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One of the most popular date night activities is going to the movies. However, this can be expensive especially in this day and age. It is not uncommon to drop $30-40 at the movies per trip. But there can be money-saving strategies that can be incorporated into movie night. Just because you were trying to say money doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. Here are the top 8 tips for saving money on movie date nights!
This post was originally published on 10/17/2018 and updated on 4/24/2021 to reflect accurate and updated information.
1. Stay in vs going out
One of the simplest ways of saving money for a movie date night is to stay in. This can be as simple as finding a good movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Other options include renting on iTunes or Google Play. You can save quite a bit of money by implementing this rather than going out to the movies, especially if you have Netflix as this is not an added cost.
The cost of a movie on Google Play or iTunes is right around $4.99 and $5.99. This is cheap compared to a single movie ticket at the theater which can run from $7.99 to $13. There is also the option to rent a movie through Redbox for $1 per night. This can be quite a savings if you go multiple times a month or even over the course of a year.
2. Evening vs Afternoon
Another simple strategy for saving money when you go to the movie theater is timing. You can save money by going to a matinee rather than an evening showing. This is usually a couple of dollars per ticket. During this time, there is often fewer people as well; so you may have free range for seating. This doesn’t save a great amount of money but if you going to the movies once a month for two people, You can save that at least $50 a year. This along with other strategies helps keep more money in your pocket.
3. Eating before or after
Another part of the date night that you can save money on is whether to eat before or after the date. Food at the movie theater tends to be more expensive, especially with theaters that provide meal service as well. Eating at home before the movie can save quite a bit of money. Even just having a snack before going to the movies can save a bit of money so that you are not paying a higher price than you normally would for a snack such as nachos or popcorn.
4. Skip the special versions
For this, go to a regular screening of the movie instead of going to an IMAX or 3D version. These are usually more expensive and this can be a simple measure to save. Some of these may be worth the premium experience but overall you’ll have a great time either way. Some movies, like the Avengers, do really well with 3D but others that are remastered to make them 3D, often fall short. These are the ones I recommend avoiding in 3D and saving the extra cash.
5. Summer discounts
Some movie theatres will have a summer program where you can buy a pass ahead of time and see a certain number of movies during that time. I have seen a couple of theaters that you can see unlimited movies during that time but this tends to be rare. Some theaters will bring back older movies for free during the days of the week. Which would be a great option for saving money on movie date nights. This is more often for kids, but sometimes they will have movies for adults as well. This can still save you money; especially if you don’t mind a movie date for kids’ movies.
Update: Many of the discounts that would take place in the past have gone to the wayside. However, this may reverse course as theaters try to bring more people in within the next few months. The discount may not be as good as in the past but if they are available, make sure to take advantage.
Groupon has become the mecca of money-saving deals. For any purchases or times you’re planning on going out, check Groupon. You can find deals on pretty much anything from gift certificates, goods, and getaways. Occasionally you may find coupon deals for movie theaters such as a discount on gift certificates. It is also a good idea to plan ahead and look for deals around the holidays or black Friday. You may be able to score great deals that you can save for the next year. Or even give as gifts for birthdays or holidays.
7. Pay at the box office
You can save a bit of cash buying your tickets at the movie theater. Sometimes convenience is great, such as preorders but this usually comes with an extra charge. Save your money until you get to the theaters and wave the surcharge that the online sites add on. This is only worth the extra charge if you are planning on seeing a movie on opening night. In this case, save yourself a headache and splurge a little.
Updated: this is has changed quite a bit over the past year. Now there are some limitations on booking last minute depending on the theater. Part of this is due to the limited number of guests in the theatre at any given time. With time, this should get back to somewhat normal circumstances.
8. Using the point system
Some movie theaters will have a point system to redeem for cheaper or free tickets later on. This can help save money in the long run. If your theater has this type of program, make sure to sign up. For instance, a local theater here gives you one point for dollars spent at the theater. If you save up to 75 points you are able to redeem for a free large popcorn and a free movie.
Another way to use a point system we go to the movies is to use a credit card. this works if you get points for purchases. You’re able to save up and redeem them later on. A benefit of this may be with a Chase card and saving for airline miles. The biggest thing here is to pay off the credit card often.
Another Point base system, which is very specific, is the Disney Movie Rewards. This is only applicable if you are a member. Once you have an account, you’ll be able to upload your ticket stubs from Disney movies to redeem for points. you can later use these points for merchandise or movies.
The price of movies has risen substantially within the past few years but there are ways to prevent it from breaking the bank. These are just a few of the simpler strategies on saving money on movie date nights. Planning ahead is definitely the key to saving a lot of time and money. It’s always good to splurge every once in a while but these will make it so you don’t have to. There has been a lot that has changed over the past year but we may see things improve within the next few months.