Being frugal sometimes requires a bit of extra legwork. OK make that pretty much always requires extra legwork. In keeping with my frugal theme this week, I will now explain my elaborate system for never paying for movie rentals.
First, I used a coupon in my Entertainment Book and signed up for a free year of Blockbuster Rewards. They charge $9.95 a year for the service. I don’t care about the rent five get one free business; but you get a coupon for one free rental a month. I just toss the rest of the stuff out. Next year, when I get my new Entertainment book, I will just sign up again.
Second, I have an account with e-Rewards. The website is here. It’s a survey site, and you are ‘paid’ to take surveys, but you don’t get cash. You ‘buy’ different things with your account. I buy six totally free (not buy one get one) rentals at Blockbuster each year. So does my husband.
OK so now we’re at 24 rentals a year. Remember that we have basic cable – no HBO, TiVO, or Pay Per View. Anything other than our 13 channels and we’re out of luck. Movies are important to us. Also, it allows me one more opportunity to control the advertising content in what my kids watch. I can see you rolling your eyes, so let’s move on.
Next, of course, is the library. Go to Blockbuster.com or IMDB to find out the DVD new releases. Then sign on to your library account online, and search the catalog for the movie. When you find it, place it on hold. Detailed instructions are here. The library won’t have them all, but you will be suprised at how many they do have. Of course you will have to wait until it becomes available, but this past weekend I went to Blockbuster to get “Snow Buddies“, which came out less than a week ago, and they were out. I went home, and in the meantime the library had emailed me a notification that Show Buddies was ready for me to pick up.
One other way to get free rentals at Blockbuster is by making sure to ask for it. If you are looking for a movie that is “Guaranteed In Stock” – and it’s not – you get a coupon for a free rental. You have to use it for that movie, and for that store, but still, it’s free.
If we have used up all of our free coupons and the library holds are backed up, I can offer two “in a pinch” solutions.
One is to sign up for a free trial of Blockbuster Total Access. This is the service where you choose movies on the Blockbuster website, then they are shipped to you. If you cancel before the trial period ends, you don’t pay anything. The nice thing is that for every movie you get in the mail, you can take back to the store (instead of mailing back) and get a free movie. You also get a coupon for a free movie each month with this service. I actually like Total Access, but it’s almost too many movies, and I start to resent them sitting on top of my TV, unwatched.
Second, our credit card has points you can cash in for gift cards. It’s mostly restaurants; none of which we are crazy about so we cash in our points for Blockbuster gift cards. And of course; use a rent one get one free coupon from – you guessed it – the Entertainment Book.
There it is. Extra effort, yes. Free movies every time – totally worth it.