Hitting 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.
- Take the family to a matinee. Most theatres offer a considerable discount for the earlier viewings.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Shop for discounted movie passes through your employer, warehouse store, association, or club.
- Have the kids earn their trip to the movies by completing extra chores around the house.
- Join your theater’s membership program. These “frequent buyer” programs allow you to build points toward discounted tickets, drinks, and snacks.
- Avoid gimmicks like 3D, IMAX, or DBOX. Upgraded seats can sometimes double the cost of a ticket.
- 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.
- 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!