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Does Netflix Save You Money?

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Whether you use Netflix, Blockbuster Online, Peerflix, or any of the other multitude of online DVD rental services you should asking yourself if you are really saving any money. Geektronica is sharing an excel spreadsheet he’s created to help figure out whether he’s actually saved any money by using Netflix (he claims he’s saving $6.89/mo. given a couple caveats). I don’t use Netflix because I don’t rent any movies (I prefer to be gouged by the theater) but if you’re interested it’s a simple little spreadsheet.

Caitlin from Clutter2Cash also did a similar analysis.

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Does Netflix Save You Money?”

  1. That spreadsheet doesn’t figure in time, gas or possible late fees (not every Blockbuster participates in the ‘no more late fees’ scam). We probably break even at best in terms of straight up cost, but save on gas and I’m also willing to pay something for the convenience.

  2. jim says:

    Geektronica admitted it was overly simplistic and does ignore gas and time costs but I think as a quick snapshot and with Netflix-provided historic information, it gives you a good idea if you’re egregiously choosing the wrong option…

  3. Geektronica says:

    It also points out times you’ve done something goofy like keep a movie for 45 days…we realized that it’s suicidal to loan movies to friends. It’d go like this:
    1. friend comes over after we’ve watched movie, but before we’ve sent it back
    2. We talk about movie and tell friend how great it is
    3. We let friend borrow movie
    4. Friend keeps movie forever and gives it to another friend
    5. Movie gets mailed back after 5 weeks

    The variables are different for everyone, as all the Lifehacker commenters pointed out in many ways.

    Thanks for the link! For the record, it only looks simple because I combined everything into just a few columns. Read the formula in Column B and see if you think it’s simple :) .

  4. jim says:

    Haha, I didn’t mean simple as a pejorative… simple as in… easy to understand and use. :)

  5. Hmmm… I’m saving $8.58/month – this despite having kept one movie for 42 (!) days, and a couple other for 20-some days. We’re usually pretty good about returning them faster, though.

  6. Matt says:

    Always good to have more data. But for me, the Netflix choice is less about saving money than about enhancing convenience. In order to use Blockbuster, I’d have to leave the house again after I come home from work, drive through heavy traffic, and deal with people during the hours of the day when my emotional state is least suitedto dealing with people. If I want the movies returned the night before to be _on the shelves_ again, I’d have to wait several hours longer than that, returning home just as I’m about to pass out from exhaustion, and losing an entire day of my rental period to timing issues. With Netflix, I can do queue maintanance and new rental selection during breaks at work, and the movies come to me, instead of forcing me to go to them like with Blockbuster. (It’d be nice if mail delivery happened in the middle of the night, so my new deliveries would be ready when I get home from work, but at least with Netflix I’m not _paying_ for the day’s delay that those timing issues cause.)

  7. Kyle says:

    I had both blockbuster online and netflix. the chart showed the blockbuster onlien was cheaper than netflix (faster turnourd and they slow you to 15 rentals plus two in-store vs netflix slowing you to 12 per month. blockbuster online now has more foriegn and uncut flicks than netflix

  8. Caitlin says:

    I too was inspired by Geektronica’s spreadsheet and did my own analysis. In my version I added comparisons to the other Netflix levels (their lowest is only 9.99 a month for one DVD out at a time) which will be posted soon (when i make up my mind which one to drop to) For me, I agee with Matt…its not primarily about saving money vs a brick and mortar rental place…but the convenience. Now I am just trying to find the sweet spot between convenience AND savings :)

  9. Caitlin says:

    Thanks for the link Jim!

  10. Rich says:

    I don’t use Blockbuster any more because they only seem to have widescreen-formatted DVD’s, and I don’t plan to buy a widescreen TV ANY TIME in the next couple of years. It’s good to hear all the commentary about Netflix!

  11. carole says:

    Our family is a bunch of serious movie mavens.
    Netflix, at less that $20 a month is one of the best entertainment deals going. we get movies from any era, and so far, we have not asked for a movie that neflix didn’t have.
    It’s a great deal, if a lot of your entertainment is “Dinner and a Movie” for extended family at your house.


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