Shopping 
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Netflix “Throttling” DVDs

This has been big news in the DVD movie rental world and it looks like Netflix just got a huge black eye with word of its latest changes to its terms of use. This harmless looking statement was added:

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service…

What that means is that heavy renters will be penalized. It has gotten so big, it made it’s way to the front page of CNN!

Everytime a Netflix customer rents a movie, it costs Netflix a minimum of 78 cents (postage) and so the ones who rent the fewest represent the greatest profit for the company. Well about two to three years ago, Netflix users began noticing that they were getting fewer and fewer DVDs and that different renters were being treated differently.

Check out www.dvd-rent-test.dreamhost.com and you’ll see someone’s analysis of listed DVD wait times for people in the same family.

So when they say “unlimited” they really mean “unlimited if you don’t push them to the limit.”


 Free 
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Free Redbox DVD Rentals

This site lists the most updated Redbox free rental promo codes.

Latest Codes (3/28) – Remember to use a different credit card and you can use codes several times:

  • DVDONME
  • SDSJK47
  • REDBOX (new customers only)
  • DVDATWAG (Walgreens RedBox’s only)

Until tonight I’ve never had a chance to check out the Redbox DVD Rental service, those red DVD vending machines found in some MacDonald’s franchise locations and even some grocery stores. Its basically a vending machine for DVD movies, you select one from an easy to navigate touch screen, put in your credit card and out comes a movie. The rentals are $1+tax each day and if you keep a movie for more than 25 days, you keep it forever. It’s a pretty slick system with a nice touch screen interface that’s really easy to use (huge touch screen buttons) and it vends out a simple white plastic case with only the DVD inside (with a special bar code).

How does Redbox compare to Netflix? I think it’s better. With each of those you pay a monthly subscription fee, send in your movies (or with Blockbuster you can swap them at a retail location), and watch a limited number of movies a week. With Redbox, you pay $1 each night. You want 15 movies? $15. You want 1? $1. The only weakness is in selection and how unpredictable that can be but for the price, I’m willing to accept that. Plus, as you’ll see in a minute, with promotion codes I’ve never paid for a movie (except when I was late returning it, which cost me a whole dollar!) rental.

One thing to remember is that you can only use one code per credit card, so you can use DVDONME as many times as you have credit cards. I would also recommend writing down all the codes in the event that one of them isn’t active in your geographic region.

Let me know if you know of any codes or if one of the ones listed above is invalid. Here is a list of their locations and a Redbox finder.


 Frugal Living 
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Understanding “Trimmables,” or, Purposeful Saving

What is a trimmable? It’s something you’re paying for on a monthly basis that you could remove and it would not negatively impact your life. A gym membership is not a trimmable, unless you don’t actually go to the gym. A Netflix account is a trimmable. A gym membership you don’t actually use is a trimmable. And guess what? You only need to cut your trimmable temporarily until you earn enough money to achieve your goal. Understanding your trimmables can be the secret to buying whatever you want.

I know this sounds like a very basic idea – that’s because it is. The beauty of it is that you can cut a trimmable temporarily to save up enough to buy what you want. Do you want one of those new iPod nano’s? Let’s say you have a $15 Netflix membership… all you need to do is to cut it for 17 months and that iPod nano could be yours. Seventeen months sounds too long? Find yourself another trimmable of $5 and you cut down that time to twelve and a half. If you scrounge up $40 in trimmables, you get that iPod nano in six months. Find $50? You get it in five.

List all your monthly payments and see what you can do without for a few months. Don’t cut out things that drastically improve your quality of life (cell phones, gym memberships) but look for things you can really do without (most will be entertainment related) such as an Netflix membership and you will be able to buy whatever it is your heart desires. Remember, you will only need to suspend that trimmable temporarily and it’s for a purpose, such as buying a widget or going on a vacation.

You’ll find it’s easier to cut that trimmable when you’re working towards something. Want to go on a cruise? Save a little extra, trim a little extra, and you’ll see that vacation getting a little closer. Add on the fact that you can use a credit card and get a 1 month grace period and that little goal is that much closer. Set your sights and trim something!


 Shopping 
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Does Netflix Save You Money?

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.


 Reviews, The Home 
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Making Sense of Mail-Order DVD Services

I originally wrote this at the beginning of February 2005 and this is a semi-major update to the original, please let me know if I messed things up or if you have your own opinions you’d like to share.

First, Netflix burst on the scene with a totally different business plan – let folks borrow movies via mail and keep them as long as they want. You charge a monthly fee based on how many DVDs they want at a time and you pay the shipping each way for the disc. Sounds horrible! Mail is so slow! But people bought into it and slowly, as distribution sites increased in number… bam! DVDs come in a couple days instead of a week. Gone are the complaints of slow mail-times and in come the competitors. I’ve personally used Netflix and I think it’s a great service with quick turnaround times and a huge inventory of movies.

But let’s compare the Big Three Two (Walmart cancelled their program and now offer Netflix) players in mail-order DVD rentals… Netflix vs. Blockbuster vs. Walmart.

(Click to continue reading…)


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