Sooner or later the Poverty conversation always turns to Netflix. Or Blockbuster or cable television or however you receive at-home entertainment.
Bossy and her husband live very modestly, minus the enormous liquor store bill. They don’t have fancy electronics or state-of-the-art sound systems or new clothes. They don’t go out to eat and they don’t go to the movies.
But Bossy and her husband have two habits that sully their finances: a Netflix membership and cable television. And when Bossy says she and her husband have these habits she means Bossy has these habits, because Bossy hasn’t let anyone near the remote control in nineteen years.
Bossy has been trying to figure out how to address this issue since she began the Poverty Party. In a regular life, Bossy would probably dump both—after all, her daughter only rents movies once a year (on her birthday), and her husband is beholden to the string of documentaries Bossy throws on her Netflix Queue, movies about the Taliban and Cochlear Implants and Motown, although thankfully not all in the same film.
But the truth is Bossy loves staying tapped-into what’s going on through her cable and Netflix memberships. It’s pop culture, after all, and Bossy is purveyor of a pop culture blog. And since Bossy is a freelance writer, these memberships could be considered tax-deductible. But the other truth is, Bossy’s current Netflix membership allows Bossy to receive three movies at a time, when all Bossy really wants to watch is the Bravo television network.
Add to that confusion: whenever Bossy asks her husband about alternate Netflix memberships that could save them some money, Bossy’s husband is always all, “It’s only a few dollars cheaper.”
But then Bossy remembered this is the same man who doesn’t blink before purchasing a bag of Romaine Hearts when it’s not even on the list—so Bossy decided to once again research the various Netflix memberships, and when Bossy says she researched memberships she means she made her husband do it. Again.
Well. It turns out Bossy and her husband were paying $16.99 a month so their rented DVDs could live on top of their TV, unwatched, for weeks at a time.
If Bossy knocks her membership back to two movies at a time, it only costs $13.99 a month—and if Bossy goes for the one-movie-at-a-time plan, it’s only $8.99 per month. So Bossy’s husband was right—it is only a few dollars cheaper: eight dollars cheaper. Otherwise known as $96 dollars a year.
And think of all the wine Bossy could buy with ninety-six dollars!
Check out the (below) list of blogs participating in Bossy’s Poverty Party, and don’t forget to comb the comments for links to the latest Poverty posts across the web.
corrie saysOctober 30, 2008 at 9:49 am
I haven’t made the NetFlix plunge yet… so I am never up to date on the latest rage/trend on pop culture scene.
But the idea of paying for something that I may/may not use really gets my goat. $17 !!! That’s ton of money !! $96 a year !!! That’s alot of cheap wine!!
That’s the solution! Cheap wine!
Alwyn saysOctober 30, 2008 at 10:10 am
Aaah…the Netflix quandry. A regular topic of conversation at our house. We finally decided that we would have the 4 movies at a time plan from October – March, since that’s when we watch more TV. Then, in warmer months, we’d cut down to 1 at a time for the rest of the year. And documentaries…ME TOO!!! I am obsessed with accumulating them in my queue, then when they arrive, I don’t feel like watching them (because invariably, they are DEPRESSING and I’d rather watch a romantic comedy).
Laroux saysOctober 30, 2008 at 10:15 am
I had netflix and loved/hated it. The DVDs ALWAYS sat. unwatched. for a LONG time. I finally had enough and cancelled. THEN I discovered the redbox. if you guys have this in your area, you should check it out… it’s a vending machine that spits out movies. Sometimes the selection is a little limited, but it is only $1/night! I LOVE it and it saves me probably $10 every month.
Cat saysOctober 30, 2008 at 10:33 am
We just upped to 3 movies at a time, so everybody in the family could have something they want to watch,or rather everyone in the family could have something sitting around collecting dust.
vuboq saysOctober 30, 2008 at 10:42 am
Since I don’t have cable, I consider my netflix membership to be my cable. And I partake of my neighbors’ cable for important events like Project Runway!
Maryjo saysOctober 30, 2008 at 10:50 am
Bossy, I must assume that your darling son has a scholarship because if not!!! The above article states that he is going to the 8th most expensive college in the country and that sure is not going to help you with your poverty party.
Lisa saysOctober 30, 2008 at 10:55 am
We had blockbuster, you could have 3 movies at one time..for kids sakes..I finally had to cancel it last week. I totally know it was only $20 a month, and a great source of entertainment for the little ankle biters, but alas..The milk comes first.
Z. Mulls saysOctober 30, 2008 at 11:03 am
It’s very important to have life-altering, mind-expanding, educational documentary-type films sitting on top of your “entertainment center” for weeks, so you can be reminded of how you are failing in life by watching Flipping Out reruns for the third time.
But the real Netflix quandary is the “instant viewing” option. Now you can watch a large quantity of movies right away, as much as you want. Sure, they’re not the first-run films, and some are in limited “instant viewing” status, but you can just fire them up on your laptop. Now while your DVDs gather dust, you can watch the Dixie Chicks doco, the Peter O’Toole movie you never got out to see, and the SLEUTH remake, in bed while your spouse watches Bravo.
(Only works for Windows, but if you have a Mac, you can fire up Windows in a virtual machine, and watch Netflix movies there.)
Brava97 saysOctober 30, 2008 at 11:04 am
My sister-in-law has a Netflix membership. AND she goes to Blockbuster at least once a week. AND she purchases DVDs. AND she wonders where her money is going.
Asthmagirl saysOctober 30, 2008 at 11:10 am
Asthmagirl and her Old Goat pay 8.99 per month to have one movie sitting on the mantel. Last month it was No Country for Old Men. This month it’s Fool’s Gold.
Does anyone else see a pattern there?
Martha in Kansas saysOctober 30, 2008 at 11:26 am
The minute the Farmer abandons the remote at the Farm, the TV turns itself to Bravo. We just can’t understand it. But then the Farmer resumes control and we’re back on safe territory with CNN Headline News (also known as the nap channel).
mrs. g. saysOctober 30, 2008 at 11:58 am
I have given up the booze and the Starbucks, but I will not let go of the Netflix.
JK saysOctober 30, 2008 at 12:20 pm
Redbox movie vending machines…do they have those in a Philly suburb near you? A buck a night. I love it! And you don’t have to return it to the one you rented from. Any ‘ol Redbox movie vending machine will do. They are usually in grocery stores…not near the lettuce hearts but closer to the door, actually. So drink up, Missy!
Stephanie saysOctober 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm
Wow. Talk about coincidence. I was just telling my husband that we need to do the same thing.
9 to 5 saysOctober 30, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Our only entertainment expenses are the internet and cable. I did some research (asked my husband) and apparently we can’t get a cheaper plan, because we are required to have a major league baseball game instantly available at all times. Even times when I’m pretty sure the season is already over (like last night), he will come tearing in from the shed (where there is a radio) run into the living room and turn on the television to a channel where there appears miraculously an instant replay of a home run or some such “important” baseball maneuver.
Also (as Bossy would say): Cesar Milan
Liz saysOctober 30, 2008 at 12:38 pm
This is really funny because I was having this exact dialog with myself last night. I already don’t have cable, but should I lose the Netflix too? Cut down from 2 movies to one? Switch to the Blockbuster plan since there’s a Blockbuster down the street from my new apt?
Did I mention my two movies have been sitting around unwatched for 2 months?
I’m completely undecided. And thus, the movies will probably sit making me feel guilty for another month or so.
K @ The Homestead saysOctober 30, 2008 at 12:45 pm
This is one of our few monthly expenses I DON’T struggle with….. We discovered we were spending over $30/month on movie rentals. AND it is 14 miles round-trip to the store. So we got the 3-at-a-time plan and haven’t looked back. We just finished up season one of “Axmen.” We only get two channels on our tv (rabbit ears… seriously) so we watch a lot of tv on dvd. So far, so good.
Julianne saysOctober 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm
Hey! That Cochlear implant documentary was awesome!
andrea saysOctober 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm
I was going to tell you about the instant watch thing on NetFlix but Z.Mulls beat me to it 🙂
I will say this however, it’f fooking awesome! We spend our three discs at a time on an occasional movie, but lately our Q is all full of King of the Hill seasons 1-11 (we live in Texas and actually KNOW people just like the Hills), and my hubby spends his evenings watching old tv series and movies while I sew….it’s brings a tear to my eye to realize how close NetFlix has brought our little family 😉
I’d give up the liquor before I’d give up my NF!
Northfordy Sue saysOctober 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm
Movies for free: The library! (as long as you return them on time!)
Gina saysOctober 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm
HAAAAAA! we do it too. guilty as charged. we’ve had “Weeds: Season One disc 2” on our shelf for 3 weeks now. real good.
pkzcass saysOctober 30, 2008 at 2:59 pm
I currently have the one movie at a time Netflix plan, but am thinking of upping it to two. It’s awful difficult to watch an R rated movie while my boys are whining about how we never get anything they want to see. And if I use up my one movie on something stupid, like Godzilla (which is what I did this week), then my husband and I are stuck with not much to watch, while the kids watch the movie over and over and over again for three weeks straight.
And here’s a good way to save on cable (and I know this because I live in your area-ish). If you have a hi def TV, then cancel the “standard” or whatever package you are paying ridiculous amounts of money for, and downgrade to “basic” for $13.99 a month. You’ll get the network channels, several PBS, HGTV, TBS, Hallmark, C-Span2, a couple of Hispanic channels, and a few more, and with the hi def, you’ll also get History (yes, really), BRAVO (so you can watch Project Runway), ABC Family for the wee one, MSNBC, the Universal HD channel (our favorite) and those free weekends here and there of HBO and Cinemax. I’m not kidding. If that isn’t enough to keep you entertained, then you’ve got too much time on your hands.
dgm saysOctober 30, 2008 at 3:19 pm
We have the 2-per plan so the kids can watch a DVD as well, but we reeeeeeeally need to dump cable. My kids watch Saturday morning cartoons, but pretty much nothing else the rest of the weekend, and no TV during the week. Hubby and I don’t watch TV unless one of us has insomnia, but that happens maybe once a year (thanks to magnesium, which makes me sleep like a baby). Cable for us is a HUGE waste of $$.
There, I said it. I feel liberated.
NellyFrittata saysOctober 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm
We have the cheapest Netflix plan, 2 movies per month for $4.99. That gives you access to all the Watch Instantly titles for free and there are thousands of them. And you can find some really obscure and crazy stuff when you rummage around in the Watch Instantly lists.
Spotty Dotty saysOctober 30, 2008 at 5:41 pm
Did I miss it, or am I correct that no one in the comments section suggested a LIBRARY CARD? Guess what? You can borrow movies from your library FREE. Most allow you to have more than one at a time, and in my area, some even have a 7 day check out. Many have the newest releases. And many of them have tv series. That’s right entire seasons of . . . . what ever TV series you are in love with. I work nights (in a library) and don’t watch much tv at all. It’s the best deal around poverty pals.
cog saysOctober 30, 2008 at 5:41 pm
Since my last entry in the Poverty Party platform was such a roaring success, I’ve done another:
re: movies. We’re a Whatever-comes-on-that-we-haven’t-already-seen-a-million-times family, but I particularly enjoy the Shawshank Channel.
Cactus Petunia saysOctober 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm
Bravo, Bossy! $96 a year is a lot of wine (19.2384 bottles to be exact), especially if your wine budget can only afford the $4.99 bottles at Trader Joe’s, like mine.
Adorable Girlfriend saysOctober 30, 2008 at 6:39 pm
It’s just too topical not to say it:
Cochlear impants?!! That was the discussion at Penn last night with my classmates in terms of PGD and selecting out for deafness.
TOO DAMN TOPICAL for AG. She’ll have a bottle of expensive wine please, as she has no cable TV or movie memberships.
LizP saysOctober 30, 2008 at 6:46 pm
You can put your Netflix account on hold if you know you’re not going to be watching movies for a while. My MIL does this when they go on vacation, during football season, and when they’re backlogged on all of the Mad Men episodes I put on dvd’s for them.
Stephanie saysOctober 30, 2008 at 11:23 pm
We had the very same conversation a while ago.
We are now down to the $8 plan, one DVD at a time… it works just dandy. We get to see all the movies we want, just a few months later than everyone else as we never go to the movie theater.
The cable is on the chopping block next.
Cindy Z saysOctober 31, 2008 at 2:20 am
I also went from 3 movies at a time to one. I am really ok with that. I have also lowered my cell phone bill, moved “stuff” to a smaller shed, and stopped a monthly Orkin visit. Orkin don’t tell you for the same monthly price they will come out during the Spring and Fall instead of every month! Orkin also lowered my monthly payment for next Spring to the oringinal payment from 20 years ago!
We all must just ask! They can only say no and then we have the option to cancel 🙂
Vanessa saysOctober 31, 2008 at 2:35 am
I love my Netflix.
Since I live with and care for my elderly grandmother, I’m relegated to watching tv and movies in my bedroom.
Add to that the fact that she hasn’t let me touch the remote in many years and only watches the Game Show Network and whatever channel Law & Order is playing on AND I don’t have cable hooked up in my bedroom.
Thus, I am a Netflixaholic. I’m so bad that I just upped my membership to the 4 at a time deal. Not exactly working on the poverty issue, am I?
By the way, Deliver Us From Evil is excellent. Disturbing, but excellent.
Little Miss Sunshine State saysOctober 31, 2008 at 8:19 am
We just have the cable package with HBO. Husband must have access to Entourage and Inside the NFL.
Yesterday morning HBO ran Hear and Now. So good.
~annie saysOctober 31, 2008 at 8:43 am
Hm. Looks like it may start getting crowded under my rock here. I’ve been on the Rabbit Ears and Library Lending Plan for the last 16 years…
Gigi saysNovember 2, 2008 at 1:38 am
I wrote on my calendar for Oct. 31 “cancel Netflix.” However, it is now Nov. 2 and I haven’t done it.
I just can’t quit you, Netflix.
I’m down to one at a time but I’ve done the 2 a month before, so maybe I’ll just downgrade to that. My public library doesn’t have movies, and Red Box, I believe, has a limited selection. My taste in movies has been referred to politely as “quirky.” I missed the one about cochlear implants but have you seen The Weeping Camel?
Elaine saysNovember 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm
Well my library must stink compared to everyone else’s. Because they have about 200 VHS tapes, and about two dozen DVDs. And they’re all always checked out.
I don’t have cable, but I do have blockbuster through the mail, and for me it’s worth it. I get 3 at a time plus 5 in-store exchanges each month. I rarely have a movie more than 3 or four days, and often do movie marathons on the weekends.
AmandaH saysNovember 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm
My library is in a town of 1700 people and we hardly have any dvds or videos in the actual library. However, they can get almost anything (except new releases, obviously), movies, tv series, etc, through Interlibrary Loan. A few years ago, it seems that libraries were reluctant to lend media through this service, but now it’s done so commonly. I always get my requests so fast too!
Library services will vary in your area, but it is worth checking out. Hahaha. No pun intended.