Over the next few months, as people draft their New Year’s Resolutions and 2012 predictions, I’ll be providing tools to help you Achieve Your Resolution – valuable webapps and web sites that I’ve found in the past year that help achieve popular New Year’s Resolutions.

It might seem redundant to talk to a college student about the benefits of Netflix or Redbox. If you’re like me, on the first week (and in my case, only week) of my summer break, you’re scouring Netflix and local Redboxes for any sort of entertainment.

But for many college students, there’s other options. I’m not here to write a magnum opus on whether or not file sharing is ethical or legal – that’s up for you to decide. But I can say that if I’m looking to find a movie like Woody Allen’s Chinatown, I’d have a much better shot of finding it on Netflix than through file sharing. And I can say that if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to become more cultured: Netflix and Redbox are the way to go.

I picked Redbox over Blockbuster’s on-the-go rental outlets for one reason. They’re making a larger appeal to college students. Redbox came to my school’s student government last year with a proposal to bring them on campus at little to no cost to the student body. It was an easy decision. I’ve never used a Redbox, but the concept is incredibly student-friendly.

Most of the newer DVD releases (at my last visit, I saw two newly released movies that appealed to me: Captain America: The First Avenger and The Descendants, starring George Clooney) are available at Redbox, and even some of the most popular games. Yes, even Skyrim was at my local Redbox. Take that arrow to the knee.

How much? $1/day for movies, and $2/day for video games. Not a bad deal at all if you’re going to just them for the one viewing or playing.

Now, Netflix came under fire this year for their disastrous PR moves with their price hikes. I was upset by them – I used to have both streaming and DVDs under my name in Gainesville. At the time of the move, I went DVD-only which was an unpopular choice. I was at the time an HBO addict without HBO – so getting my Sopranos and Eastbound and Down DVDs were incredibly important to me. By midyear, I put the DVDs on hold and shared my family’s streaming account. Although I was upset that I lost my personal recommendation profile (there’s a lot more Doctor Who on there now, thanks to my sister), it was worth it to remove one expense from my monthly load of bills.

I still realize that as the streaming library grows, I can continue to become more cultured – be it National Geographic documentaries, cult classics, or catching up on my favorite AMC TV shows (thanks to Netflix, fully caught up with The Walking Dead and The Killing this year). And with Redbox, I don’t have to stress about a $10 movie I want to see if I can hold out a few months to get it for a dollar.

Enjoy your summer vacations – for those on theirs and those about to be on theirs – and take the time to get more cultured.

[Image courtesy of Flickr user Sarah_Ackerman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0]