If you’re a true couponer, you know their value reaches well beyond the grocery aisle. In fact, they can even reach the theater aisle – a place where many don’t even think to look for savings. I’m an avid fan of going to the movies. However, I can’t justify paying blockbuster prices. As a result, I’m always looking for a discount at the box office and concession stand. The easiest and quickest trick is to go the movies during the day and pay the lower matinée ticket prices, rather than going at night. (It’s even better because you don’t have to deal with large crowds.)
Next, think about your demographic because just about every theater chain offers a discount for students, senior citizens (age limit varies by chain) and military personnel. If it’s not posted at the box office, don’t be afraid to ask. It will save you a few bucks.
In addition, some theaters offer value days, twilight pricing or economy tickets at greatly reduced prices for films that have been out for a few weeks. You’d be amazed at the savings (sometimes up to 50%), if you just wait to see a film. Patience pays off at the box office.
Few even think actual coupons exist for the movie tickets. They do. Think Entertainment Books, local fundraising coupon books, AAA – most offer discounts on tickets. We’ve even seen many such coupons for sale on eBay. (Be sure to read the fine print because often one coupon can be used on more than one admission – usually two.) You might even ask at your workplace, as some companies offer employees a group discount because they purchase tickets in such large quantities.
Another great source is Costco because they offer members reduced-price tickets for Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres. (If you’re not a member, ask a friend or relative who is to pick you up some tickets on their next shopping trip.) Finally, on a few rare occasions, I’ve seen discounted tickets available for a specific flick or theater on Groupon or LivingSocial.
Most theater chains offers an e-club where customers can receive information about upcoming promos, events and, best of all, discounts. A few even give you a free soda or popcorn just for signing up. Then, check your inbox for more savings.
Many offer weekly or monthly discounts exclusively to subscribers. (I’m a big fan of Regal Cinemas because, lately, the chain has offered mobile coupons for $3 off popcorn or a soft drink. (It’s a savings of about 50%, when you purchase a small.) If you go to the movies often, a quick search on the Internet for your favorite chain’s website can quickly pay off.
Whether you go to the movies once a week or just a few times a year, loyalty programs offer great benefits. The biggest two such programs are probably Regal Cinemas’ Regal Crown Club (free membership) and AMC Theatres’ AMC Stubs ($12 annual fee.) The benefits are immediate, as both programs offer discounts to their members, including reduced ticket prices, free concession upgrades and/or concession specials – depending on the program.
Then, every time you go to the movies, just be sure to swipe your card to earn free tickets, popcorn or soda. If you don’t know, ask at your local theater chain about such a program. The competition is fierce for your entertainment dollars, so, of course, the theaters want you to keep coming back to theirs.
In the end, however, I would not be able to spend so much time in the theater aisle, if it were not for the money I save in the grocery aisle. (How else do I have the extra money to go to the movies every week?) Your greatest savings will always come from being a smart shopper in the grocery aisle. Living on the Cheap always has a great source of manufacturer’s coupons. Companies load new coupons often, so check back frequently for more star-like savings.