My family loves going to the movies. We love the whole experience of it. Seeing a movie right when it comes out before anyone else is talking about it. Stuffing our faces full of buttery, salted popcorn. All of it. What I don’t love is how much money we drop on a night out at the movies. Between the growing ticket prices and having to mortgage the house to buy drinks and snacks for all five members of my family, a night out to the movies is a huge financial endeavor. I refuse to give up one of our favorite family activities so I’m always looking for ways to save.
1. Pack Your Own Snack and Beverage Bag
You know the drill. You go to the theater snack counter with your family and order 2 medium popcorns, 2 Icees, 2 sodas, a package of red vines, a box of milk duds and a hot pretzel. Your mouth waters with anticipation right up until the teenager working behind the counter says “That’ll be $42.00 ma’am.” After you get over the initial shock that you are old enough for someone to call you ma’am you pay the astronomical amount of money for snacks and swear that next time you will bring your own. Most theaters have a policy of no outside food but we’ve never heard of anyone actually enforcing that. So go ahead and grab a big bag and go buy sodas, candy and bags of popcorn at the Supermarket ahead of time. You will spend about 1/4 of the amount.
2. Use Price Clubs
If you have a Sam’s Club or Costco membership I bet you didn’t know that you can use it to save on movie tickets. Head to the customer service desk and ask about discounted tickets. This varies from location to location but you can usually score them for a few bucks off. You can also check with local grocery store and gas stations to see if they offer rewards in the form of movie tickets.
3. Go in the Afternoon
You can save so much by just going to the matinee showings. Most theaters charge a lower ticket cost for movies before 6pm. For a family this could save a bundle. You can call you local theater and ask about their ticket discounts or check out Fandango online.
4. Use Your Discounts
Are you a Senior? Are you a Student? Are you a AAA member? Find out all of the discounts your local theater offers and make sure to take advantage of any that you might qualify for.
5. Find a Late-Runner Theater
Many neighborhoods have a late-run theater which is a theater that doesn’t run new releases right when they come out. Instead they run them a few weeks after they’ve been released at a greatly reduced price. So even though you might have to wait a little bit to see the movie you want to see, it’s worth the savings.
6. Join Movie Loyalty Programs
Most major movie chains have great customer loyalty programs. These programs reward you for your patronage via a card. When you spend money on tickets and concessions, you garner points on your card, which can later pay for tickets or net discounts on other things.
7. Go for Group Deals
There are tons of group deals websites now – like Groupon and Living Social – all offering deals for movies. Keep you eyes open for movie deals on these sites or look for ticket deals on ticketing websites like Fandango. It is usually a percentage off of the ticket price or a flat rate for two tickets to a specific movie.
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