Thrifty Persons Guide To Watching Movies On The Big Screen For Less


10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money At The MoviesPopcorn enjoyed for free last time we watched a movie on the Big Screen for less

The least expensive way to enjoy a movie is of course to watch it at home using either a free redbox code or by borrowing a DVD from your local library.

However there is just something about watching a movie on a  screen so large it could not possibly fit in your living room.
For times like that here are a few tips I have learned to watch movies on the big screen for less.

1. Purchase discounted gift cards for your local movie theater

Companies such as Plastic Jungle and Cardpool often offer gift cards to national movie chains for discounts of 10% or more.

2. Attend matinees

In our town you save $2.25 per ticket when you go to a movie before 6pm. For our family of five that saves us $11.25.

3. Find a last run movie theater near you

If you live in a larger center your town may have a last run movie theater with low admission prices. These movies are not new releases, in fact sometimes they might be so old that the DVD is coming out in just a few weeks, however there is just something about the big screen that makes for a fun family outing and these last run theaters can help you bring that experience for less.

4. Look for Special Days

The last run theater is just $2 on Tuesdays in our area. Our local theater gives out free popcorn all day on Tuesday which is a big hit with our kids because normal we make them go without (see more on this in point 9).

5. Follow daily deal sites

Daily deal sites like Groupon often offer movie packages. Read the fine print before you buy to make sure you know of any restrictions that may apply.

6. Watch out for free summer movie programs

Theaters often offer a free movie once a week during summer break. These tend to be movies that are already out on DVD but again it is nice to enjoy the big screen theater now and again, and if it is super hot outside the break can be refreshing.

7. Cash in your Swagbucks  or Recycle Bank Points for movie gift cards and coupons

For 1000 Swagbucks you can purchase a $10 Fandango card that you can use towards your online purchase of movie theater tickets for your local theater. Recycle bank offers a  $2 off any adult movie ticket at Regal Entertainment Group Theaters  for 150 points or a free ticket for 2500 points.

8. Cash in you mycokerewards points for free movie gift certificates

For 940 mycokereward points you can purchase two tickets to AMC theatres.

9. Stay away from the snack counter

All your savings for the above 8 points could be blown in a feast of over priced pop and  high calorie laden popcorn. Our family avoids it by going right after meal time and promising the children a snack off the dollar menu at their favorite fast food joint on the way home.

10. Double dip the savings

You can save by using any of these tips alone but you can save even more by combining tips.

Here is an example a no discount night out for our family

Regular Movie Tickets For Our Family Of 5: $6.75 x 5= $33.75

Snacks at the theater: $5×5=$25 (I am estimating, I have not bought snacks at a theater in yrs)

Total cost of a night out no discounts for our family of 5 = $58.75

Here is an example of a double dipping (actually triple dipping) discounting night out for our family

Matinee movie tickets bought with a 10% off discount gift card: $20.25

Cost of snacks when we go on free popcorn day: $0

Total cost of a double dipping discounting afternoon: $20.25

We saved $38.50 which is enough to go to another movie and still have significant change left over.

So now that you know how to save money at the big screen, I would love to know which types of movies do you love the most?

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  1. What a great post! I love these tips! I also always try to go to the matinee showing if possible. Another tip that might work for some theaters is to ask if they have a rewards program — my local chain of theaters has a rewards card that not only can get you discounted ticket prices, but that also gives you points for each movie you attend, and then you can redeem your points for free concessions. That’s the only time I get popcorn — to use up my free concessions points! 🙂

    My favorite movies to see in theaters are generally romantic comedies, but action movies can be fun too — especially on the big screen!

  2. Danielle B says:

    We also use a rewards card, and we bring our own snacks. Through my job I can get discounted tickets for $6.50! (And can use on all movies,a little more for 3D movies, or movies that no discounts allowed for 10 days, I’ve noticed lately that most movies, no longer have that exception).

    The price of regular tickets in my area is $10.50, so we can save a bunch of money right there! Plus, we do bring our own popcorn or candy, and a drink.

  3. Wow! I’ve stayed away from taking the kids to movies unless I get the preview passes through blogging because I’m afraid of spending a lot.

    I know we have the free kid movies in the area, too. I should take advantage of those.

    Great tips for Fabulously Frugal Thursday!

  4. It’s been about a year since we went to the movies. We always went to matinees in the past, but have found ourselves using Netflix’s instant streaming service. It saves us a ton of money because not only are we saving tons of money on tickets and concessions, the closet theater is over 30 miles from our home, so it offsets the $7 a month subscription.


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