10 Ways to Save Money at the Movies

'Changi T3 Movie theatre' photo (c) 2008, Karl Baron - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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Guest Post By Andrew Kardon

Even if the droopy economy hasn’t saddened your finances, you probably still think twice about heading to the movie theater every weekend. Ticket prices continue to climb (plus that 3D surcharge… Sheesh!) and snacks now cost more than the movie itself. Taking your family to a summer blockbuster can be a full-blown financial event requiring that you take out a second mortgage! It’s going to be hard to miss some of the great movies coming out in the next few months, so here are some ways you can save at the box office.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Yes, it’s technically wrong, and the theaters showing the movies make hardly any money from ticket sales, but why should snacks be so darned expensive? Times are tough and skipping movie theater snacks is better than skipping the movie altogether. Make sure to bring small snacks that can easily fit in your pockets or handbag. Oh, and try to be discreet. Avoid anything with noisy packaging.

Catch a Matinee

If you have kids, it’s likely you attend these quite regularly, but all movies are shown throughout the day, not just family flicks. Check your theater’s schedule to see how early you need to go to catch a cheaper screening. You may have to get up pretty early if you prefer to sleep in on the weekends, but you can always head home afterwards and take a nap!

Sign Up for Rewards

Like so many other businesses nowadays, theater chains tend to offer programs that give you rewards for spending money. Build up rewards and then cash them in for snacks, drinks and even tickets. Rewards programs vary by chain (some are free, some require a small fee), so figure out which type of theater you attend the most and sign up accordingly.

Go to a Drive-in

At drivein  theaters you can catch two movies for less than the price of one at a regular theater. Snacks also aren’t as overpriced as they are at the multiplex, and it’s even easier to bring in your own snacks — or even a whole meal! Again, be aware that theaters make their money from concessions, not ticket sales, so consider getting a burger and some delicious nachos at the concession stand.

Check Your Own Discounts

Are you a student? A senior? In the military? Does your company have any special deals worked out with theaters? If so, you’re probably eligible to receive discounted movie tickets. Browse around the theaters in your area and figure out where you can score the biggest savings.

Get a Dinner-and-a-Movie Combo

Many restaurants that are located near movie theaters will offer deals that allow you to get a reasonably priced dinner and discounted movie tickets in a neat little combo package. Call around to your favorite restaurants and movie theaters and see if they offer this great deal.

Go to a Discount Theater

If you’re not too concerned with seeing movies as soon as they’re released, find out if there’s a discount theater in your area. These cinemas show movies that have left regular theaters, and they price their tickets depending on how much later they’re showing the films. It’s a great way to have a night out without spending a fortune.

Buy in Bulk

In addition to buying toilet paper and olive oil in bulk at stores like Costco, BJs and Sams, you can also get movie ticket packages. Some of these deals are for tickets only, and some are ticket-and-snack combos. Either way, it’s a great buy you should take advantage of if you’re a member of these nifty stores.

Get an Entertainment Book

Entertainment coupon books are full of fantastic coupons and savings for dining, shopping, attractions and even movies. It’s a little cash up front, but the return savings are phenomenal — if you use them that it is. Coupons vary by location (some theaters offer 2-for-1 deals, others offer discounted tickets) so check your area Entertainment Book to find the available deals.

Sign Up with Daily Deal Sites

Websites like Groupon, KGB and Living Social offer all types of deals in your area, including movie ticket specials. There’s no telling when these offers might be available, so it’s best that you sign up for daily emails and check them every day!

Andrew Kardon is the president and co-founder of JoeShopping.com, a social shopping site dedicated to saving consumers money through coupons, hot deals, price comparisons, product reviews, shopping blogs and more.

Are you interested in guest posting on Family Friendly Frugality? Please email me heather @ familyfriendlyfrugality.com. I’m looking for anything in the family friendly/frugal niche, but specifically how-to’s, DIY posts and RECIPES! Must be original content not posted elsewhere.

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

3 thoughts on “10 Ways to Save Money at the Movies”

  1. We buy the refillable bucket of popcorn. Before the movies starts, I put it into another container (Walmart bag, or three cardboard box/drink trays – 1 for each kid) and refill it before the movie even starts.

    When my kids were younger, I would get the large drink as well. Pour it into three courtesy cups, and refill IT before the movie started as well.

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