How To Save Money At The Movies

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Post written my guest poster Michelle

As a busy Mama who works and keeps up after a gaggle of children, runs a household and also has to meet the needs of my sweetheart, life can get pretty hectic. There are bills to pay, errands to run, needs to meet (my own, hubby’s and the children) and there’s almost always something that needs replacing. Although we can’t afford to take a timeout from life and go on vacations whenever the mood strikes us, we do try and find other little ways that will help us take a break and get away from everything every once in awhile.

This can also be a little hard to do because I am always so conscious of our budget and saving money however every once in awhile it doesn’t hurt to deviate from the normal and do a bit of splurging. One of my favorite things to do to treat my family with a good time is take them to see the latest movies. Seeing the joy on everyone’s faces and being able to treat them to the movie theater experience is always a great family activity to invest in. I especially love the experience of watching movies on the big screen and the fact that movie theater popcorn is so delicious doesn’t hurt either. Our most recent excursion to our local movie theater was when I took my family to see the new film Zootopia. It was such a cute, family friendly film but I won’t spoil it and share any details. Suffice it to say, I’d go see it again given half the chance and I think my family would agree.

There are downsides to taking a crowd to the theater and my biggest complaint is the cost. Ticket alone these days are outrageous, especially if you’re taking a family of 5. Add in the cost of snacks (you don’t want to know how much menu prices are at our local theaters) and you’re looking at quite the significant dent in your bank account after it’s all said and done. Of course, if you’re working with a budget and don’t mind getting a little creative, you can save quite a bit even if you are taking a crowd in with you. In the hopes of saving my readers some mega money the next time they decide on a trip to the theater, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ways to save on movie theater prices.

  1. Check to see if your local theater does matinee pricing. In my area our theater does this every Tuesday and instead of paying $14 per ticket for adults and $12 for children, they offer a discount and the matinee price comes out to $6.09 per ticket, unless you have a little one under 3 which makes it free. This is my favorite way to save on movie theater prices. While it doesn’t cover discounts for food, it does help knock the price down on tickets which is great!
  2. Eat before you go. If you’ve been to the theater recently you’ve undoubtedly taken a look at their sky high menu pricing and been shocked at how high the prices have climbed over the years. For a large drink and a large bucket of popcorn you pay just over $20 in my area. Now, when you factor in the size of my family, can you imagine how expensive the food alone would cost for a family of 5. The popcorn we can easily share but if anyone wants extra drinks or even candy, it’s a whole different story. So, always eat before you go and you’ll stand to save a ton on your next movie trip.
  3. Skip 3D showings and IMAX. Those are guaranteed to be twice as much in tickets than your regular showings. If you can do without the nifty glasses and the experience, then this shouldn’t be a problem. I personally prefer to see the regular showings myself.
  4. Buy tickets directly from the box office. Speaking from experience, I know how awesome it is to buy online for the sake of convenience but there’s this little thing called a convenience fee that gets tacked on during checkout that can raise the prices a bit and become a cause of disgruntlement.
  5. Scout your area for discount theaters. I love these. Instead of rushing to see a movie when it first comes out, you can wait a few weeks and find them at your discount theater for drastically less money. This is preferable to me not only because of our family size but also because I don’t like the crush of bodies that come with seeing a movie when it first comes out. Often times, there’s a theater near me that even does $1 days where the tickets are, no joke, $1. It’s amazing. So, scout around in your area and see if you can find a location near you that does discount pricing and you won’t be disappointed at the savings you’ll enjoy.
  6. If you’re buying snacks, divide them  up rather than buying everyone their own. Given the cost of snacks at the concession stands, this will save you oodles in the long run. It might not be popular with the younger ones in your group but it sure will be with your wallet!
  7. Summer Movie Programs are another of my favorite ways to save big on movie theater costs. We have a summer program at our local theater that runs kids movies all summer long for just $1 a ticket, whether you’re an adult or a kid. Of course, under 3 still gets in free but it’s still a great way to save big, especially if you have a group of little ones. Our local theater always has a great selection of kids movies playing during their summer movie program.
These are just a handful of my favorite ways to save while visiting our local theater with my family. Of course, there are still tons of other ways I haven’t listed but if you’re curious or looking to save on your next trip to your local theater just do a little searching or get a little creative and it’ll take you far!