5 Ways You Can Buy or Rent Movies Cheaper Than Amazon

Ryan Dube 15-02-2016

If you’re addicted to renting movies online, then you know that the habit can get pretty expensive, so why not look for cheaper alternatives to watch great movies?


The idea of renting movies “offline” might remind you of the days when there used to be Blockbusters 4 Ways Watching Movies Used To Be More Fun You might not have realized that your enthusiasm for movies is waning. It's no longer the good old days. and I'm sure watching movies used to be more fun... Read More in almost every town, and prices ranged from $2 to $8 a rental. Once streaming movies on the Internet became commonplace, all of those rental stores went out of business.

For a while, everyone could enjoy great movies with Amazon Prime, where you could rent great movies for $2.99 – a whole-night movie marathon might cost less than $20; less than the cost of going to the theater!

Unfortunately, Amazon Prime hiked its prices, so all of those “affordable” movies are now roughly $3.99 or more. The days of cheap online movie rentals are behind us. So, with that in mind, perhaps it’s time once again to look offline for cheap movies.

Why Getting Movies Offline is Better

This Amazon price-hike made me reconsider whether online movie rentals are really a good option. After doing a bit of research in my local area, I realized that getting movies in the real world is actually way more cost effective for many reasons.

To prove this point, I explored these different options, and will share with you some resources and tips to collect your own massive movie collection. By following this advice, you’ll never have to rent another movie on the Internet again!

Option 1: Buy From Bargain Bins

Even though movie rental stores are gone, retail movie sales stores are still around. Businesses like Books-a-Million, f.y.e., and even Best Buy all sell DVDs. Honestly, there is nothing cooler than coming across a discount bin full of movies that are priced at $4 or under.


The discount bins of retail stores are chock-full of great movies at rock-bottom prices. At the store where I took the picture above, I found a bin of movies under $3 apiece, filled with many movies that cost $3.99 or more to rent on Amazon Prime. Buying used movies are often even cheaper.

The benefits of buying discounted discs include:

Option 2: “Rent” From the Library

Of course, there’s not much that can beat free, and your local library specializes in free. Free movies 7 Places to Find Free Movie Rentals Online Going to the movies is expensive, so save money on the cinema by renting for free at home instead. Here's 9 sites and ideas to check out. Read More , that is.


Your local library likely has a pretty impressive collection of movies; everything from childrens’ movies and documentaries, to classics and blockbusters. Libraries receive donations all the time, so the selection to choose from often changes. Before you go anywhere else to buy movies, always stop by your local library.

The benefits of “renting” from a library Where Can I Borrow eBooks From? If you have an e-reader, you will know how convenient eBooks are. I have a Kindle and I love it. It makes reading anywhere a breeze and I read a lot more too. However, the... Read More :

  • You can usually keep several movies for one to two weeks at a time.
  • Selections are varied and include many of the best movies ever made.
  • For a low “out of town” membership fee, you can even look for movies at libraries in other towns and cities as well.

Option 3: Rent from Redbox

If you live in the United States, and you’re a member of Amazon Prime Is Amazon Prime Worth Your Money? We Help You Decide! Amazon Prime is a big deal. But is it worth the money you pay for it? We answer your questions and concerns. Read More who is just as frustrated with the price hikes as I am, you’re going to want to get yourself accustomed to Redbox. Redbox is a physical vending machine available in most towns around the country, outside stores like 7-11, Irving, and some supermarkets.

Using the Redbox website, you can actually browse movies and then “reserve” them in one of the local vending machines so you can go pick it up.


The best thing about this is that, unlike Amazon Prime where movies are typically $3.99 and up for a one night rental, you can rent some of the best new releases from Redbox for only $1.50 a night. Seriously. For the price of one new Amazon Prime release, you could rent a Redbox movie for three or four nights.


That makes Redbox a no-brainer if you really want to be able to watch new releases without having to pay a fortune. The one caveat is this: don’t forget to return it, or you may find yourself paying a bit more for that rental than you intended. Rent it from a location on the way to your day job, and you’ll have no problem remembering to drop it off.

The benefits of renting from Redbox:

  • Get the latest releases at the cheapest price.
  • No membership fees required.
  • Very wide selection that updates frequently.

Option 4: Buy Cheap on eBay

I used to be a PowerSeller on eBay How to Find a Free eBay Seller Template Read More , meaning I sold a lot of stuff every week. My gig there was antiques, but while hunting for box lots that I could resell for profit, I often came across some pretty sweet collections of movies.

These are usually the result of someone doing some spring cleaning, or deciding that their DVD collection is taking up too much space. Because of this, you can buy a huge box of assorted movies — many of them fairly new — for pennies. Usually you can find box lots where the final selling price in the last minutes of the auction are as low as 50 cents to 75 cents per movie.


Sure, you might have to buy big lots where there might be a few duplicates and a bunch of old movies you don’t even like, but even then you’re getting a bunch of really good movies for less than $1.50 apiece. Less than renting them from any of the other available offline options.

A few tips when shopping for box lots of DVDs on eBay Top 10 Sites To Find The Hot Selling Items On eBay Read More : Always zoom into the photo and scan the titles that are included in the lot. Make sure there aren’t any (or too many) duplicates. Keep a close eye on shipping costs. And if you can’t afford to buy so many at once, take a look at some of the smaller DVD lots available throughout eBay. You can usually get those for under $1 a DVD as well.

The benefits of buying on eBay:

  • Usually the cheapest way to buy movies anywhere.
  • You can find some rare older movies this way.
  • Discover movies that you’ve never seen before.

By the way: eBay isn’t the only online option for cheap movies. You can also opt for retail sites like Half.com or Blu-ray.com, where you’ll find movies for sale for far less than you could rent them on Amazon. Shipping is usually pretty cheap if you buy enough of them at once.

Option 5: Auctions and Yard Sales

Of course, instead of waiting for people to sell their movie collections on eBay, you could always get the same (or better) deals at local auctions or yard sales.

AuctionZip is a great site to find local estate auctions near you, if you live anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Another source for listings is your local newspaper.

Auctions aren’t just for the rich — that’s a stereotype you’ll probably see on TV and movies. The truth is, most auctions near you will be reasonably priced estate sales, where you’ll find the entire contents of a household going up for sale in boxed lots.


The auction listing usually lists the kind of things available. For DVDs, you’ll want to search ads that say things like “entertainment” or “media”. Or you might just want to show up on the day of the auction and browse through the boxes during the “preview” part of the auction — there’s no obligation for you to stay and buy anything. If you see a big box of DVDs, then buy a bidder card, wait until the box comes up, and start bidding! The odds are pretty good that you’ll get that box of movies for very cheap.

Then there are yard sales. Each summer, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of yard sales going on in your community, and DVDs are one of the most common things that people put in yard sales.


These movies are often far cheaper than you could find at an auction or on eBay. Usually the folks running the yard sale are getting rid of the movies because they’ve already watched them and they’re just taking up space, so you can often easily barter on a whole box of them for less than 25 to 50 cents per DVD.

The beauty of auctions and yard sales is that you’re talking about a personal collection of many movies. Especially in the case of an estate auction, you’ll sometimes find a lifetime of collected movies available — hundreds or even thousands of movies that you’ve either love to watch again, or that you’ve never seen before. With so many movies in your own collection, you’ll never need another online movie streaming subscription again!

The benefits of buying at auctions or yard sales:

  • Enjoy the fun of the hunt.
  • Rediscover classics and rare movies.
  • Get large collections of movies for dirt cheap.
  • Auctions and yard sales are fun in their own right.

Rethink Your Movie Rentals

Renting movies online is nice and convenient, but it’s exploded to the point where it’s now more expensive than real-world rentals used to be. It’s smart to take a step back and reconsider whether it’s worth wasting twice as much money on a 24-hour rental, when you could buy twice as many movies offline for the same price, and own them forever.

Explore discount bins, the library, auctions, and yard sales near you, and you’ll be surprised just how much more you’ll have available to watch on a Saturday night. You might even end up canceling your Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions!

For another worthwhile movie experience, check out our introduction to Fandango What Is Fandango and How Does It Work? What is Fandango and how does it work? What features are available beyond movie ticketing? Here's everything to know about it. Read More .

Image Credit: young woman in dvd shop by Pavel L Photo and Video via Shutterstock, Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com, AnneNS via Shutterstock, Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock.com

Explore more about: Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Save Money.

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  1. Squalle
    June 15, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    I realize I'm a little late to this party. But as was mentioned earlier in the comments, Redbox is always sending codes for discounted movies. Sign up for their txt option and they send many that way. PLUS, now, for every 10 you rent, you get a free night's rental. My town has 4 (Walmart, Kroger, CVS and Turkey Hill, which is basically a Kroger gas station).

    One of the coolest things is, when you travel, you'll often find that Redboxes (or Redboxs?) have different selections, depending on who returned there, because you can return them to ANY Redbox. So when my daughter and I go 20 miles away every Tuesday to get allergy shots, we can check out what they have down there. Then just return them to the local box (1 block away!)

    And it's nice to be able to reserve them with the app, so as soon as the new titles are available (usually around midnight), you can reserve them and you have until 9pm the next night, I believe, to pick them up!

    One more thing to note... You have to watch out for some of the titles. Some movies at Redbox are 2-5 years old, and are seriously bad. B-movies would probably be giving them too much credit. Personally, I love those titles, but many people don't. (Child Eater, MSF, Pitchfork, to name a few).

  2. Luz
    July 17, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Still $2.99 on Amazon. They just hide it in the "More purchase items" link.

  3. Tom
    June 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    We used to be a HUGE Amazon family--ordering everything from textbooks to auto parts via the online giant. And we were among the first US customers to become Prime subscribers. But after finding we were paying MORE for Prime items with "free" shipping than we'd have paid with shipping through other sellers on Amazon--and that Prime searches when we were logged into our Amazon account turned up the more expensive "free" shipping items preferentially--relative to what the same search would return when were logged OUT of Prime/Amazon, our family reevaluated our relationship with Amazon. One of the first things to go was Prime, including Prime instant streaming. Now we buy at most a single season of a show per year, and find everything else via physical discs, from which we've built our own library.

    I don't know if Amazon had to hike its prices to remain even marginally profitable, but the "free shipping" duplicity of Prime turned our family off--and we're very glad. Instead of paying what is NOW (just looked, Saturday, June 4th) $5.99 for new releases, we pay less than a third that to rent the same movies via DVD. And we now have a small but tailored DVD library to get us through any lapses in Internet connectivity or those dry spells of quality (subjective) new releases.

  4. Anonymous
    February 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I have a store near me that has a $1 DVD bargain bin.

  5. Bob
    February 16, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Duh! Who is still using DVD or Blu-ray player this day?

    • Steve
      February 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      You could play them on your computer, which can be linked to your TV.

    • Mike Z
      January 5, 2018 at 3:49 am

      Physical media still trumps online for special features, behind-the-scenes, etc. all in one 'place'. Being a horror fan, many titles, old and new, have a plethora of 'extras' on the Blu-ray that you can't get on the standard disc. Also, I have a 3-D hi-def TV, and 3-D isn't currently being broadcast via cable TV (although I DID see some titles on-demand that way, but not recently). And I know plenty of people who never even upgraded to Blu-Ray from DVD!

  6. Bill Kracke
    February 15, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I'm not sure that sinking money into a fading format is the answer for me. The only place I can watch a DVD these days is on my XBOX ... my computer hasn't had an optical drive for years. My mobile devices never did. Converting the average DVD to a digital format yourself often takes more time and resources than makes sense for the amount of money you save.

    If you are only watching movies on a television set with an attached player, these solutions are decent. Just be aware that you look just like the people who bought piles of VHS tapes when blockbusters closed down. Pennies on the dollar for a technology that is dying may not be a savings.

    Additionally, if you are moving a lot, carting physical media around is a nightmare.

    I hate that I am 'renting' the movies I own from Amazon (or Apple, or whomever) -- they could cut me off at any time, but this is FAR outweighed by the issues of device playback, portability, etc. for me.

    "It’s smart to take a step back and reconsider whether it’s worth wasting twice as much money on a 24-hour rental, when you could buy twice as many movies offline for the same price, and own them forever." is a loaded closing statement. I could easily flip it and say "It's smart to pay a small premium for the ability to watch the movie on all of your devices, bring your whole movie catalog with you everywhere you go, and save yourself the hassle of storing and moving all those discs. Would you pay an extra dollar to avoid the headache?"

    • Ks
      December 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Except for God forbid loss of Internet connectivity. Then you'd be up crap creek

  7. Karen
    February 15, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Redbox has coupons codes all the time for free or almost free movies. Also our library has book sales a few times a year which also has movie dvds for next to nothing.

  8. Kusaiashi
    February 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Not sure how this one was missed, but VidAngel is a superior alternative to any of the rental methods listed in this article. Rentals are $1. Filter out any content you don't want to see. Probably worth mentioning.

    • Eric
      February 17, 2016 at 3:27 am

      I agree. I was just going to post the same. Excellent service and I love having the option to cut out F words and such if kids are around.

  9. Anonymous
    February 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    We're mentioning Redbox but somehow forgetting that Netflix has been a discs-by-mail service since the late 90s? I was a member in 1999 and I might've joined in 1998. The concept has been around for a while.

    Video stores haven't completely died out. I'd have to drive for about 20 minutes to get to the one nearest my home, but they're actually relatively common in less populated parts of the USA.