Since 2008 the U.S. economy has been in a precarious state, with belts tightening and bank account shrinking. As a result, many Americans have stopped taking glamorous vacations, but home sales and renovations on hold and stopped shopping. While circumstances have improved for a number of individuals, some of our new, conservative spending habits have remained. Americans are shopping less and as a result, a number of entertainment rental services emerged so that we can enjoy the same art, books and movies that we’ve always loved – for a low monthly cost without leaving our homes.
If you’re an art aficianado but tire easily of the museum scene – or can’t stand the steep city prices to get to your favorite galleries and exhibits – TurningArt.com provdes subscribers with access to a curated online gallery of work by modern artists that is shipped to them free and fully framed for hanging. Subscriptions start at under ten dollars a month, so it’s perfect for an interior decorator on any budget or an apartment renter looking to jazz up her walls. They also offer gift subscriptions, so its a unique and inexpensive pick for the holidays or a housewarming gift.
The DVD rental service might not be new to the scene but Netflix is offering newer, updated features for existing and new subscribers. Not only can you rent DVDs to be delivered directly to your mailbox, but you can stream selected titles to your DVR or gaming console so you don’t even have to wait for snail mail. If you really can’t wait to watch, you can stream some movies right to your computer for instant viewing gratification.
There’s no time like the winter to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book. If you work long hours and can’t make it to the library but don’t want to cough up part of your paycheck on paperbacks each month BookSwim is the first online book rental service that allows to to choose quality titles to be delivered to your home. For the speed reader, you can choose a package that lets you borrow three books at a time and each shipment comes with a prepaid shipping label so the return won’t cost you a dime. In addition to novels, you can rent all the latest style, cooking, diet and holiday guides and return them after the season (so you can rent all new bestsellers next year).
If you have a stack of unread magazines higher than your coffee table, it’s probably time to pare down your subscription collection. Maghound.com is a magazine membership service that features hundreds of magazines from major publishers. You pay a monthly fee for a set number of magazines and you can choose new titles each month or pick the same ones repeatedly. Plans start as low as $4.95 and eventually, packages will include digital magazines, too.