5 cheap movie-renting alternatives

While I am not much a TV watcher, Linda and I do watch quite a few movies. But thankfully innovation and technology has driven down the prices of renting movies over the last few years. Between Netflix and Redbox all the rules in movie-renting have changed. The days of driving to Blockbuster and paying $4-$5 to rent a movie are pretty much gone.

Mint.com recently released an interesting study showing the varying prices of movie-watching. It’s no surprise that Redbox is the big winner. It is not the best comparison between all the options, but that doesn’t change the fact that for most casual movie-watchers Redbox is a great option.

cheap movie renting VHSLow cost movie-renting alternatives


Redbox and MovieCube get frequent visits by us. Each are located in our local grocery stores and with new releases for a $1 a day, it is one of my favorite ways to get a cheap movie. The beauty of the business model is that they know many people will not return the movie after 1 day or even 10 days. So, don’t get punished by paying $10 to rent a Redbox movie, bring it back the next day, pay your $1 and use Redbox to your advantage!


I just recently found out about this one, but every week iTunes has a couple movies that you can rent and watch via the internet for 99 cents. My hope is that they expand this selection in the future, but it is a good start. If you are willing to pay a little more, they have thousands of other movies that you can rent from $2.99 to $4.99.


I wrote about Hulu.com and a few other options in an article titled Free & legal TV and movies online a while back. It turns out that the internet is finally starting to become a viable source for watching TV and movies. Although not yet perfect, it is well on it’s way. Warning: While I like the clean movie selection options that Hulu offers, they don’t always do a good enough job of only listing their “kid-safe” content.

The library

The county library just doesn’t get the respect they deserve. While they seem to be consistently behind the times, they aren’t too far behind.  My local library has many hundreds of fairly new releases that are, of course, available to rent for free. They allow patrons to rent up to 5 of them at a time. They also have a lot of interesting documentaries that you probably wouldn’t find with other movie-renting options.


While not quite as cheap as the other options, if you are a movie-watching fiend, Netflix.com might be the most cost-effective option. In case you aren’t aware, they are subscription mail-based service that allows you to rent the DVDs via the mail. They have packages starting as low as $4.99/month and offer a free trial for those who want to test the water before jumping in.

Ready to Quit Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck?

Just click to join 225,000+ others and take our FREE email course to better manage your money, pay off debt, and save!

Related Articles:

  1. Obi

    I really think you should dig deeper into Hulu’s new program for Mac and Pc called Hulu desktop. Works very well, high quality and you don’t need a browser for it.

    • Bob

      Obi and Luke,
      Great suggestions, I will take a looksy!

  2. Luke

    My wife and I have become fans of archive.org. They have lots of old movies and old TV series’ on there for free.

  3. Jason @ One Money Design

    Bob, we use Blockbuster’s mail rental program which is similar to Netflix. I’m surprised you didn’t mention this well known option. Perhaps in your research it didn’t fit the title and I need to look at the other options you laid out here. Thanks for the informative post.

  4. Bible Money Matters

    We use several of the services you mentioned. We use Redbox when we want to rent a new release but don’t want to wait a few days for it to arrive from netflix. We use netflix (both streaming video and physical DVDs) to queue up movies we want to watch, as well as some new releases. Netflix’s streaming options through xbox or other media players are getting better and better as well.

    We also use a software called Playon – that allows you to stream netflix, hulu, and a variety of other online video services to your TV using a Xbox or other compatible console or media player. Cheap video content is possible!

  5. Torance

    I am such a be fan of the redbox. Me and my family love it and we always get the movies back on time!..lol

  6. Jesse

    I covered some of the same topics on my recent post about ditching cable. Its funny how this has become such a popular topic this last month 😉

  7. Holly Mann

    I would DEFINITELY go with Netflix. I have a great setup at my home, because I also enjoy watching movies. For a while, I didn’t have cable or satellite television, so this is what I did (and I NEVER go to Blockbuster or rent from Redbox, because I think this is cheaper). I think people who rent from Redbox end up paying just as much, if not more, than they’d pay if renting from Blockbuster because they keep it longer than a day. That’s just my opinion.

    Personally, I pay $9.99 a month for netflix. With Netflix, I can pick DVDs and they send them out to me. Then after I am done, I send it back in and get more. But I also purchased ROKU – a box which allows me to watch any Netflix videos I put in my instant queue, on my television. So I login to Netflix, pick shows and movies and then turn my TV on to watch them straight on there. It costs just a one-time payment of about $90 dollars for the ROKU, then you can use it without paying any extra fees with netflix. I think it saves me a lot of money -as I used to rent from Blockbuster. I also live far from the city (rural area) and I don’t have time to drive to a Redbox and back.


    I love Netflix! To cut back on expenses my husband and I ditched the basic satellite services that we were paying $55 per month for and enrolled with Netflix for the plan that allows us to have one DVD at a time and unlimited viewing of whatever is available online for instant viewing. Since my husband has an Xbox 360 it is possible for us to stream for instant viewing. There are TV series such as McCleod’s Daughters and Legend of the Seeker that we had never heard of and thoroughly enjoy.

  9. bob

    The best thing to do is search online where you can find free watching of movies rather than renting them. There are a lot of resources online that is FREE of charge.

  10. Will Rely

    The most unfortunate thing about Netflix is that they openly go out of their way to cater to the homosexual community. If you go to their website to browse their catalog of rentals you will see they have a major category “Gay & Lesbian”. If we use Netflix, then our dollars are rewarding them with profits and enabling them to continue. Is there not a company that gives us a more moral alternative?

  11. Ruschel Ernacio

    I agree with Branden with the Amazon Video on Demand,it is also a great way to watch movies. Internet is becoming the one stop source of most people but we must use it in right way.

Speak Your Mind