Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Money Saver: How I get free DVDs - what do they really cost me?

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I find spending $18.95 or even $12.95 far too expensive on a DVD that might only be watched once or twice.

In the spirit of frugality and household economy I took up the challenge to find the cheapest possible way to obtain inexpensive DVDs.

This is what I came up with (in order of expense):

  1. Buy used DVDs on www.half.com (I choose to only buy DVDs < $5.00).
  2. Rent DVDs from the public library (usually $1.00 - $1.50 each, some are free).
  3. Buy used DVDs at garage sales (very hit or miss, often $1-$2)
  4. Sometimes Craigslist will offer used Children's DVDs very cheaply.
  5. Make my own DVDs

Here is how I get free DVDs, I make them for my personal use:

  1. Buy a DVD Recorder - Walmart sells them as cheaply as $100 now, check out the ilo.
  2. Buy blank DVD's - they can be bought very cheaply from www.supermediastore.com, probably about $0.25 each.
  3. Schedule a recording. Since I record commercial free DVDs for my children, I usually record either a 2 hour swath of Noggin or play videos I had already recorded on the DVR / Tivo.
  4. Put DVDs in cases that can be cheaply bought from Costco (in-store).

And there you are.

Now here's a spreadsheet showing the cost.

Wow!!! Incredible, after all that work the cost is $4.20 per DVD.

Now if you make lots of DVDs, the cost will certainly go down.

I really focus on recording PBS children's shows for my children to watch. They are commercial free -- children are so vulnerable to commercials. I don't mind the price in exchange for the convenience. We can take a portable DVD player travelling or in the car and watch better quality video entertainment that way.

All in all, if you want a permament recording, making your own DVD is cheaper than buying used ones via mail. Also, you have control of the content. However, unless you make quite a few, it won't be only $0.29 per blank DVD.

Then again, you might argue that you would normally be subscribing to premium channels anyway so that shouldn't be part of the cost.

Have a great Monday,

Making Our Way

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