Monday, June 04, 2012

10 tips to save money at the movie theater

The street did a recent article on how to go the movies cheaper and beat the movie crowds.  There is pretty good advice on how to save money   
1.       Go bargain hunting 
If your parents didn't teach you to shop sales or buy by unit price, now is the time to learn. 

The National Association of Theater Owners pegged the average price of a movie ticket at $7.93 last year. A $34.99 four-pack of tickets from Costco may not help folks on the low end of that average, but in cities where movie prices range from $11 to $13 a ticket, those $8.75 tickets to Regal  , Cinemark  andAMC Theatres are basically all-day matinees.BJ's Wholesale Club offers the same four-pack deal, but only for AMC theaters.

This is great advice.   My husband office has discount tickets for sale as a perk of working there.  TheEntertainment book also has coupons as well.
2.      Go early 

AMC theaters have an early bird special of their own for the first show of the day before 11 a.m. Shows start as early as 10 a.m., and seeing a summer blockbuster by noon has far greater rewards than just saving the rest of your day: Those early tickets are only $6 a pop, which is about half price in some markets.

We usually take the kids to the early matinees for the discounts.  

3.      Go off-peak 
Ever go to a movie on a Monday? It's what moviegoing must be like for apocalypse survivors. 

No lines, no waiting and nobody sitting within 10 seats of you. It's a big reason independent theaters hold special events early in the week, but it's also a great way to shake off a particularly miserable Monday at the workplace. If that doesn't fit your schedule, Tuesdays work just as well. Regal theaters not only know this, but will offer you $2 popcorn and drinks to sweeten the deal. 

There are a number of local movie theaters here in Boston on Tuesdays or Wednesday offers tickets for  $5.00 all day long. Great way to see movies cheaper!

4.      Go mobile 
With all the online ticket buying options available, only service charges should compel frugal buyers into waiting on line at the box office. 

Comcast  -owned Fandango's free mobile app chips away even at that argument. If you're cool with service charges, the Fandango app not only lets you buy tickets, but serves as a mobile ticket in some markets. If you're averse to paying more for already costly tickets, the app lets you know if there's a cheaper matinee available and, if so, how many tickets for it have already been sold. It's a good way to avoid crowds and costs without expending much energy.

5. Go all-in 
Rewards programs help make the expensive and unpleasant task of flying a bit bearable. Why shouldn't it do the same for summer movie screenings? 

If you're going to spend a premium to see first-run films anyway, you may as well make it pay. AMC and Regal have rewards programs that offer customers perks for the purchases. Regal's Crown Club gives away free popcorn for every $50 customers spend, but holds out until they spend $300 to give them a free ticket. AMC's Stubs program is a bit more generous, parting with $10 for every $100 spent and sparing customers online convenience fees. The catch? Stubs users pay $12 upfront.

Pretty good deal since popcorn and drinks can be so expensive but these perks are only good if you go a lot.

6.      Go social 
Theater chains aren't opposed to giving away release information and popcorn on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. They're just trying to build a following like everybody else, and all those likes can add up. 

Carmike  and Regal cinemas have each given their social networking customers free concessions in the past, while 7-Eleven partnered with Foursquare on a movie ticket giveaway last summer. Meanwhile, if you're not totally over flash sales, Groupon still offers the occasional $4 movie ticket deal, while Living Social has offered pairs of tickets for $9.

I have gotten the Groupon deal several times for AMC which is pretty cool.  Keep and eye out for those movies. Like your local movie theater they will often send out deals.  I also picked up this deal from Saveology which can give 1/2 price tickets   $12.50 for a Regal Entertainment Group Gift Card ($25 Value) - 

7.       Go on the open road 
Moviegoers who haven't needed a TripTik since the dawn of GPS have another reason to join AAA. 

Auto club members can get tickets to Regal Cinemas for $8 a pop at their regional offices. Yes, that's higher than the national average, but if you're living in New York and paying about $5 above the national average for tickets, that's about a $5 discount, isn't it. It's not a great reason to sign up for AAA on its own, but when your car battery dies on street sweeping day, those AAA services can come in handy.

When I worked in downtown Boston, we had a AAA in our office building and I would often run down there on Friday for tickets. I also bought tickets for gifts for my nieces and nephews.

8.      Go plastic 
Movie tickets are one of those relatively inexpensive throw-ins credit card companies just love. 

Visa  Signature, for example, offers customers two-for-one tickets through Fandango for Friday showings. American Express , meanwhile, will simply hold free showings for its customers and offer pairs of passes to cardholders who pay attention to their rewards updates. This year alone, Amex has given cardholders freebie showings of The Lorax and American Reunion.
Good deal we haven’t personally come across this since we don’t run a balance on our credit card but good to check it out

9.      Go with a gift card 
Is it still a "gift" if you're giving the card to yourself? 

Let's argue that it is. That being the case, discount gift card sites such as  GiftCardGranny and PlasticJungle often offer gift cards from theater chains for as much as a third less than their face value. GiftCardGranny, for example, has offered a $100 AMC gift card for $77 (23% off) and a $25 card for $15 (40% off).

Good deal if you can find it.  I haven’t found really great discounts.

10. Go to a drive-in 
They're a lot tougher to find these days, but moviegoers near one can get their personal space and low prices they can't find at their local theater. 

We usually go the drive in movie once a year while we are on vacation.  We  pack snacks and popcorn and for $20 our whole family of 5 can see  2 movies. It is a lot of fun


Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

Wow! Lots of great ways to save! We don't go to the movies unless it's free since it's an arm and a leg for 5 kids. I'm going to check in going during the week in the morning as a special treat for my kids having a birthday.

Admin said...

We don't go too often either but I don't want to spent that much money on going to the movies when it can be done cheaper!

Melinda said...

I love snagging groupon/Living Social deals. We don't do movies that often but sometimes its a great treat but I don't want to kill the budget for one night out

Admin said...

It is a treat and sometimes those living social/groupon deals are really good.