10 Ways To Save Money At The Movie Theater

No lie, I've went to the movie theater nearly every weekend since January. Almost every. Single. Weekend. And some movies I've seen twice (or three times, if you're Girls Trip!). 

There's just something about relaxing in those plush chairs, munching on buttered popcorn and seeing Hollywood heartthrobs on a huge screen that keeps me going back for more. While I'm happy to breathe in the theater air, my bank account isn't always smiling. I believe in financially supporting good films, but all those tickets can take a toll on a girl's already stretched paycheck. (I mean c'mon I do live in New York).

Luckily I've found a few ways to cut corners and save money without having to ditch my weekly movie date. Here's 10 ways you can do the same, and don't worry, you'll still be able to afford the popcorn! 

1. See a matinee

No brainer: The most obvious way to save money is by hitting the theater at off times since matinee showings are usually discounted by a few dollars. I'm not a big morning person, but I'm also not really a people person. Matinees are not only a good way to save cash, but also one of the best times see a movie uninterrupted. Theaters are quieter, you have your choice of seats and no sharing the armrests. Score!

2. Flash your ID

I'm like the only person on the planet who no longer can find their student ID. Total bummer. But, if you're one of the lucky few who can or is you know still an actual student, don't hesitate to whip out that card and start asking for discounts. 

But: I do have a military ID though, and it works just as good. Curse the day when it expires. 

3. Spring for the kids pack

Okay, I LOVE movie theater popcorn, but those buckets are hella big. Even the regular/small sizes are a little too much. And honestly towards the middle of the movie, I'm tired of chewing and would rather focus entirely on watching what's happening. So, no reason to waste money on the full-sized snack. Instead I get the kids size. Perfect portions, perfect (low) price and best of all I get a drink AND candy. 

Bonus: If you're feeling particularly cheap just bring your own snacks. I mean that's what big, tote purses were made for, right? Not that I've ever done this or anything. *smiles*

4. Go social

Take a break from stalking your exes social media pages and instead check the theater's (or the film's!) Facebook and Twitter pages before buying your tickets. Sometimes there are special offers for social media followers (i.e. FREE tickets!). 

5. Learn some loyalty

If you're like me and go to the movies every weekend, then do yourself a favor and become a member of the official-movie-goers clubs. Theater chains like Regal and AMC have special discounts and rewards for members of loyalty programs, so it doesn't hurt to sign up for a frequent-buyer card. Benefits for both are below.

Regal Crown Club: Free to join, and rewards include free popcorn and drinks, and a free movie for each $150 you spend

AMC Stubs: A $12 annual fee, and you’ll get free concession "upgrades" and a $10 credit for every $100 spent

6. Forego 3-D

 I can't think of a single time that I've paid the extra $3-5 for a 3D movie. Point blank: Most don't warrant the extra cost. My advice is to do some research. If a movie is receiving high praise for visual effects go for it. But, don't just drop the cash for the plastic glasses before seriously asking yourself if it’s worth the up charge.

7. Go solo

Ah! The benefits of being single! Number one: I ain't got to take nobody to the movies with me, which means one ticket, smaller snack sizes and a happy wallet. If you aren't as fortunate to be single full-time, it might be worth the money to leave your bae at home and enjoy the flick by yourself. 

8. Sign Up for Theater Newsletters

Along with signing up for a loyalty program, sign up for newsletters, emails and promos with your local theaters. You’ll probably have to wade through a lot of junk email, but you might be rewarded with coupons, give aways, special discounts or freebies. And who doesn't love movie freebies!?

9. Avoid Reservation Sites 

I'm a diva and like booking tickets in advance since I typically see films on opening night. Therefore I like buy my tickets using third-party sites like Fandango. BUT, doing this adds a “convenience fee” on top of the admission price, and you’ll end up paying more. Combat the need for this by simply getting to the theater early and being first in line.

10. Make a friend in Media

It pays to have friends like me! Magazine editors, employees of media/TV companies, and people of the arts get invites to studio-hosted screenings. And typically, we can bring guests! Sure we'll have to wait in line super early (since most are overbooked to ensure capacity), but they're free and often times held BEFORE the film even hits theaters. #BestWorkPerksEver

Hopefully this helps you movie lovers and your wallets!
How do you save money at the theater? Let me hear in the comments!

25 Before 25

I've always been a dreamer, but now it's time to be a doer. 

I’m currently 23 and feel the years slipping through my fingers. In about two months I'll be turning 24, making me a year a way from the inevitable quarter-life crisis. While I've accomplished a lot in my life so far (and am totally grateful for that!) there's so much still that I want to do.

You might not know it, but I'm a highly ambitious person. I have lofty hopes and dreams and rather than letting life happen to me, I want to take a bit more control. So I decided to create a bucket-list of sorts – 25 things I want to accomplish before turning 25. It's a mixture of personal and professional with the best part being that everything is totally doable in the next year. 

Before my 25th birthday on October 9, 2018 I want to:

  1. Visit a drive in theater
  2. Pay off my credit card
  3. Get into film school
  4. Live alone
  5. Go to Disney World
  6. Get a second tattoo
  7. Run a 5K
  8. Host a vision board party
  9. Write a TV pilot/film 
  10. Go on a cruise 
  11. Visit a dine-in theater
  12. Start writing a book
  13. Volunteer on a major holiday
  14. Buy a car
  15. Go to a concert DONE: On October 2016 I saw Beyoncé live and it was the greatest thing ever! 
  16. Have my palms read
  17. Meditate for a week straight
  18. Binge-watch a 90s show
  19. Blog for an entire year
  20. Go to a film festival
  21. Take a vacation with my family for the first time ever
  22. Go on a movie site tour
  23. Go one day without hitting snooze
  24. Bake something entirely from scratch
  25. Attend a writers workshop 

What’s something you suggest everyone does before turning 25?

‘The Incredible Jessica James’ Perfectly Captures The Quarter Life Crisis

Talking about your ex to anyone who’ll listen and casually going to a place they frequent just so you can “accidentally” run into them. Dancing around your apartment like no one’s watching. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. Looking at your life and wondering if things are ever going to get better.  

Almost every twenty-something-year-old can relate to doing these things at some point. And that's exactly why Netflix original film The Incredible Jessica James is well...incredible when it comes to capturing what it's like to be a millennial. 

I’ve watched over 500+ films in my life (and that doesn’t even include cartoons or Lifetime movies) and never have a seen a rom-com featuring a quirky, black girl. So, when I heard about this new movie on Netflix I eagerly scheduled a “chill” session with myself to see what it had to offer: And let me say that I was completely blown away.

Full transparency: This chill session happened to occur at work. Fight me. Sometimes I need a break from working. Nonetheless, my cubicle partner can attest to just how much I smiled and laughed at my iPhone for that 85 minutes. Hopefully she didn't see me tear up, because Lord knows I did that too. 

Full of dry humor and tons of “dope” references, it stars actress and comedian Jessica Williams, as the titular character Jessica James, a 25-year-old aspiring playwright who lives “deep, deep, deep in Bushwick” and has just returned to the dating scene after having her heart broken by Damon (Lakeith Stanfield). To kick her blues, her sassy/aspiring actress best friend Tasha (Noël Wells) hooks her up with Boone (Chris O’Dowd,) a sad divorcé who is as unsure about getting back into the dating game as she is. 

While it did have some cliche rom-com moments, Jessica James never wallows over love, and neither does Jessica. I loved that the film's focus wasn’t solely on her relationship status, but more about how she balances being a struggling (i.e. failing in her mind) playwright and still putting on a brave and encouraging face for the kids she works with at her nonprofit children's theater job. 

That alone made this film worth watching. So many twenty-somethings like myself have this "ticking clock" syndrome where we feel like we're not accomplishing things fast enough for our age. And social media doesn't always make things better. Let's be honest. It actually makes the jealousy worse, unfortunately.  Then when we least expect it we meet someone who lets us know that everything is going to be okay. Just ask Jessica. 

Towards the end of the film, when she takes the children from her theater class on a writers’ weekend, she finally encounters her idol (actual playwright Sarah Jones!) and what she tells Jessica next about how to know when you've "made it" forever changes her career trajectory (for the better). 

I won't spoil it, but Sarah's words on finding and doing what you love really hit home for me and reminded me to take a breather. Life isn't going anywhere and that success isn't rooted only in awards. 

Point blank: Jessica’s confidence in the face of a world that seems determined to beat her down is her defining characteristic, and Williams conveys it beautifully in her performance. Her fun dance sequences, the complicated relationship with her traditional suburban Ohio family, that kickass purple jumpsuit and hilarious daydreams about her ex, make this Netflix original a winner.

The best line? When Boone tells her that he really likes her. Her response: “Of course you [like me]. Everybody does. I’m freaking dope.”  <---More leading ladies with confidence like this, please! 

Take my word for it and go see how dope she really is. 

'The Incredible Jessica James' is currently streaming on Netflix.

Photo Courtesy of Netflix