Are You Overspending on Movies?

by Jackie Cohen on November 29, 2017 · 1 comment

Spending on movies can easily get out of control if you’re impulsive, impatient or simply too lazy to audit your subscriptions.

You might audit your movie-watching habits to see what you might downgrade without feeling too much pain. Then you can steer clear of impulsive purchases.

Save Money on Movies

You could do this gradually by choosing the lower priced of each of the following:

  • Instead of seeing movies in 3D or IMAX, opt for the regular format at theaters;
  • Instead of going to lots of movies at premium prices, resolve to only use a subscription like MoviePass, for a flat fee of $9.99 a month;
  • Instead of seeing everything at the movie theater (where it’s tempting to buy overpriced refreshments) wait for more titles to come out in home viewing formats;
  • Instead of buying movies on Blu-Ray or DVC buy a streaming format;
  • Instead of buying movies, rent them;
  • Instead of renting movies from any service that charges late fees — like RedBox — switch to an online rental that automatically returns the movie for you;
  • Instead of renting movies, wait for them to come out on a streaming service or a premium cable channel;
  • Instead of having subscribed to multiple streaming services and premium cable channels, opt for just one that’s got the most of what you want;
  • Instead of subscribing to a streaming movie service or premium cable channel, cancel and wait for things to come out on regular cable;
  • Instead of subscribing to a premium cable channel, choose a movie streaming service that gives you more choices;
  • Instead of subscribing to paid services for movies, look for free yet legal alternatives (it would be supported by advertisements) like Crackle, PopcornFlixRetrovisionPublic Domain TorrentsVimeo, and YouTube (nonpremium);
  • Instead of subscribing to a large array of cable channels when you only watch a few of them, switch to an a-la-carte streaming television service that lets you cherry pick only the channels you watch — like SlingTV, which starts at just $20 a month;
  • Instead of getting a standalone movie or television subscription, find an offering that’s part of a bundle with internet access and mobile phone services so you can further cut costs.

Decide as a Household

And don’t make this decision alone. Have a conversation with your family or roommates about which movie streaming service or premium cable channel offers the most films and series that everyone in your household wants to see.

In your conversations with your household, take a hard look at which movie services you already have: Are there any that you’re not using? Or is there overlap between them — and if so, can you get rid of any of them?

For instance, if you currently subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu , try to narrow it down to just one service that has the most of what you want:

  • If you’re also a frequent shopper on Amazon, you might want to keep Amazon Prime because that way you also get free shipping.
  • However, if your mobile phone service just so happens to be T-Mobile — or you’re open to switching to that service — then you might be able to get Netflix for free through that service.
  • On the other hand, you might opt for Hulu if your priority is getting to watch current television series without commercials.

You might follow the similar logic in choosing whether to switch from cable TV to an online alternative like YouTube TV (which costs a flat rate of $35) or SlingTV (which has a range of a la carte prices starting at 20).

Although a lot of the newer alternatives to cable TV have lower prices, you don’t end up saving money if you’re subscribed to too many of them. So anytime you consider adding a service, remember to get rid of something you previously had.

Readers, have you audited your movie-watching habits to save money?

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