8 Tips to Help Save at the Movie Theater

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Summer is approaching and parents are scrounging around finding indoor activities to keep the kids busy and cool. I have to admit, going to the movies is a fun activity, but it can break the bank if you have a large family.

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In order for me as a single parent to be able to take my children to the movie theater, I must keep in mind these frugal tips when treating my gang to the latest. 

Yes, I would love to bring in my own candy and drinks in the movie theaters, but it’s against their policies. I have to admit, I have been a guilty culprit of participating in this what seems to a be a harmless crime. But after I gave it much thought, I realize I was only teaching my children to be dishonest. Sorry for bursting your bubble, but it’s just wrong. 

 9 Tips to Help You Budget at the Movies

  1. Purchase Tickets at Sam’s or Costco. You can simply go to customer service and ask them about discounted tickets for your local movie theater. I would inquire about other savings in regards to entertainment, too. You will be surprised.
  2. Attend Afternoon Show Times. It’s a big savings if you attend during the afternoon instead of  the evening. Also, it’s less crowded and you just might have the entire theater to yourselves.
  3. Purchase Tickets at Box Office. I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased my tickets online, but it’s more expensive and I didn’t know for the longest time. Just make sure you leave enough time to stand in line if you are go during the busy times. I always go in the afternoons, so I rarely every have to wait.
  4. Bag Your Popcorn. This is one of those genius ideas in my frugal mother’s book. I bring brown sacks that I buy at the dollar store. I divide up the popcorn that I purchase and give each child their own bag. They are always satisfied.
  5. Check out Online Coupons. Always check your local theater’s website, sometimes they have coupons. 
  6. Inquire about Summer Movie Camps. Almost all local theaters have a summer camp with next to nothing movies. Usually they are older movies, but kids don’t care. 
  7. Skip 3D/IMax Options. This is just something that is truly unnecessary in my book. Yes, it’s cool for about the first 10 minutes, but then it’s annoying. The 3d/IMax movies are always more expensive.
  8. Buy Tickets in Bulk. Usually you can buy tickets in bulk. Inquire at the box office or go on the theaters website. Watch out for the expiration date. You don’t want to buy in bulk to only have them expire on you.

These are a few of the little things that I take in consideration when taking my gang to a movie. We only go to the movie theater as a treat or a special occasion. We don’t make it a habit. 

We are a homeschool family so we have a little bit more flexibility than most, but you can take advantage of these tips in the summer months or during school holidays.

Do you have any tips to save at the movies when you take your family?


  1. 1) Unless it’s a “must see” we wait till the the film hits the dollar movies (actually $1.50 but you know what I mean). If it is a must see, we see a weekday matinee. That is usually significantly less expensive.
    2) We usually get a treat meal before the movie (ie Happy Meal) or an ice cream treat on the way home. Way cheaper than movie snacks and I’m teaching my kids not to mindly munch during movies.

  2. i went to the movies today for the first time in over a year. After paying almost $8 for a ticket (afternoon) I bought a bottle of water. A 20 oz bottle of water was $4.75. I will not feel guilty for putting a bottle of water in my purse before I go to the theater again. I think that was highway robbery of their customers.

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