Movies can be the ultimate escape. But one thing that’s hard to escape are the high prices.
A night at the movies can easily set you back $30 or more if you aren’t careful. For those of you who love movies, there are several ways to enjoy movies on a budget.
How to Save Money on Movies at the Movie Theater
Go to the matinee. Sure, it’s not as romantic during the day… but you can shave several dollars off the ticket price.
See an older movie. If you’re not caught up on having to see the newest releases, you can head to a 2nd run theater and grab an older (but still new to you) show for just a couple of bucks a ticket.
Eat before you go. If you’re already full, you’ll be less likely to load up on movie theater food. Most theaters make their money from the concessions, so if you don’t buy any food, you’ll save a ton of money. That said, don’t smuggle in your own snacks – most theaters have policies prohibiting that, and you do want to be able to show your face there again someday.
Check for coupons and deals. If you must have that movie theater popcorn and ice cold soda, look on the theater’s web site for deals. Check to see if your theater is on Twitter or Facebook – if they are, chances are they’ll share special offers and coupons in those places. Movie theaters often have combo deals on drinks and snacks that can help you save money. Or you could get the child size portion and save on cost and calories.
Use Ibotta. Save your movie ticket stubs and receipts. Then download the free Ibotta app and earn cash back on your movie ticket and concession purchases at select movie theaters.
Share a large beverage or popcorn. If you’re with your significant other, get the largest size and share. Many theaters offer free refills on the largest size – but you’ll have to sneak out during the movie to take advantage of that deal. Our theater offers free refills on the largest bag of popcorn. We buy that bag for our family, and before the show starts, I divide the popcorn into bags I bring from home. Then we get a refill. Everyone gets a decent portion of popcorn and we don’t have to pass one big bag back and forth during the movie.
Make friends with a theater employee. Theater employees usually get deeply discounted or free movie theater passes. If you’re friends with a movie theater employee, ask if they can get you a deal. (Don’t abuse your friends’ generosity, though, or you’ll lose the friend!)
Check for weekday discounts. Some theaters offer morning shows for families with younger children. You can even watch FREE family movies at the Mall of America.
Get free tickets with purchases you already make. A lot of companies offer e-movie cash with a qualifying purchase (Kellogg’s and General Mills usually offer free movie tickets at least once a year) so check your cupboards and see if you have some codes you can cash in for for free movie passes. Sometimes Disney and Amazon offer free movie passes with DVD purchases, too.
Skip the 3D option. Sure it can be cool to watch the newest release in 3D. But you’ll pay significantly more for that privilege. See the movie in standard format and save several bucks on the ticket price.
Get rewards. Earn free movie tickets through Swagbucks or MyPoints or through your credit card rewards program. You should also check to see if your movie theater has a loyalty program. Save up your codes from Coca-Cola products and enter them at My Coke Rewards to earn free movie theater tickets, too.
How To Save Money On Movies at Home
If you don’t have to see the hot new movie the second it hits theaters, you can save money on movies by watching them at home. You can save on the actual movie and save a fortune by making your own popcorn and purchasing snacks on sale with coupons.
Borrow movies to watch. Visit your local public library for a wide variety of movies or ask friends if you can borrow a movie from their collections. You can’t beat the cost of free!
Try Redbox. Redbox is an excellent deal for renting movies. But what makes it even better is when you can get free Redbox rentals. Subscribe to texts and e-mails from Redbox and be sure to do a quick internet search for free Redbox rental codes before you head to a Redbox kiosk. You can also cash in your earnings from the free Ibotta app to get free Redbox rentals.
Watch movies on Netflix. If you’re a movie buff, a monthly subscription to Netflix may be the most economical choice for you with plans starting at $7.99 a month. You’ll get unlimited movie streaming or DVDs delivered right to your door for one low cost.
Use Your Amazon Prime Membership. By paying an annual fee of $79, Amazon Prime members not only get free 2-day shipping at Amazon, they also get access unlmited streaming of thousands of movies and television shows. If you love Amazon and movies, and you have a decent internet connection, Amazon Prime will be worth the investment for you.
Find secondhand bargains. Many video rental stores sell old movies at deep discounts. Be sure to check out thrift shops, pawn shops, and garage sales in your area, too. I once got all 6 Star Wars movies on DVD at a garage sale for only $10.
Shop the discount stores. Visit your favorite discount department store to find movies for $5 or less. And always search for DVD coupons for new releases.
Watch movies on TV. If you’ve got a TV with an antenna or a cable or satellite connection, you can go old school and watch movies on TV. I love using my DVR to save money on movies by recording shows – especially during free movie channel preview weekends.
Whether you’re in the comfort of your own home or enjoying the big screen and big sounds, it is possible to save money on movies. Enjoy the escape!
Your turn: How do you save money on movies?
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