Last night we were hanging out with a friend and he was showing us all of the cool things he can do with his new iPhone. Yes, it’s a pretty cool phone, but he paid $200 for it, and another $90/month for service. Our phone doesn’t do as many neat tricks (although it does have a camera and a mp3 player), but it cost $20 and we pay $45/month for service (we don’t have a landline – that’s our only phone). He used his phone to show us a trailer for a movie that’s opening tomorrow, and asked if we were going to see it. We said we might, but that we would wait until it came out on DVD so that we could get it from Redbox for a dollar. We sat there trying to think of the last time we saw a movie in the theater, and decided that it was “The Longest Yard”, which was released in the fall of 2005. He thought that was amazing.
Then my husband asked how much movie tickets cost these days, and our friend replied in an offhand manner that “it doesn’t matter”. Now it was our turn to be amazed. He and his wife just have regular jobs like us – they aren’t doctors or lawyers. We assume they might have some family money, but we don’t know the specifics. I suppose we’ve gotten so entrenched in our frugal ways that we just can’t imagine spending money without caring about prices or cheaper options. For us, renting a movie for a dollar (or free if we get it from the library) is a far better value than going to the theater. And if we watch a movie in our living room we can wear our pajamas, make our own snacks (much better for us than movie fare), and hit the pause button whenever we like. And now that we have a baby, we only plan outings where he can go along. So a movie theater isn’t really an option anyway.