6 Ways To Save Money At The Movies

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-07-2314

With the economy sluggish, traditional vacations are a no-go for most people, so many are choosing to forgo elaborate trips and deciding instead, to take their vacations closer to home. With the huge array of interesting feature films slated for release, it could be a great time to visit your local movie theater. It’s an inexpensive way to get away for a few hours and to get lost in a little Hollywood Magic. While I’m a big fan of the Netflix movie rental service, I go out to see a movie on occasion for the fun family experience.

6 Ways To Save Money At The Movies

Of course, going to the movies can be an expensive option too, unless you employ a few money saving tactics. And no, you don’t need to sneak into a movie theater to catch a show for free either (>_

  • Use coupons. You may luck out and get some discounts from a coupon book like The Entertainment Book. The 2010 book is selling for a big discount now as they’re switching over to the 2011 version. From $35 to $10 while supplies last! Here’s a sample of what it looks like for my area, but you can get a book that caters to your community.

    The Entertainment Book 2010
  • Skip the concession stand. One of the most expensive things you can do is to visit the concession stand at a movie theater. In fact, the concessions bill can sometimes outpace the price of your movie tickets. One of the best ways to keep this cost down is to make sure that you eat before you go. Also, although it’s against the rules, you can take sodas into a theater as long as you are discreet about it. You can also bring in candy; however, I would suggest that you forgo bringing in the popcorn. If you simply can’t watch a movie without the popcorn, buy it at the concession stand and bring your own drinks to reduce the cost.
  • See a matinee. A Saturday afternoon matinee will save you several dollars per ticket and will actually be a more enjoyable experience since fewer people attend these showings.
  • Take advantage of movie saver promotions. Most theaters now have a savings card, kind of like what you have for your local grocery store, where they track your expenditures and offer you a free ticket after you reach a certain spend level. These programs cost nothing to join and will continue to reward your patronage year after year.
  • Take advantage of group rates. Get a group of people together to see a flick. Maybe you’d like to treat your child’s daycare group or have a bunch of people over to your local theater to celebrate a special occasion. Regardless of the event, the more people you take with you, the better your opportunity to become eligible for a group rate. Call ahead to make sure that the theater can accommodate your group and that you qualify for a discount.
  • Buy your tickets early. If you are sitting on pins and needles waiting for the next installment of Twilight to come out, you can save a few bucks on your ticket as well as guarantee your seat by buying your tickets early.
  • save money at the movies

    These are just a few of the money saving tips that people are using out there to see the movies for a lot less than retail prices.

    For other great tips on saving money on entertainment, here are some of our articles on the subject:

    If you have other money saving ideas to share, please pass them along!

    Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

    { 14 comments… read them below or add one }

    My Personal Finance Journey July 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Another way to save money at the movies is to skip seeing the movie in 3D. These days, the price of a 3D movie can be 40% more. And, with the technological advances in the picture quality of 2D screens, I get just as much enjoyment out of seeing the movie in 2D!

    Juraat Media July 24, 2010 at 2:12 am

    These days, the price of a movie in 3D can be 40% more; there are also technological advances in image quality 2D screens.

    Anthony July 24, 2010 at 8:19 am

    I find it a bit unethical to “sneak” in sodas, knowing that the theater doesn’t allow this type of activity. If I eat a full meal before a movie, I don’t need anything extra during the movie. Otherwise, those are good pieces of information.

    I didn’t use any of these tips last time. Two tickets for a 3D movie, plus popcorn, some candy, and an ICEE, cost nearly $60!!! Yikes!!! The same experience (minus the 3D) would have only been $20 only a decade ago!

    basicmoneytips.com July 25, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Good tips. I also enjoy going to see a movie at times, it is just something about seeing the show on a big screen.

    I echo the tip about going the concession stand, that is a big rip off. Avoid it if at all possible.

    Depending of the size of your city, there may be a couple of additional money saving tips. First, some radio stations offer premier showings. If you are flexible and just want to be one of the first ones to see a movie, sometimes getting tickets is not overly difficult. The radio station sometimes just gives them away on a first come basis but the show is usually on an off night – like a Monday night.

    Second, some cities have a discount theater that gets the movies after they are several months old but before they goto video. Usually tickets are a couple of bucks, and you get all the benefits of seeing it on the big screen, only a few weeks later.

    Stella July 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I generally see most movies at AMC Theatres where they have a pricing discount of $5-6 for tickets if you see a before noon showing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I also have their loyalty card so I earn free movies as well. Another option is second run movie houses. If you can wait a couple of weeks to see a new release, it’s much cheaper to go to a movie theater which specializes in second run. The one near me is $5 for a matinee (before 6 pm) showing.

    Danny @ Frugal Quack July 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Another tip is to share the cost among friends. One week you treat, the next week your friend treats.

    The Frugal Quack

    The Best Money Blog July 29, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I have a Chase freedom card and they sent me an offer where if I buy 2 movie tickets at I believe movietickets.com, they pay for one. So rather than $20+ to go to a movie, it’s only around $10.

    We also have a $3 movie theater here that gets all the good movies at the tail end of their theater run, so if you wait a month you can save a lot of money.

    CreditShout August 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I would research your movie theater too. I thought I was being smart going to a matinee at my local Regal theater, but it was still $11.50 for a student! There are a few smaller theaters around that don’t have the huge screens or adjustable seats, but the cost is less than half of the big named theaters. Also, check out local drive-ins. There is one by me that shows triple features–all films that are in theaters–and the cost is the same for one movie at a regular theater. They show a family film first, then something that is rated PG-13, and then something that is for adults only. I can knock out all the movies I want to see that month in one evening! And you’re allowed to bring in any snacks you want, though their concession stand is amazing and reasonably priced.

    Peter Dunin September 8, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Good tips, it’s so expensive nowadays. I went the other day to see ‘Dinner for Smucks’ — and it cost me almost £9 pounds

    Debbie M September 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    The theaters I go to charge more to get your tickets early (they add a convenience fee). I save by going to the first matinee of the day. Even on a weekend day of the first weekend of a blockbuster movie, just getting there a bit early (30 minutes) means we’ve always been able to get tickets. My favorite theater has a great pre-show (self-made excerpts of old movies on a similar theme or with the same actors), so I love coming early anyway.

    Apple Bridges September 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    In spite of claims you read on boxes of microwave popcorn, “movie theater popcorn” can only be bought at the movie theater. For me, this is a huge part of the movie experience, so I don’t skimp on it. However, a lot of theaters offer refill deals, and in some cases, a special night, like “bring your own bucket Tuesdays” where you can get a container filled for 50 cents. Since I refuse to forgo the popcorn, I keep an eye out for those sorts of deals. And matinees — definitely!

    John | WaysToSaveMoney.tv October 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Good points! It’s amazing how expensive the concession stand is. Although it can be reasonable if sharing between several people since the difference between small and large is often only fifty cents.

    Mark @ MoneyJibe January 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    If you go to Harkins Theatres (http://www.harkinstheatres.com/) you can buy a 32 oz drink in a plastic loyalty cup for the regular price and then bring it back all year long and get it filled for just $1. The Dickinson Theatres near us in the Phoenix East Valley has an IMAX screen, and they will also fill a Harkins loyalty cup for $1. Their website is http://dtmovies.com/.

    London Bridges February 3, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Amazing, I had my mum go and watch the kids for a day, almost 60 dollars for four tickets plus concessions. Thanks for the advice!

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