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Just canceled Netflix…trimming the budget fat

by Debt Destroyer on August 26, 2008

:(

It was a sad day here at the Debt Defier household. We just canceled our Netflix account. We were already on the lowest plan available, so it’s not really a huge money saver. But as mentioned earlier the little things can add up, especially the ones that are a total waste.

And that is what Netfix has been to us for over a year.

We started out loving it. 3 movies at a time, no late fees. Friday, Saturday & Sunday night all turned into Movie Night! When the mail man would deliver our movies the house filled with excitement. I filled up our queue with triple feature themes. One weekend was a Hitchcock weekend, the next was documentaries, the following was chick-flicks. It was great!

But then the novelty wore off, and we got busy.

We might only get to one movie in a weekend instead of three, or perhaps we went out of town and god forbid, didn’t watch any movies at all!!!

But the real killer was my wife becoming a wedding photographer.

I won’t expound on it to much in this post, but there’s a lot more to being a wedding photographer than people think. Especially when you’re still working a day job and starting a family at the same time.

A smart person would’ve canceled his membership then. But I was hooked!

I loved my queue, I loved seeing the recommendations I’d get from my friends, but most of all I loved rating movies. In a very short time I rated 1200+ movies. To show you how pathetic I was, I’d come home from work and do it during my lunch hour. Finally I stopped that, but I could bring myself to cut the Netflix cord completely.

Until today.

I was just going to put membership on hold, until I reviewed our rental history. At first it was a fun walk down memory lane, remembering all the films we watched. My wife even got in the act by recalling some of her favorites (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Door in the Floor, & The Notebook). But the fun turned to despair when I noticed the return dates. Since January 2007 we had only returned/rented…10 movies.

10 movies in 20 months. 10 movies for $100. $10 a movie.

We were probably Netflix’s favorite customers. We were where movies were sent to become profitable.

I can’t believe I didn’t cancel sooner. I’ve been talking about it for months. But we all know that talk is cheap, I guess not as cheap as $4.95 month, but it’s still pretty worthless. Well no more!

I hit cancel and and I feel good. Sure it’s tough when an era comes to an end, but we’ll just have to get our movie fix elsewhere. Like the local rental shop where you can get 5 movies for 5 days, for $5. We took advantage of that deal after my wife gave birth (even while Netflix subscribers). Maybe this Thanksgiving we can catch up on some films that were languishing on my queue these past couple of years.

We have one more Netfilx movie to watch, one that has been sitting on our TV for months, Eastern Promises. I sure hope it’s good, because I could’ve bought a couple of copies for as long as we’ve had it.

Goodbye Netflix, I’ll miss you…perhaps we’ll meet again.

Since misery loves company, how about you share some of the things that you have sacrificed in the name of “living like no one, so later you can live like no one.”

I understand that this is a small sacrifice, but like Dave Ramsey says, “Baby steps.”

Until next time,

-DD

P.S. In the near future I’ll be reporting a much larger sacrifice we’ve decided to make. But I’ll wait to discuss that after I’ve had proper time to mourn the loss of my queue.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

solfest August 26, 2008 at 10:54 pm

We have tried to go without cable but can’t get the rabbit ears to pick up anything. :)

So we have only basic cable, no frill telephone package, pay and talk cell phone.

However we could live without tv or cell couldn’t we?

Two vehicles, could we live with one?

There are many areas to cut costs, why does it get harder as we get older?

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Sid Savara August 26, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Alas poor Netflix

We came to a similar conclusion regarding our netflix account, and we dropped it after a couple months.

Another sacrifice I’ve made is I stopped buying books just because they were in the bargain bin at Borders/Barnes and Noble/etc. $5 a book added up over time, but more than that I just have all this clutter – literally dozens of books I bought that I haven’t cracked open yet! Slowly working through that backlog.

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JBO August 27, 2008 at 6:46 am

I use a similar service here in the UK. It is great but unless you religiously watch more than 4 films in a month it doesn’t pay to use it.

I go through phases – being a busy man and all – some months I may watch 6 – other months I may watch one – I like the service and for now I will keep it but sometimes I wonder how much money I chuck away doing things like this.

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Sharon August 27, 2008 at 8:57 am

We just cancelled Netflix, E-Meals (a menu service on-line) and weight watchers on-line. These didn’t amount to much individually, but added up together came to about $45 a month. I will keep my DVR and cable, as we do enjoy it, but I, too, am looking for other ways to cut “monthly” costs. I would so love to give up the cell phone….but I was out voted 5 – 1.

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Joshua from Debt Aim August 27, 2008 at 9:03 am

We cancelled ours after the same time of situation…. we just werent using it and the novelty wore off….. We were also on the cheapest plan, but we decided we just needed to cancel it… at the rate we were watching movies, it really would be cheaper to just use blockbuster.

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Ed August 27, 2008 at 10:38 am

Good for you! Sometimes you have to make tough decisions for the greater good. I’d be interested to hear how and what you are doing with all of your new “free” time. I went years without watching Hollywood trash. Even good movies are time eaters.
I think that you’ll be much more productive without the Netflix ball and chain.

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OneFamilysBlog August 27, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Smart Move! You might consider reactivating your accounts with Netflix and/or BlockBuster on an as-needed basis (probably once or twice a year). Below is a link to a post on a blockbuster trial we did earlier this year:

http://www.onefamilysblog.com/2008/06/blockbuster-online-movie-rentals-user.html

Regards,
ofb

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The First Creditor August 27, 2008 at 7:34 pm

When these mailer movie programs became popular a few years back, I absolutely fell in love. But as I watched movie after movie, I realized my movie watching was slowly turning into a second job. I quickly canceled my subscription. But to name some of my own sacrifices? The biggest superficial one must be eating out. That one is the toughest for me.

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shela August 27, 2008 at 11:25 pm

I gave up using rice beverage for cooking my rolled oats in the morning, and I now just use water. I cut down the amount of berries and the amount of honey I use, too. My bowl of breakfast oats serves as a daily reminder of my goal of fiscal fitness.

Lucky me, I hate television programs and do not like going to movies (cold theaters, icky buttered popcorn smell, and noisy people). I have only basic prepaid cell phone service, which I use sparingly these days, so there is a bit of savings there.

I don’t eat out much, either. Not just for the expense. It is really difficult in my area to find places that serve vegan dishes.

I am keeping my book club service (with bomc2), as all the books are $9.99 (with free shipping), and many of the books in my queue are for gifts for specific people.

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Scott @ The Passive Dad August 28, 2008 at 12:43 am

When you use something for awhile, then the novelty wears off and you get busy. Happened to me and my gym membership. I went faithfully every day after work, and then kids came along and I stopped going everyday. Soon I was paying $30 a month for a membership I never used. Great job trimming netflix out of your budget. I can’t wait to read what else you trimmed. Very motivating!

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The First Creditor August 28, 2008 at 6:12 pm

I forgot to mention this in my original comment. The new phenomenon in the movie rental industry; Redbox. You usually see these large red vending machines at grocery stores or McDonald’s, and for $1 you get a movie for a night. You have to pay by credit/debit card and you pay a dollar a night for as many days as you keep it, up to two weeks. You can go to their website and sign up for a special promotion where they text to your phone, on a weekly basis, a code for a free movie but it is only good for that day (I get these free movie texts, every monday and wednesday, funny though I never seem to use them). But if you don’t like this convenience, the good news is that they are giving Blockbuster a run for their money and have forced them into offering 99c one night rentals. Mark one for the consumer! What’s that make the score now, big business 754, consumers 6?

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Mrs. Accountability September 2, 2008 at 11:43 am

This is what companies like Netflix bet on, people who keep paying $5/month but not using the service. I’m guilty of doing the same kind of things… I actually just posted a couple of days ago about my old Geocities website that I started paying $4.95/month at least two years ago, because I wanted to download the site using FTP (in the beginning they allowed it, but then they forced us to upload or download using their tool which only allows a few files at a time). I’d planned to rework the site and move it to my personal domain, but never got around to it, thinking at least $5 was peace of mind that GeoCities wouldn’t delete my stuff (if you don’t make monthly update when on the free plan they say they’ll delete the site). Stupid! But I just got a notice that they are going to start charging $6.95/month so that finally whipped me into action. I moved the files and did a bit of work on the site, and now I just have to figure out how to go back to free so they’ll stop charging me each month.

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MoneyBeagle September 3, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Yikes, you definitely made the right move here. I have had a Netflix subscription for quite a while now and I still feel it’s a value. I’m now on the $9 plan where you get one movie at a time, with unlimited movies per month. We have averaged about 3 or 4 movies a month, keeping the average price per movie in the $2.50 – $3 range. For awhile, I used to get and watch so many movies that I was averaging under $2 a movie! As long as I’m still getting use out of it, I think it’s a good deal. Plus, having Netflix let me reduce my cable premium channels, saving me $30 per month. So, I figure I’m still ahead.

Great post!

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John (Debt Defier) September 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Great Comments!!!

@solfest – You just described how we live. Rabbit ears, one vehicle, and a prepaid Cell (for wife’s business).

@Sid – i hear ya on the pile-up of books causing clutter. 3 Christmas’s ago I got a bunch of books for gifts, and and only half way through. I’ve since started to request itunes gift cards :)

@ JBO – See if your service lets you put it on hold during the slow times. I wish I did this.

@ Sharon – Yup, everything adds ups quick. We don’t have a home cell, because of the expense.

@ Joshua – Glad to hear I’m not the only one.

@ Ed -The problem is I don’t think I’ll be much more productive, since I hardly had time to watch movies.

@ ofb – I’ll probably do the Blockbuster trial, but I when I canceled netflix, they told me I couldn’t sign up for another free trial with them.

@ First Creditor – I’ve heard of redbox. But it’s not in my area. :(

@ shela – Those are great ways to save.

@ Scott – I’ve done the gym thing ages ago. used it at first, then it slowly phased it way out of my life.

@ Mrs Accountability – Isn’t it funny that something as small as $2/month can motivate us to action.

@ MoneyBeagle – Good for you. I’d say you are still ahead.

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Tom September 5, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Everybody says the service is great for Redbox, Netflix, etc. Why even pay in the first place? Went to my local library branch, signed up for a free account, and can check out dvds for FREE for up to 2 weeks. Costs me nothing and they have a great selection that I can reserve online!

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Tammy Brackett September 10, 2008 at 7:53 pm

I dropped Netflix a long time ago. I’ve found my local library has a great selection of movie DVDs with a two week check out. I also recently discovered I could order newly released books by simply asking the librarian. There’s usually a three week wait, but when one is frugal one is also REALLY patient! I love books and I buy them at my local thrift mart for fifty cents for paperbacks and a buck for hardback books. Sometimes, after they’re gently read, I’ll sell them at half.com.
BTW- found you through Frugal Dad! I enjoy connecting with others who understand and appreciate the frugal way!

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Tanya September 10, 2008 at 8:15 pm

I need to drive 8 miles to the nearest Blockbuster to get a movie. To return the movie takes another 16 mile trip. So, two gallons of gas later, Netflix is a bargain for me. I put it on hold for the summer months and can watch again in the winter.
My daughter has her own account and watches 6 movies a week, sometimes 9. Definitely get our money worth.
I would give up basic cable and Netflix before giving up my internet.

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