Free movie “rental” through your local library


In our ongoing quest to reduce our monthly subscription expenses, we cancelled Netflix. It just wasn't pulling its weight given that we're Amazon Prime members and get free movies and TV shows via Amazon's Instant Video streaming.

But every now and then we want to rent a particular movie and we miss having an ongoing DVD queue. We're fine paying the rental fee for a big-splash recent hit, but when we want to watch an older movie it's painful to pay as much for 24-hour access as we would buying the used DVD.

Solution: the local library! Our county library has an extensive media catalog, including audiobooks, videotapes and DVDs. We can request titles using the library website (not unlike adding DVDs to our old Netflix queue), and when they come available, they're delivered to our local branch.

FREE MOVIE RENTAL. That's what I'm talkin' about. I make a weekly library run anyway, so it's almost as convenient as getting the movies in my mailbox. I even keep a library basket by my door to keep track of borrowed materials and avoid overdue fines.

Look into your local library's media offerings — hopefully it's a practical option for you.

Any other tips for lowering movie rental expenses?

Several Parenthackers have mentioned the library as a source for movie rentals before but it just didn't sink in. *forehead smack* I've finally seen the light!


  1. says

    We sometimes pick up recent blockbusters at RedBox for one dollar per night. It’s cheaper than a la carte streaming.

    Use the library’s reserve option for more popular movies.

    If a library DVD can’t be read, try washing it with a little dish soap (keep the cataloging labels as dry as you can) then carefully dry it with soft cloth. This has helped us get through a lot of discs that our player originally rejected.

  2. says

    Even better, a lot of libraries will buy specific titles (books and DVDs) if you request them. My sister gave me this little nugget years back.

  3. says

    Also, to help avoid overdue fines, see if you can sign up for Library Elf. They have free and subscription based notification/reminder services!

  4. says

    Right before the Arrested Development season goes live on Netflix?! Perish the thought! :) We use the library for movies and our library also does 5 free mp3s each week through a service called “freegal” and amazon kindle e-book lending as well. We love our library!

  5. Marta says

    My library is about to start offering streaming video — you might try asking your library to try that too. Libraries take feedback very seriously.

  6. says

    I love checking out movies from the library. Our library charges $1 per movie, but I often go to other nearby libraries and check them out for free. I love your idea of a library basket, too.

  7. says

    The library is a great resource for more than just books!

    We also are big customer of Amazon and joined Prime just for the shipping benefits. But we get movie streaming there as well with our yearly dues.

  8. says

    I just remembered–we can also check out CDs from the library. I mean, all those iTunes purchases add up, of course. One year we borrowed Dan Zanes’ House Party CD, and kept renewing it through most of the summer because we loved it so much. We left it in the car CD player and it became our soundtrack of 2010. Now I need to find one for this year.