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!