How Spending $8 on Netflix a Month Can Make You and Your Kids Happy

Here’s a different/thoughtful take on how Netflix can be a cheaper source of entertainment for your family written by a fellow frugal dad trying to condense his family’s budget:

If you’re like me, downtime can look 3 ways: with the kids, with the wife or by myself. I appreciate them all equally, too. There’s been a bit of a buzz surrounding Netflix’s recent price change and I’m maybe going out on a limb here to say it’s a pretty good deal if you’re willing to stick with the stream only option, considering all the complaining about the prices. Here’s why this is a good and frugal choice:

For nearly double the price, you can have the availability of DVDs, but you should ask yourself, “Do I/we need this?” The beautiful thing about Netflix is that they always try hard to bring old and new content to their streaming section, making it good for all of the above downtimes.

Chances are, too, you may have a video game console of some type: Wii, Xbox or PS3. All of these allow you to stream Netflix to your TV (Xbox is the only console that makes you pay for their online services, Xbox Live). Added to that, perhaps, even the best of all, is you can add the free Netflix App to your Android or iPhones (or iTouch). If you have a laptop or computer, multiple items can be streamed at a time, another bonus for times when no choice can be made on what to watch and the quietness is sometimes welcoming.

Good so far? I think so.

This service pays for itself quickly each month. It’s often difficult to justify a trip to the movies more than once every 3 months with the entire family, with the average price of a movie outing at nearly $50 for a family of 4 just to get seats. And that’s not even the IMAX option, mind you. Or 3D, for that matter.

If you’re still uncertain, there’s a great website,, that updates all the new (and best!) streaming movies. This is good for making it easy to update your queue with research that’s already been done for you.

Netflix is making a case for itself by way of offering a lot newer movies and cartoons and some classics you can share with your kids. Sure, they’ll roll their eyes at Duck Tails and Tom & Jerry, but for $8/month it’s surely worth the risk (with the possibility of the reward that they’ll like it).

Last thing to point out is that while Netflix discounts/specials are seldom, there is always a chance to get free months here and there when you have other families and friends sign up for a free trial using you as a reference, so your $96/year could look more like $72/year. Not a bad deal, I’d say.



  1. Great suggestion! My family got rid of cable months ago and rely solely on public television and streaming Netflix through our Wii. The kids don’t know the difference, but the budget does. Also, never heard of streaming soon. I’ll have to check it out!

  2. We’re big Netflix users too, and are really liking the streaming option )although we did keep the 1 DVD out at a time option too.)

  3. We have the streaming and two disc option. That’s still quite a bit cheaper than having our cable television.

  4. We got rid of cable three years ago. My husband built a computer attached to the tv and we stream all kinds of things. We have had Netflix for about 4 years. Yesterday I canceled our subscription. The streaming has become horrible (my littlest daughter used that option the most) and we our queue always said “long wait” for any newer movies. After being loyal, happy customers for so long it took a lot of debating about it. And we would not have canceled if they hadn’t upped the price by 60%. I did some research and realized just how extensive the dvd collection at my local library is. Since we are part of a shared library network we can request a dvd and it is sourced from dozens of libraries in a two county area. As such, in the last two weeks I’ve been able to get brand new movies for free just by going on line and requesting them using my library’s online search system. The movies are delivered to my library and we pick them up there (not such a hardship- it’s around the corner and we are there a few times a week anyway.) My recommendation is to give your local library a try! I’m now saving $10 a month and getting better videos and service.

  5. After years of being a loyal Direct TV customer, I finally cut ties with them and bought a Roku ($79 one time purchase) . Roku is a device that streams various services to your TV : Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Angry Birds…etc My bill used to be about $110/mo with DVR’s throughout the house – and now my total bill for subscriptions is $22.98/mo. Do I miss seeing my beloved Mad Men or Breaking Bad the MOMENT they air? YES! But do I miss it over $1,000 a year? NO! I can wait for the release on DVD and take that money and go on vacation or keep funding my savings without compromising the quality of my life.
    Check out Roku – you can visit their website, or follow my referral link: Either way, you may find you too can cut the cord – whether it be cable or satellite – with minimal pain.

  6. I used to use Netflix too. I was their customer since the very early days and loved the full service where you could get the dvd and also stream. But after they jacked up their rates by 40%, I realized they are nothing but a Comcast in disguise. I now watch Hulu and am considering getting their premium plan which costs about the same as Netflix streaming.

    • Interesting, Fred. Do you feel, though, that Hulu offers less? You wouldn’t consider the streaming only?

    • Yeah, why not?

      It’s because of our PS3 that we dropped cable. We stream Netflix (in Canada) to the tv using the PS3 and have also used it for hours and hours of gaming fun without spending a lot on games. It was one of the best purchases we have ever made.

    • Well, if you aren’t a gamer, those devices don’t make sense, since there are many other devices you can buy that will get you Netflix, Hulu, vudu, cinemanow, etc., for less.

      If you are a gamer, there is nothing anti-frugal about owning one of those systems. They are a steal right now and lots of great older titles are available new and used for cheap.

      But I think the point of the article (besides being a shameless plug for Netflix!) was that lots of people already have one of those devices and they can use them to move away from more expensive entertainment options.

      • Thanks, Vinlandi, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m not a gamer in this sense. I’d love to know more about the “many other devices”, as I am debating having some sort of television in my home after many years of being cable-free. I use the internet and hulu, but am considering a basic cable plan for bare-bones reception. I’d love to know about other low-cost/high value options.

  7. My husband and I use Netflix (both options) but we’ve just found another way as well! My computer has an HDMI output function — we just find a show we like that isn’t on Netflix (say, Auction Hunters or Deadliest Warrior) and set it up to stream through the computer. Then we plug in the HDMI cable — BOOM — got the show on my TV for free 🙂

  8. We ended up keeping Netflix but scaling back to the $8 streaming option too. We already had a Wii, so it works great for us (but we have kept cable too, we love them both, lol). I loved Duck Tales, so now I am going to find that again. 🙂

  9. People were mad that Netflix bumped up their prices, but bottom line is that it is still a great service for the price. One could easily get rid of cable and use a video streaming option. Save about $100 + a month.

  10. The best thing I ever did was buy a Boxee box. The boxee box will access your netflix account, but gives you a lot more options for internet TV as well. In fact, that $200 I spent on the Boxee led me to just ditch cable altogether after having it a few months. In essence, it actually is saving me cash over time.

  11. Netflix is one of the greatest companies in the tech era!! period.
    I got netflix in 2003, thought It was so good I purchased the stock
    (nflx) 200 shares at 9 dollars, then it split 2 for 1, had 400 shares
    sold it all at $281 per share, over 100,000 profit, it continued going up
    to 304 per share, then because of the price increase and other reasons
    it had dropped like a rock to 215 or so, repurchased 50 shares at 226 which i will hold forever!!! This stock is like a mini Apple.
    When bill gates joined the board of directors, that also helped in my decision. like i said I love netflix, great management, fair content and
    best of breed.

  12. We are fans of streaming Netflix. Now if only Netflix would figure out how to stream the live Steelers games to my TV I could call the cable company up and drop them!