Saving Money at the Movies

A family trip to the movie theater can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive. When you combine the cost of tickets, popcorn and snacks, drinks, and video games for the kids (every kid wants to play as they pass the arcade in the theater), a family of four can easily spend over a hundred dollars to see a movie. It had better be a really good movie for that price.

There are a number of ways to cut down on the price you pay at the movies. Some portions of the cost can be saved on, others can be eliminated completely. The first thing to go should be the video games. Either visit a theater that lacks an arcade or just tell the kids no. They’re already being treated to a movie; they don’t need to play games too.

Ticket prices can often be saved on by choosing an earlier time. Most theaters offer special discounts on tickets for movie showings before six pm.

Saving on popcorn, drinks and snacks is a little trickier. You basically have three choices in this area. You can skip the snacks and sodas altogether, you can buy less of them and share among everyone, or you can “smuggle” in your own. The latter choice violates the policies of “no outside food or drinks” that all theaters post. They post these because the majority of the theater’s income comes from the concession stands. If you’re not bringing in alcohol, however, most theaters let you slide. It’s a rare occurrence that someone gets kicked out of a movie because they brought in their on Coke or a bag of M&M’s.

Discount theaters are also an option. Most cities have theaters that charge a reduced ticket price. It takes a little longer for the movies to get to these theaters, but if you can wait a couple of extra weeks, you can see the movie for about a buck or so in most of these theaters. The arcade and snack rules can be employed here as well, saving you more.

The final method of saving money on movies is to just not go. Most movies can be enjoyed just as well at home on DVD video as they can in the theater. In fact, the prevalence of DVD and home theater systems may eventually make traditional theater-going obsolete. Rent a DVD for a few bucks, pop it in, and the whole family can enjoy.

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