Next month, we’re taking our son to Chicago to see the Shedd Aquarium. In preparation for this trip, I decided to show him Finding Nemo, because nothing says “fish are awesome” like that movie. Unfortunately, we’ll have to put a hold on watching it until we can fit in a trip to the library, because it costs $3.99 to rent it from our cable’s “on-demand” channel. That’s a bit outrageous for a ten-year-old movie, if you ask me. While that’s only a fraction of the price we’d pay in a theater, I still wasn’t willing to plunk down the money.
Movies are expensive, but with all the great new movies that came out this holiday season, it can be kind of hard to stay away from theaters. The good news is that there are a few ways that you can save on tickets. So if you’d like to spoil the kids (or yourself) with a trip to the movies this weekend, here are a few ways that you can go without emptying your wallet.
Buy tickets at your savings club
Do you belong to Costco or Sam’s Club? Bulk warehouses are good for buying so much more than food and electronics; in fact, they sell movie tickets at a discounted price. Browsing Costco’s website, I found that they offer a bundle of ten movie tickets for $84.99. Since most theaters charge about $10 a ticket, you’d save 15% by buying movie tickets in bulk.
Join the loyalty program
Check your local theater’s website to see if they have a rewards program. AMC, for example, has the “AMC Stubs” program. It costs $12 annually for membership, but for every $100 you spend, you’ll get $10 back. So if you’re the movies-every-weekend type of family, or if you like to purchase concessions at the theater, this program will help you save a few bucks. Additional perks include free food and drink upgrades at the concession stand, and free service fees if you buy your tickets online.
Go to a matinee
Evenings and weekends are peak business times for most movie theaters. That’s why they often offer tickets to matinee shows at a discount. If you’d like to enjoy a movie without the crowds or the hefty price tag, consider attending a matinee. It could cost as little as half the price of an evening show.
Ask for a discount
Students, seniors, military personnel, and even teachers are often eligible for discounts where entertainment is concerned. Don’t be afraid to ask at the box office if they have a discount for you. The worst that they can say is no.
Go to a smaller theater
We have a historic theater near my house that offers late-run movies for just $3 a ticket. While it only shows one or two different movies at a time, it’s a great way to see new-releases in a theater setting, even if you’re seeing it a few months late. Compared to other theaters near our house, going here is a 70% savings, and the concessions are cheaper too!
Buy a gift card on an auction site
Have you ever purchased a gift card on an auction site? From retail stores to supermarkets and restaurants, you can find a discounted gift card for just about anything online. Try GiftCardGranny.com, an online marketplace that can connect you with gift card sellers. When I searched for AMC Theatres gift cards, I found discounts as steep as 58%. If you’re planning a trip to the movies, discounted gift cards are worth looking into.
Eat before you go
There’s no rule that says you have to buy concessions at the movies. However, there’s one that says you can’t bring your own. Instead of spending $20 a person on snacks you don’t need, eat a decent meal or a snack before you head to the theater. That way you won’t be tempted to blow your budget on goodies. And if you’re thirsty during the movie, you can always ask for a complimentary glass of water.
Going to the movies doesn’t have to be expensive. A little advanced planning will save you at least a few dollars off the price of admission. Do you have any other tips for saving at the movies? Let us know in the comments!