Going to the movies is a favorite past time for a lot of us. But, it can get pretty darn expensive if you aren’t careful. This is largely due to the fact that the movie production houses set the movie ticket prices, and not the individual theaters. And the theaters don’t really make anything on the movie ticket prices because of that. So that leaves concessions for them to make a profit, which is why they can be so darn expensive. So, over the years, we’ve found some great hacks to help save money at the movies.
Groupon, Living Social & Fandango
Groupon and Living Social are both sites that offer discounts on a ton of different products, services and experiences. Movie theaters just happen to be one of those potential options. We’ve used both of these sites to help us find some great budget friendly family activities in the past, which was awesome!
Since they don’t always have deals running at your local movie theater it’s best to check both sites regularly.
Another great site/app to check out is Fandango. This is a movie app that helps find the movies you are looking for at your closest theaters. But, as an added bonus, they also offer discounts and specials if you become a member.
With the app you purchase your tickets ahead of time and save money on concessions. The way this currently works is once you purchase $15 in concessions, you will then get a $5 gift card from Fandango. However, this can vary and only be on specific items purchased at concessions. So it’s best to double check ahead of time to see what qualifies.
Matinee & Tuesday Movies
One of my favorite movie theater hacks is to go to a matinee instead. Matinees are always cheaper than the prime movie showings. Going to a matinee instead can really help us save us a lot of money right out of the gate.
This is the current price breakdown from our local Regal theater for ticket prices:
- Matinee (Noon – 4 pm) Child & Senior – $7.44
- Matinee (Noon – 4 pm) Adult – $8.14
- Prime (4 pm – Close) Child & Senior – $7.94
- Prime (4 pm – Close) Adult – $10.74
And if you want to save even more money, consider going on a Tuesday instead. A lot of theaters offer a special Tuesday price because that is traditionally the slowest day of the week. Most of the time, the ticket prices hover around $5 – $6 per ticket. I don’t know about you, but I am perfectly fine with checking out a Tuesday flick for major savings!
Late Run Theaters
Another great movie theater hack is heading to late run theaters instead. These theaters specifically gear their showings towards later run movies. This means they don’t show newly released movies as soon as they come out. So, you’ll have to wait a few weeks until the movie is out of the first run theater. But, by doing so, you can save some major money on the movie ticket price.
Most of the time, these ticket prices can be as low as $1 – $2 per showing!
Most major movie theaters have their own website and loyalty club you can join. Usually, when you sign up to become a loyalty member, you some sort of discount right away.
Most of the time this discount is:
- a percentage off a movie ticket
- concessions rewards
- free small popcorn
- free drink
No matter what, I am perfectly fine with free bonuses. So adding this to your arsenal can only help you save even more money at the movies.
Summer Movie Programs
Most theaters have some sort of summer theater program that is geared towards children. The program only runs for a certain amount of weeks and usually has showings during the day only.
During the summer, the kids can get pretty bored, so this is something I have been utilizing for years now. After all, I am all about how to have a great time on a budget!
Usually these summer movies usually run anywhere from $1 – $2.50 per ticket. So, if you are willing to go during the day, and watch some more kid friendly movies, this might be a great option to save money at the movies this summer.
Most theaters also offer some sort of specialty discount. These discounts are geared towards people who fall into the following categories:
- AAA Members
- Government Employees
Not every theater offers all of these discounts. Therefore, it is best to ask if you happen to fall into one of these categories.
Divvy Up the Snacks
Since concessions are usually the most expensive part of the movie going experience, this is where you should try to save the most money. This works really well if you’ve got a group, or children with you. Some of the best tips we have learned are:
- Ask for water cups and fill them up at the water fountain
- Buy the large popcorn and split it up between all of you
- Buy the large candy and divide equally
The best way to split up the snacks is to bring paper bags, or something like it, with you. Since theaters charge for the trays and extra cups, you don’t want to add those into your concessions cost.
Either way, purchasing the large, refillable, options, you will end up saving you the most money. Just performing these simple concessions hacks can really help you save money at the movies!
Save Money at the Movies
Overall, there are so many ways to help you save money at the movies. Some of our favorite options are:
- Groupon, Living Social & Fandango
- Matinees and Tuesday Movies
- Late Run Theaters
- Theater Website
- Summer Movie Programs
- Specialty Discounts
- Divvy Up the Snacks
No matter which options you choose, combining some of these options can really help you save a ton of money. After all, we want to enjoy our movie going experience, but we don’t want it to break the bank at the same time.
What are some of the best hacks you’ve found to help you save money at the movies?