Rich Little Poor Girl Friday #4

Lesson #4: SOMETHING FOR NOTHING

One of the con’s of straddling the poverty line is the pervasive feeling that you can’t ever afford to enjoy yourself. Not true. This week I’d like to promote “free” entertainment.

I’m an insatiable cinephile. Back in the day, Steve and I palmed an average of $10.00 per week to our dealer, Rogers. We justified this expense by not subscribing to cable and not patronizing the theatre to get our visual fix. Then Steve discovered that the Vancouver Public Library had an amazing – and current – DVD selection. Not just popular Hollywood blockbusters, but independent, documentary, and foreign films as well. With 100 free holds per year and online access, it’s easy as pie to request movies to be sent and held for you at the branch of your choice. A damn simple way to save an annual $500.00 – more if you are in a couple or family and you each have a library card. Puddin’ proof that you can buy your entertainment cake and eat it too (while you are watching your free movies, heh).

Of course nothing is truly “free”. Not having to pay money for something often means that you have to “pay” in alternate ways. Library-loaned movies make you pay in terms of choice and timing. You don’t always get your choice of format (letterbox vs. full screen). You don’t always get the movies you want when you want them. Sometimes the queue for a new release is crazy long and you can wait over half a year for your number to come up. Sometimes weeks can pass without anything to watch and then suddenly several titles arrive at once. Minor inconveniences aside, if you are patient – and flexible – your local library can help you cut your yearly entertainment expense without sacrificing your visual stimulation.

Th-e-e-e-n you can feel all glib and justified in using some of the dough you saved to go out and see movies that are a must-see in their natural habitat: Sweeney Todd, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman…any movie with scads of over-priced special effects.

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