Going to the movies is a classic American pastime.
Whether it’s family night or date night or even a moment to slip off and enjoy cinema by yourself, there’s nothing like being lost in the midst of a good story on the big screen.
However, the big screen also can equal big dollars. Here are a few ways you can be sure to save big the next time you take in a show. I give you my exclusive “How to Save Money at the Movie Theater” guide.
Use reward points
Even though our family doesn’t typically drink Coke products, we regularly collect and enter the reward points found on caps and inside of packaging. Friends and family give us the codes they would typically just throw away, and we spend a bit of time entering them into our account.
Best of all, one of the easiest rewards to save for is good for admission at AMC movie theaters. Many reward point programs have either gift cards or vouchers that you can use at your favorite theater.
Skip the snacks
True confession: I really love movie theater popcorn. In fact, I even have a little technique where I put a straw on that awful for you but oh so delicious “buttery topping” spout so that I can get more of it spread throughout the bottom layers of popcorn.
But the truth is, the snacks at the theater are ridiculously overpriced. It’s better to come after eating a full meal or snack at home than to show up hungry and purchase $50 worth of food.
Check for apps
Cinemark theaters offer special perks to viewers who use their app to put phones in “CineMode” while watching the movie.
That’s right, you can gain discounts or even free food simply for not texting or talking on the phone. The app is free, but you’ll need to open it in the theater to take advantage of the incentives.
If you frequent the movie theater often you might want to join their eClub or see if they have a free reward program.
You might be able to get weekly coupons (most often for concessions) and maybe even a free small popcorn on your birthday just for signing up for their eClub.
As always, use an email address designated specifically for freebies and coupons, so you don’t jumble your inbox with emails from your child’s school and coupons.
Matinees and more
Get acquainted with any special weekly promotions your theater might run. Do they have discounts for senior citizens on certain days of the week? Are there hours when movies are more affordable?
A simple phone call or poking around the theater’s website might yield a treasure trove of results. Especially during the summer, but also sometimes in the spring months, many theaters will offer a free or $1 children’s movie on a Wednesday or Saturday morning.
These films are not recent releases but popular titles from years prior. Check to see if your theater has such an offering.
Pro tip: Arrive early to guarantee a seat as many of these styled promotions have the potential to sell out.
Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. You can still enjoy entertainment as long as you keep within your budget. Hopefully, these tips will encourage you to make the most of your movie experience.