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Money-Saving Tips for Going to the Movies

Are you a cinephile? While movie tickets don’t come cheap, there are strategies that make it possible to see plenty of films in theaters without busting your budget. Use these tips to enjoy the magic of the movies without feeling guilty about spending money on entertainment.

Use Your Affiliations

Are you a student, senior or member of the military? You may be eligible for discounts when you buy tickets to the movies. Some memberships can come with discounts as well, such as AAA, Costco or Sam’s Club. Certain movie theaters may offer different discounts for these affiliations, so shop around a bit to see which theaters offer you the best prices.

Go to a Matinee

Matinee movies cost usually cost significantly less than evening showtimes. If you’re able to go to the theater during the early afternoon, you can save a good deal on your ticket price.

Join a Loyalty Program

If you have a local theater you frequently go to, make sure to ask if they have a loyalty program. These programs are typically free to join or have a low annual subscription fee. You can get nice perks and/or rack up points for every purchase that you make, which can add up fast if you like to go to the movies a lot.

For example, AMC has two options for loyalty programs. The AMC Stubs Insider program is free and includes free refills on large popcorns, $5 tickets on Tuesdays, and a $5 reward for every 5,000 points you earn. If you upgrade to the AMC Stubs Premiere program for $15 per year, you get all the Insider Perks plus free popcorn and fountain drink size upgrades and priority lanes at the box office and concessions. The Premiere program also gives you 100 points per $1 spent, while the Insider program offers 20 points per $1 spent.

Regal Crown Club is another loyalty program available to use at Regal Entertainment Group theatres. When you sign up, you’ll earn credits for box office and concession purchases which can be used to redeem concession items, movie tickets and more. Members get 100 credits for every $1 spent and can use a convenient online Reward Center to redeem their credits.

Sign Up for a Movie Ticket Subscription

MoviePass became a huge hit when it first premiered its monthly movie subscription where members could see one movie per day every day for a low price of just $10 per month. Unfortunately, that program has experienced a lot of growing pains and has limited access to movies considerably. Now, the $10 per month fee gets you into just three movies per month, with limits on which movies and showtimes are available each day, plus ticket discounts for other movies.

The good news is that the initial popularity of MoviePass inspired some theater chains to come up with their own subscription service. For example, the Cinemark Movie Club offers one ticket to a standard 2D movie for $9 per month. That’s not a huge discount on a single ticket, but the club lets you roll over unused tickets to the next month so they don’t go to waste. In addition, you get 20 percent off concessions with your membership. This is a great fit for someone who likes going to the movies but doesn’t see themselves going much more often than once per month.

AMC also has a movie ticket subscription program called AMC Stubs A-List. This program includes three movies per week for $20 per month. It includes IMAX and 3D movies along with other loyalty perks like concessions discounts, priority lanes at the box office and concessions, and 100 points earned for every $1 spent. This program is a better fit for a real film buff who likes to see lots of the newest releases every month. Keep in mind that both the AMC Stubs A-List and Cinemark Movie Club can only be used at those specific theater chains.

There’s also a service similar to MoviePass that doesn’t tie to a particular chain of movie theaters. Sinemia offers a wide range of individual and family plans that start as low as $5 per month for one movie ticket per month. Plans prices increase if you want to have two, three or 30 movie tickets per month. There aren’t any limitations on which theaters, days or showtimes you can attend and 3D and IMAX movies are included.

Loyalty programs and monthly subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular, so be sure to look into these options. They can be a great way to factor entertainment expenses into your budget so you can have fun while being frugal. If you’re ready to save more money on going to the movies, be sure to use one or more of the tips listed above. If you’re smart about how you spend at the movie theater, it’s possible to enjoy exciting new films without going over your monthly budget.

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