you’ll get regular emails with free movie codes. If you’re willing and able to move movie night to Mondays, you could score a free rental almost every week by doing this!

5. Half-price Books - If you're lucky enough to have a half-price books in your neighborhood like I do, you need to check out their clearance movies. Our store regularly rotates the movies in this section, and I've nabbed countless family movies for $1, cheaper than cost of renting it from most places! Of course, if books are your weakness as they are mine, you might want to bring your kids along to discourage browsing the book aisles...

6. The Great Movie Swap – Why not suggest a movie swap with your friends, family, or neighbors who have kids? Not only will you get to watch movies for free, your kids will love selecting and trading movies with their friends for the night. And while you’re at it, maybe you could invite each other over and share movie night sometime. The more the merrier, right?

Know of another great movie source I’ve left off my list? Be sure to chime in and share your insight!

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