How to Save Money and Enjoy the Movies

Microwave free popcorn

Just because you call yourself frugal doesn’t mean you don’t want to have fun and be entertained. Having fun and being frugal is what this site is all about! You don’t have to spend a lot of cash to have fun. Here’s how to save money and enjoy movies – at home or in a theater.

How to Save Money and Enjoy the Movies

  1. Go to the matinee showing :: Go to the first run theaters during the day and you’ll spend a lot less than going at night. Daytime dates can be very romantic especially if you go to lunch at a food cart and share.
  2. Eat before going to the movies :: Let’s face it – movie theater food is bad for you. It’s also expensive. Skip the fattening food and eat at home, first. On a content tummy, we’re less likely to indulge on the bad for us food. Don’t forget to skip the drinks, too. You’ll be less thirsty if you don’t get the popcorn!
  3. Go to a second-run theater :: Find a theater in your town that shows movies after they’ve been out for a while. This is a great way to enjoy the thrill of going to a theater but parting with much less cash.
  4. Skip the theater and get it from the rental store :: While not many of these are left, our neighborhood has an excellent “mom and pop” video rental spot. Support a local business and go browse.
  5. Check out movies from the library :: Don’t forget the local library for entertainment. Libraries have so many choices and the material can be checked out for longer than a video rental store.
  6. Borrow movies from a neighbor :: This is especially helpful for families. Kids often want to watch movies again and there’s no reason everyone on the block needs to own the same movie. Swap and trade with your neighbors rather than buying or renting your own.
  7. Host a movie night in your backyard :: Always fun in the summer, this is a great way to have friends over for super tasty microwave free popcorn and host a movie night outdoors. A white sheet hung between trees will do the trick. Find out who has a projector and share that, too.
  8. Check garage sales :: Movies are often times on sale at garage or estate sales. For very little money, you could own the movie you were going to rent.
  9. Check out RedBox :: For about $1, you can check out a DVD from a RedBox movie rental box. Search “RedBox promo code” in your favorite search engine and you can get the rental for free. This is my kids favorite way to rent movies these days. They ride their bikes to the store and check movies out themselves!

Backyard entertaining
Not quite a movie, but a live backyard production of “Gilligan’s Island” instead.

Just because you’re frugal doesn’t mean you don’t want to have fun. Saving money and enjoying the movies is easy if you follow a few of these ideas. It’s very Go Gingham to be frugal and have fun. Try it!

What would you add to this list of money saving strategies while still enjoying the movies?

Go Gingham related links:

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12 thoughts on “How to Save Money and Enjoy the Movies

  1. We love borrowing movies from the library! Our library also has DVD sets of many TV series.
    We have an Amazon Prime account, which means we can stream many movies and TV shows online for free. Of course, the Prime subscription has a price tag, but paying for the subscription is financially advantageous for us because it provides free shipping on the many products we purchase via Amazon. The free movies and TV shows are a great bonus!


    1. Shannon, well done! Yes, the tv shows from the library are an added bonus – no commercials.
      I don’t have an Amazon Prime account so I’m glad for the information. Thanks, Shannon!


  2. Good thoughts! We do many of these options. I am very fortunate–my workplace gives me 2 free movie tickets a year (for a first-run movie theater with stadium seating!) and a $2/off ticket for the concession stand. We aren’t big movie buffs but it’s a fun occasional treat.

    For kid’s movies, I often request DVDs for birthday/Christmas gifts. Those are movies which get watched multiple times so I don’t mind owning them.


    1. Thanks, Kris! I’m with you – we’re not big go out to movie folks either. Well, I take that back….my teens have started going out to the movies more often but my husband and I prefer to view at home. I have kept some of the classic kid’s movies because sometimes we all enjoy watching them. There are some that are definitely worth owning. 🙂


  3. Great ideas, Sara! I have to say that I really prefer to watch movies in the comfort of my own home – where I can have my own snacks and a glass of wine too! When we do go to the theater, the beau always brings his own candy – probably not what the theater wants us to do!


    1. Annie, I agree. I like watching the movies at home, too. I forgot to mention that I also always bring a clean pillow case to put over the back of the seat where my head and hair are going at the theater. This gets lots of snickers from my kids but I am not going to end up with lice after having escaped it while kids were in elementary school! Ick!
      Thanks, Annie!


  4. I know you said no rentals, but I cut Netflix to 2 movies a month that come in the mail. The convenience and small price difference is worth the savings in gasoline to go pick up a movie.


    1. Karen, I agree that convenience of not having to pick up a movie is huge with Netflix. We (meaning our family) signs up for Netflix in the winter for a few months. It’s a good deal for those cozy in months for us and the company usually offers a month or 2 free so that we’ll “come back to Netflix” – can’t complain about that! I could live without the expense but it is a small price compared to the other plans – or having to go out in the rain.
      Good point, Karen! Thanks for the tip. 🙂


  5. We have a small theatre right in town that offers $2.50 Tuesdays or $6.00 Wednesdays (includes pop and popcorn). They play current movies, so every now and then we’ll go to a movie or take the kids to see something special. It doesn’t happen that often, but it’s a nice treat and not terribly expensive.


  6. Great list! I like to rent movies on demand – still much cheaper than going to the theater. I also borrow from friends.


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