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Finances & Money

Redbox Test One: Success!

A month ago, I told you we canceled Blockbuster in favor of trying out Redbox. We didn’t rent anything right away because, well, we were tired of movies. But about 2 weeks ago, we decided to rent a movie. Here’s how it went:

redbox rental returnWe walked up to the machine, used the touch-screen to pick “Rent a Movie”. We scrolled through all the movies and decided on Accepted (I wanted something dumb). We kept scrolling and also saw Blood Diamond and chose that too. I didn’t readily see the “Cart” link, so I continued, thinking I could remove movies from my list on the next screen. Nope, I had to swipe my card. No big prob, but it meant we had to watch both movies or risk spending a whole extra dollar for another night 🙂

Before paying though, I had to enter my email address to receive a receipt. The machine does not have a printer (from what I could see). When we got home, I had an email waiting for me with the confirmation.

You can see from the picture that my lovely model Stacie is holding the DVD case with a movie. They’re not full-size cases; more like the size of a CD jewel case, but all plastic. Both the movie and the case have an advanced bar code for when you return it.

We didn’t have any problem watching the movies. Nick went with me to return Accepted that first night (we all enjoyed it, including grandma). We drove across the street, walked in the store, and clicked on “Return a Movie”. The screen instructed us how to insert the movie (see photo), and we complied. The machine told us within 5 seconds that it was accepted (haha, no pun intended, sort of) and we left! And of course, I had a return confirmation email waiting for me when we got back.

We waited until the next night to watch Blood Diamond, which was also very excellent (after getting used to DiCaprio’s accent). The return sequence was the same. The think with Redbox, though, is they wait until all movies that you have are returned, and then they bill you the full amount. This is so you don’t have a bunch of $1.05 (5% tax in MD) charges on your account for every single movie. However, they do put a $1 hold on your card until you return the movies. Since we had one movie for an extra night, our total charge was $3.15.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since renting those movies, and a full month since canceling Blockbuster. We were paying about $20 per month for Blockbuster, so we technically saved about $17 this month by only renting when we felt like it. And we don’t have that guilt of “having to get our money’s worth” that we did with our Blockbuster subscription.

Now I want to be clear here. I’m not putting down Blockbuster, but it wasn’t for us anymore. The new fall show lineup is on, I’m in school and work, we both have websites, Stacie was working a ton of extra (unpaid) hours every night, so we just didn’t have the time to watch movies. If you or your family watch a lot of movies, then check out Blockbuster or Netflix. It’s a great entertainment package. For the rest of you, ditch the high-priced rental stores and try Redbox if you can!

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Just an FYI, you do NOT have to enter your email address if you don’t care to. You can skip that step.

    What’s the advantage? Well, there are free promo codes available, including DVD2, BREAKROOM, and DVDONME which you use by pressing the “Rent with Promo Code” in the lower lefthand corner. It gives you one free night, so if you keep the movies longer you have to pay. (there’s a Web site called where people post new/other codes)

    Each one of these codes can be used for each method of payment, for instance your Debit card, Your AmEx, Your Discover, your Visa, even a generic gift card (ie. visa or MC, etc). I haven’t entered my email because I worry they’ll tie my multiple uses of the same promo codes together.

    Also, if you go to the Redbox Web site you can sign up to get notifications by Text message, and occasionally they text you a free code useful only on one day, usually a Monday. If you wanted multiple movies on that date, the code would work on each method of payment. I often get one for my kids and one for my husband and myself.

    Again, these codes are only really useful if you plan to return the movies the next night. But, they have reduced our movie budget to practically nothing.

    Hope this helps!

  • Michelle, great advice. I do have some of those codes already, but when we rented, I didn’t have them with me. We’ll probably rent something this weekend since we’ll have guests, and I’ll give your method a shot.

  • lol! Leonardo’s accent. As an australian, Saffer accents are like nails on a blackboard to me but thats ok since we beat them at cricket, rugby etc etc etc 😉 Very Good movie btw, and not just because I am a jennifer c fan 🙂

    Red box seems pretty interesting but we dont have any of those things out here on the blue ridge parkway.

  • I’ve heard about this system on other blogs but never actually seen it around San Diego. I think it’s a great idea, seeing as me and my girlfriend currently use netflix. I’d much rather just pay for the movies we actually rent than pay for a months worth and not get full usage.

  • Realist, yeah SD is a big city, hence why I did a 20 mile search. You never know where the mapping software is going to calculate from if you just put the city name in. Booyah

  • I think it sounds a lot cheaper. The selection may not be as good as Blockbuster/Netflix (especially for older movies), but I think the price is right. My wife and I haven’t used Blockbuster/Netflix b/c we would never get our money’s worth. We’ve been using the library a lot lately. That’s the cheapest. 🙂

  • Well, “Blood Diamond” is anything but dumb! But that’s not the point.

    Good to know the Redbox thing is a good system. I’m trying to rely on movies I already own or else those I can check out from the public library – yet I know I’ll get tired of those options.

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