Are you a Movie Buff? 4 Ways to Save at the Cinema

If you are older than 30 years old, then you likely remember the days when going to the movie theater was a form of cheap entertainment. Now, by virtue of whatever economic forces are shaping the cost of a night at the cinema, you can expect to spend a good wad of cash for a couple of hours of entertainment. If you are a consistent movie-goer, and especially if you have a family with a few kids, movies can start to eat pretty quickly into your budget. Still, there is a way to be a movie buff and not go completely broke. Here are a few tips:

1. Always have a full meal before going to the movies.

The most egregious expense at the movies is often not the price of the tickets themselves, but the associated costs of purchasing food and drinks. Even though an extra large soda and a big ol’ bag of popcorn sounds like just the thing to hit the spot while watching a move, it all adds up.  Never go to the movies hungry, and if you do want something to munch on, bring something simple (and healthier!) in your purse instead, like a small bag of nuts.  Ask for a glass of water, which is usually served free of cost, and skip the soda.

2. Attend discounted showings.

Almost all movie theaters will offer discounted showings during times when theater is not as crowded. Weekend mornings are the best times to catch such shows, which can save you as much as 50% or more on the typical price. For example, my local theater offers a matinee at 10am each morning, which costs $5, while the usually ticket admission is $15.

3. Take advantage of special discounts (don’t forget your student ID!)

Almost all theaters offer additional discounts for students, those serving in the armed forces, and senior citizens. If you (or a member of movie-going group) falls into any of these categories, be sure to bring with you the proper ID.

4. Thoroughly review and seek recommendations of movies beforehand.

Although this may seem a bit counterintuitive, if you are going to spend some money on a movie, you might as well be as sure as you can that you will enjoy it. In terms of cost-benefit analyses, the less you enjoy the movie, the more money you’ve technically wasted since you didn’t derive much benefit from being entertained. In order to avoid this dilemma, be sure to research the movie you are about to watch thoroughly. Check out sites like Meta Critic and Rotten Tomatoes, which are compendiums of reviews that give you a general idea about the movie’s worth. As friends and family who have similar movie tastes to recommend upcoming films.

Now if you really wanted to save money on movies, all you would need is a little patience until the movie can be found online, in which case you’d watch it for free. But if you really enjoy the experience of watching a movie in a theater-like setting, you can still save money if you are vigilant about your spending.

About the Author: This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas. Jacelyn writes about identity theft protection for She can be reached at: jacelyn.thomas @

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