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10 Ways to Unlock Cinema Satisfaction

Saving Money at the Movies
A trip to the movies can quickly empty your wallet. How does a family on a tight budget combat such costs?

Saving Money at the MoviesHitting up your local theater with your family sounds great, especially on a rainy day. But when you factor in the costs of exorbitantly priced snacks and tickets (ranging from $9 to $13 for an adult ticket in the U.S.), a trip to the movies can quickly empty your wallet. How does a family on a tight budget combat such costs? Before you settle in with a DVD, try these cost-cutting ideas.

  1. Take the family to a matinee. Most theatres offer a considerable discount for the earlier viewings.
  2. Check out the independent theatres in your area for cheap flicks. Many smaller, independent theatres offer “second runs” of popular movies. These are movies that have already been out for a few months but haven’t been released to DVD or streaming services.
  3. Bring your own snacks. Theaters frown upon this practice, but when you’re on a budget every penny counts. Tuck bags of snacks into pockets or purses and snack responsibly!
  4. Better yet, don’t buy snacks at all. Keep your family from over indulging at the movies by eating lunch (or dinner) before you leave home.
  5. Shop for discounted movie passes through your employer, warehouse store, association, or club.
  6. Have the kids earn their trip to the movies by completing extra chores around the house.
  7. Join your theater’s membership program. These “frequent buyer” programs allow you to build points toward discounted tickets, drinks, and snacks.
  8. Avoid gimmicks like 3D, IMAX, or DBOX. Upgraded seats can sometimes double the cost of a ticket.
  9. Take advantage of discount days. Theaters want to attract customers, especially when kids are on school vacation, and often offer screenings of family films at a lower price point.
  10. Shop around. Theaters owned by the same company may offer different prices in different locations. If you don’t mind a little extra travel time, you may be able to save money on ticket prices.

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good film. Share your family’s strategies on saving big bucks at the big screen in the comments below!

About the author

Diane Pawar

Diane Pawar

Dr. Diane Pawar is an educator, author, and consultant in the field of Education. Diane received her doctorate in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design for Online Learning. She currently resides in California where she continues teaching K-12 students and consulting with the Pawar Group.

  • Some movie review sites let you know if the movie is worth seeing
    in 3D, IMAX or not. And during the summer, certain theaters show older movies
    at discounted rates just to get people to come in. It’s fun seeing those
    older movies for cheap!

  • Jana | Merlot Mommy

    I love the discount theaters! I actually hate 3D because it’s hard to watch unless you have the perfect seats. And even then it’s a pain. I love getting the opp to screen movies…save a ton of money!

  • Katie

    We go to 4-6 movies a month as a family. We are really picky about our movie experience 🙂 It’s our one treat!

  • Jen St Germain Leeman

    We always bring snacks. I used to load candy into my purse but now I carry water bottles and sunflower seeds to snack on during the movie. It’s more cost effective and WAY healthier too!

  • Tatanisha Worthey

    these are great tips– we always bring our own snacks! Saves sooo much money!

  • McKell

    Concessions are how movie theaters make most of their money and stay in business. It seems pretty dishonest to be encouraging people to disrespect the rules. If you want to eat your own snacks wait until it comes out on redbox and watch it at home.

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