Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gratitude Friday (A Day Late Yet Again) :: Movies and Drinks

At the beginning of the year when Jay and I made our money plan, we decided we'd keep a few fun things in the budget. I'm referring specifically to alcohol and movie rentals.

Obviously, we don't need these things, but they are relatively inexpensive and they keep us sane. At the end of the day, when I sip my wine or my vodka tonic, I'm not thinking about money. In fact, I've found it's hard to worry about anything with a wine glass in your hand. (Oh, thank you wine.)

If I'm going to be totally honest, I should tell you that when I first subscribed to an online movie rental service, it was with because at that time Alec was doing the voice overs in the commercials. (This, people, is indicative of how the mind of a crazy person works.) We were with Blockbuster almost a year, but the service was crappy, the selection sucked, and we were always getting cracked dvd's in the mail. Recently, we switched to Netflix and it is so much better. The movies come quickly and the selection is huge. It's so nice to be able to type in the name of a small, independent documentary, and have Netflix know exactly what I'm talking about. Plus, the movies they suggest to us are much more in line with our personal tastes. I'm still not sure why Blockbuster thought I would want to watch Beerfest.

Jay and I aren't the only ones that benefit from Netflix. Our kids are so far apart in age that they rarely want to see the same movie. Plus, the girl is kind of a loud mouth, so we never get to go to the movie theatre as a family. With the movies coming right to our house, we can plan a family movie night easier, or we can schedule one for each kid.

I realize I'm starting to sound like a commercial for Netflix, and that wasn't my intention. It's just that movie rentals are one more way in which we've made the spending stoppage seem less ominous, and for only about $10 a month. I'm sure that $10 could be better spent paying off a credit card quicker, or the bill for someones broken arm. (Yes, that bill still haunts me. It's the gift that keeps on giving.) But at what cost? In the grand scheme of things, that $10 isn't going to make a huge difference in whether I pay off a bill now, or in six months.

I think every person, and probably every family, has a few things they try to hold on to even when money gets tight. I'd be interested in hearing what little splurges you rely on to keep you happy.


Hotch Potchery said...

I also like the that definitely stays!

Pizza money is our other thing that no matter how low we get, we make sure that once a week we have pizza from the great NY pizza place.

Nowheymama said...

Netflix is in our budget, too. We're on the one-DVD-at-a-time plan, but they're providing more and more movies to watch online,so we really get our money's worth.

And the ever-present box o' wine, of course.

Dani said...

Have you got a listening device in my house. We were Netflix members and then canceled because when basketball season starts that's all we watch. Well, my boys got knocked out in the first round this year and November is a long way off. I just re-joined today. Madmen: Season 1 is in the mail as of Monday.

The things I refused to give up on Beans & Rice: Dr. Pepper, Heinz ketchup, and NBA League Pass. Which goes to say we didn't give up cable either.

I told the Mr. that I HAD to have NBA League Pass and that if we couldn't fit it into the budget that I would go down and give plasma like I did in college. He said he would prefer me not to sell bodily fluids.

The Mr. has his beer and $2 a cup coffee. I don't fight it. I am sure he could make coffee and drink cheap beer, but then I would feel the need to drink Dr. Thunder and Sam's Best Ketchup. Not worth it.

Tammie said...

im loving hearing what you guys keep in your budget. is it strange that im finding this beyond interesting?

hotch: we had take out pizza in our budget for a while, but my son is such a bottomless pit that after a while it didnt seem worth it. especially because i like to order from the fancy pizza place that pays its employees a living wage. pizza night could easily reach $50, so we cut it out. now its a special occassion thing or we'll do $5 takeout. of course its not as good, but my son inhales everything so quickly i dont think he even notices.

nowhey: yep, we have the one at a time plan too. we had the more expensive one for a while but we didnt feel like we were really getting our moneys worth. it became stressful because i hated to see a dvd sitting around not being watched.

dani: my hubs wants to see mad men too. i need to add it to the queue.
we didnt give up cable, but we did cut it way back. but being a SAHM, i need to have Nickelodeon, or id go nuts.

the first time i saw Dr. Thunder i was like, "What the hell is this?" I dont care what they say, that name seems like some type of copyright violation.

and yeah, i didnt give up organic ketchup. my daughter practically lives on it, so i give her the best i can afford.

Daphne said...

I was just thinking about this this morning. We like yummy scented soaps, so I always get one when I go to the grocery outlet (an affordable luxury at under $3 a bar). I also treat myself to a cheap drugstore makeup indulgence every once in awhile (every two months or so). It's amazing what a new lipstick can do for you. Terri is home all day so we have basic-expanded cable, and a Netflix account (I think we do 3-at-a-time because she likes to have a choice and seriously sometimes she will watch 3 in a day). I'd cut out the cable but I do get that it kind of keeps her company all day, plus we do really enjoy some shows that are cable-only. We can't go out on dates so we have 'date nights' at home which include Top Chef, etc. I buy the cheapest whole-food possible (easy when you mostly cook at home and are vegetarian) but apparently we cannot skimp on Best Foods (Hellmans) mayonnaise, nor can we do without the occasional black cherry gourmet soda. We don't buy books, but we totally splurge at the library. I also allow myself mini shopping sprees at the thrift store when I feel like I need retail therapy. You can have a LOT of fun at the thrift store for $20.

beck said...

I'm with Daphne on the thrift store splurges. Here in Australia we call them op shops! (as in opportunity!) I am a huge lover of pre loved goods and I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. But I'm also a devotee of the end of the day glass of wine. I only have one smallish glass, well biggish sometimes, but it's my little treat and BOY DO I LOVE IT!!! Fun reading about all the different things people enjoy xoxo

Tammie said...

daphne: i can totally empathise with terri about the cable thing. being home all day (most days) myself, i feel like the tv is sort of my connection to the world. sometimes thats the only way i see other adults!!!

beck: what would we all do without our wine?!? im glad im not the only one.

kraftykash said...

We were just talking about Nexflix the other day. Cant decide if that would be cheaper than the redbox. Do you have those in Florida?? To save $$ I am hanging more laundry outside. It makes your clothes smell beautiful & saves on the electric bill. I also try & keep curtains closed during the day & the A/C set higher. Im sure everyone is doing htese already.

Aleta said...

I used to be with Netflix and totally agree with you on the selection and price. Greg wanted HBO and it was a tossup, so we went with HBO instead. But I have good memories of Netflix.

hester said...

I reckon $10 is a really good investment in your sanity, Tammie. We cut out cable TV when we had the first baby and Scott sold his beloved 1965 Ford Falcon car. We now only have takeaway pizza (gluten free at that) on special occasions. Chocolate is sort of my indulgence to the disappointment of my dentist (or maybe not considering what he's charging me at the moment).

This was a really interesting post/bunch of comments, don't you reckon?

hester said...

PS Tammie - you really have it bad for Alec don't you?

Tammie said...

yep we have red box here. how long can you keep a movie? do you have to worry about late fees?

and yep, i try to use my clothesline almost daily, it can be hard with our afternoon showers though. i have to get the laundry done and dried with the quickness.

hester: alec and i have reached long term relationship status. ;)

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I love my wine so that's always in the house...right next to the chocolate. We typically do takeout every other week--used to be every week.

I gave up getting my hair colored at a salon. Now if the color isn't great I can blame the $7 box instead of the $65-$85 stylist.

Betts said...

Definitely alcohol. Things would have to be pretty tight before I gave that up.

Thrift store shopping is a go too. I went to three stores today and spent about $20. That was over 2 hours shopping.

Sarah12730 said...

We gave up cable when we moved out of Gainesville. Went without it for a long while and then a few months back decided to get Dish, i's only $24.xx a month, so that's alright. I dunno what I'm not willing to give up, though. I guess I"d give up anything that wasn't working, budget-wise. I won't give up staying home with the kids, so everything else is second to that.

And internet. I will not give up internet. Some days, the only semi-normal adult interactions I have are on the internet.