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Enjoying the Movies Without Breaking the Bank

By Amanda Formaro

Is one of your favorite forms of entertainment the movies? We love them, too, but what a drain on your pocketbook! Try some of these great ideas to save some money and still see your favorites.


Most movie theaters offer a discount for movies during the day. Go right after the kids get out of school, take a long lunch break, or go on the weekends.


The high cost of popcorn and soda at the movie theatre is enough to make one faint. Try to eat a meal just before the movie, or promise the kids a sweet snack AFTER the movie that you have prepurchased and have waiting at home. Even a visit to the local Dairy Queen will cost less than the candy and snacks at the theatre. Remind children that drinks during the movie will just make them want to use the facilities anyway, and they will miss the good parts when they have to take a bathroom break! Always check to see if the theatre offers any refills for bonus bag purchases, or see if they will provide you with free small sized cups and buy a large drink to split among you and the kids.

AAA Discounts

AAA actually offers its members a discount on movie tickets. In some cases you can save as much as $3 off the price of a ticket. For information about AAA discount movie tickets, go to and type in your Zip code. Click on "member services"; you'll see a link for movie tickets. You'll have to have your AAA membership number handy to get details.

Local Dollar Theater

Sure, they don't carry the newest things, but they do tend to carry the most popular, so you can still see most of your favorites at greatly reduced prices.

Big Screen vs. Small Screen

Is it necessary to see it on the big screen? If it's not a movie with breathtaking panoramas, maybe it's worth renting it (or getting it on Pay Per View). For less than the cost of ONE movie ticket, you (and any friends you want to watch it with) can see anything you want (including the ones you missed the first time around in the theater). Plus, homemade popcorn is much healthier than the popcorn you get from the movie theater!

Buying Videos

Search through the previously-viewed section at your local video rental outlet. These are movies that are no longer rented out as often, and the store is trying to recoup some of their costs. You may get bargains as low as 99 cents each but usually will pay approximately half the cost of the new movie (7.99 or so). You can also purchase videos at discount prices by shopping at or eBay.

Libraries and Churches

Your local library probably carries quite a selection of movies. Libraries allow you to keep the videos much longer that a video rental outlet. Standard library video rental is 7 days compared to 1-2 days at video stores. The best part is there is no rental fee, it's all free! Another place to check would be your local church. Many churches now offer movies on loan for free to their congregation.

Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She is also the owner of Magazine at Where she also publishes a weekly newsletter called Frugality Corner. To subscribe to Frugality Corner send any email to  Check out a sample of this newsletter here


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