The movies are so much fun! For the kids it’s an exciting adventure, for the parents it’s a chance to relax and enjoy yourself, and for everyone else it’s a chance to go on a date, keep cool during the summer/warm in the winter or just see something fantastic. Unfortunately, the movies aren’t fun for your bank account. It’s not uncommon for a family of four to pay over $50 for movie tickets and snacks! The good news is that there are ways to save money. Whether you choose a discounted theater or eat before you go, you’ll love these ways to save money at the movie theater!
- Choose discounted movie theaters – There are theaters that show older movies and charge as low as $1 – $4 per ticket. This is an incredibly easy way to save money if you have one in your area. These do tend to be older movies, but you’ll still get the experience of seeing a great movie without paying a lot of money. Do a Google search for “cheap movie theaters” along with the name of the city/town you live in to see what’s nearby. Just be aware that snacks and drinks are usually the same price or possibly even higher at these theaters. They try to make their money elsewhere, but it won’t be on tickets.
- Look for discount days – If you want to see newly released movies, check your theater’s website for discount dates. Some theaters offer cheaper tickets on certain days of the week or during certain times. For example, Tuesday is a very popular day to find that theaters are offering discount shows. There may also be “family friendly” shows first thing in the morning that are cheaper (these would be the shows where there will be many babies and small children, so keep that in mind!) In some cases, you’ll save around 40% off your tickets or pay only around $5. This is such a great way to see the movies you really want to see without paying a lot of money. Best of all, the theaters are much less crowded during the week!
- Eat before going to the movies – If you find yourself spending a lot of money on snacks and drinks at the theater, eat before going to the movies. Concessions are where movie theaters make the bulk of their money because of the markup food and drinks, so if you can avoid that counter, your wallet will thank you. Even if you have fast food, it can be so much cheaper than paying the high prices for movie concessions. Once you’ve eaten, grab a few of the smaller boxes of candy to share or just bring a pack of gum with you and give everyone a piece. If your kids want more snacks, make them use their own money.
- Check for special programs – Another great way to save is to look for special programs. During the summer, theaters often have free showings of kids’ movies. Some cities (like Chicago) will offer free movies in the park. This is such a great way to get the kids out of the house without spending a lot of money! On some rare occasions, popcorn and drinks may also be free. Check your local theaters, city or town websites and local park districts to see what programs are available.
- Sign up for loyalty programs – Last, but not least, look for loyalty programs. Some theaters have programs that will allow you to get discounts on certain days of the week and/or on certain snacks. Some will allow you to save on Fandango transaction fees (like the AMC Stubs program), some send out weekly coupons and others will allow you to buy a special popcorn bucket and get discounts on refills at future visits. Each theater is different, so ask what is available and start saving!
The movies don’t have to be super expensive! There are so many easy ways to save money, you just have to know what to look for and what to stay away from. Do you have any other ways of saving money at the movies? Let me know!