Five Ways To Save Money At The Movie Theater This Summer

by Hank Coleman

How to save money at the movie theater!I love watching moves. It is actually one of my guilty pleasures, and my wife and I actually spend a lot of money every month watching movies at the movie theater. But, there are tons of great ways to save money watching a movie at the theater this summer. Here are five of my favorites and a separate list of some other great ideas to save money at the movie theater this summer.

Join The Discount Club

Several of the national movie theater chains have rewards programs that can help you save money on tickets and concessions. The reward program members can earn free or discounted movie tickets the more you continue to frequent that specific movie theater chain. Become a member of AMC’s MovieWatcher Rewards program and you will earn two points for each ticket you purchase. Once you have earned ten points, you can redeem them for a free popcorn, and thirty points will earn you a free movie ticket. Regal Movie Theaters offers its movie goers membership in the Regal Crown Club which provides members with one point for every dollar you spend on tickets and four points on every dollar spent on concession items. 150 points earns you a free movie ticket.

Special Week Day Deals At Theaters

Be sure to check to see if your local movie theater has special deals on certain days of the week. My local movie theater has $1 soda and $1 popcorn days. They also have popcorn buckets that you can buy and refill for only a few dollars throughout the summer. My wife has been taking our children around to a local theater this summer that has free movies especially for children in the mornings and deep discounts on a specific day as well.

Don’t Forget Your Credit Card’s Rewards

Some banks and credit cards offer their customers free tickets to the movie theater as part of their credit card rewards programs. For example, Visa Signature offers its cardholders two-for-one movie tickets via Fandango on Fridays. You can also often get $25 worth of “fandango bucks” (good on movie tickets through the Fandango website) for $20, a 20% savings. Deutsche Bank debit cardholders can earn one free pass for every ticket purchased through a loyalty program offered by the bank. Be sure to check with your credit card company and bank to find out about any reward perks they offer.

Buy Your Tickets In Bulk From The Movie Theater

You can buy your tickets online from the large national chains. Regal Movie Theater’s website sells bulk tickets. And, AMC’s website allows you to buy their tickets in bulk too.

Check Out The Matinee

Of course one of the classic ways to save money at the movie theater is to hit the matinee show instead of the regular evening showings. Daytime movies are typically several dollars cheaper or even as much as half the price of an evening ticket.

Honorable Mentions To Save Money At The Movie Theater

  • Skip the concession stand completely
  • Bring in your own candy and drink if the theater does not have a policy prohibiting it
  • Look for deals on sites like Groupon, , etc.
  • Buy discount gift cards at sites like PlasticJungle.com, Giftcardmall.com, or Giftcertificates.comAMC Theaters Gift Cards
  • Buy packs of tickets at a discount from Costco
  • Watch 2 movies in a day. Only need to pay for 1 popcorn/soda because of free refills.
  • Skip the movie theater altogether thanks to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other sites
  • Be sure to follow your local movie theater on Facebook and Twitter for discounts too!
  • Attend second run theaters where movies have been out a while for deep discounts.
  • Clubs that you are a member of may offer discounts. I’ve heard of people saving money by buying their tickets from their local AAA office.
  • Ask for student, senior citizen, and military discounts

Did I miss any great ways to save money at the movie theater? What is your favorite way to save at the movies? Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 522 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

bogofdebt

I attend the matinees and tend to share a popcorn. I drink water now and do try to bring my own (bad I know but better than $3 for a bottle of water!) or drink their free small cups of water.
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Hank Coleman

It definitely makes a world of difference doing those things when you are looking to save money at the movies.
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Smart Military Money

Hank,
I love seeing movies during the summer, especially because theaters always blast the AC. I’m not super keen on the dinner and a movie date, but its major perk is getting to the movie with a full belly. Even the smell of fresh popcorn and liquid butter aren’t appealing after you’ve had a several-course meal.

It looks like you covered everything though. I always ask the lady to take a big purse in case we do want to load up on snacks beforehand. And yes, never forgot your ID so you can get a military, student or senior discount. Glad you pointed that out, Hank.

-Christian L.
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Hank Coleman

You bring up a great point about going to the movies full whether you fill up at home or a restaurant before you get there. Great point! Hopefully, you will fill up at home and save even more money.
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krantcents

I buy group discount tickets which cuts the cost of movies in half.
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Hank Coleman

I have never done that before, but I am definitely going to start doing so now. Where do you buy yours from?
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Sean @ One Smart Dollar

I am a big fan of stopping at Walgreens to pick up candy and pop for a movie. They don’t check my wife’s purse and you save a ton of money off their outrageous prices
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Hank Coleman

You are right, Sean. I feel bad though when I do. I’m a good too shoes, and I don’t like breaking the rules even if it will save me money.
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Edward Antrobus

We almost always attend the matinee.

It’s not a sustainable practice, but if there is a problem complain. When a group sat down next to us a few weeks ago and proceeded to talk through the entire movie, we complained to the theater and they gave us two free passes.
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Hank Coleman

That’s another great tip. Thanks, Edward. I do not complain enough for a bad experience or bad service. I end up just “sucking it up” and being miserable. I should practice what you preach. Thanks!
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William

Those are really great tips you have shared! It will really mean a lot specially during these days when the kids are getting bored at home.
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the thrifty spendthrift

Definitely Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.

We just used a Groupon that was $12 for two tickets + unlimited popcorn. Given that two tickets would have cost us $18 and two orders of popcorn would have been at least $3-$4 each, it was definitely a good deal.
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Daisy @ Add Vodka

I love going to the movies. We live SO CLOSE to one (within walking distance, easily) and it’s just really convenient, but man it gets expensive sometimes! These are all great tips. Despite the whole “no outside food” rules, the boyfriend always buys candy at the dollar store to bring in. I can’t help it though, I love the fro yo at the theater.
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Coupons HQ

We are members at Costco. They sell movie tickets to AMC and Regal theaters at huge savings. A few times a year, they have sales on movie tickets where you’ll pay roughly $6.00 a ticket. These tickets are full featured too, no expiration date and you can see any movie you want. Thats the only time we buy movie tickets and we normally stock up for the year.
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L Bee and the Money Tree

I get the kids popcorn and coke and it is the perfect portion. While not SO easy on the wallet, it is a great alternative. Awesome post!
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Oil and Gas ETF

We usually exchange credit card rewrd points for free movie tickets, keeps the bill low given that the popcorn costs an arm and a leg ;)
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Money Beagle

AMC has recently all but eliminated matinee pricing. I think they have it for one showing, usually before noon. Yeah right. In somewhat coincidental news, the Beagle household no longer frequents AMC movie theaters!
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Robinsh

I never though that we can also save money on our movie tickets that might because I rarely goes to watch movies but then also I would like to say a big thank to you for writing this article because I know some peoples who would love to check it out immediately.
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Joe

Since it’s the summer, consider a drive-in! Many theatres show first-run movies, and you can catch three in a night rather than just one. Meanwhile your ticket could be 50%, even 75% cheaper (especially on car-load nights!). Only tip: make sure to bring a handheld radio if your drive-in no longer has speakers. Keeping the radio on is a good way to waste gas or kill your battery!

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Elizabeth @ Simple Finance

We don’t go to the theater a lot, but when we do, it’s ALWAYS for a matinee instead of the evening showing. Plus, my husband uses his county-issued law enforcement ID, which usually results in a BOGO discount.
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Debt Free Teen

I have been able to score movie premier tickets a couple times!
Chase

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Squeezer @Personal Finance Success

What about having a wife with a big purse and slipping in some candy into it? :)
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