How To Save Money #17: Don’t Go to the Movies

I wish I didn’t have this advice to give. I love going to a movie theater and watching a movie on the big screen. But nowadays, at $10 a ticket or more, and paying for three people, I think long and hard before I go see a movie in a theater. Instead, I wait until it comes out on DVD, then rent it at RedBox for a dollar and a bit (or watch it on Netflix streaming, if it is available, which it seldom is. It seems to me that Netflix streaming mostly offers the B movies; if you want the good stuff, you have to pay the premium price for the DVD rental service).

By waiting until the movie is out on DVD, not only do I save a lot of money, I also get to hear peoples’ reactions and read reviews; sometimes I decide that I don’t want to see the movie at all. And even when I still want to see the movie, instead of paying for one viewing for three people, I can save my money and purchase the DVD when it comes out and potentially watch it many times. (My rule of thumb for purchasing a movie: if I think I will watch it enough that purchasing it is less than the price of renting it repeatedly, I’ll consider buying it.)

If I count the cost of drinks and popcorn and candy and the other overpriced, empty calories for sale at the theater, I could buy two DVDs. Or I could take everyone out for a nice meal instead.

And many movies lose nothing by being viewed on your television screen instead of on the big screen. With few exceptions, talking head movies, romantic comedies, mysteries, supernatural, horror, and the like fit into that category. Though some movies are worth seeing on the big screen, such as action films, films with sweeping vistas, and some animated features (such as anything by Pixar and many things by its now-parent studio, Disney). 

And it is also true that going to see a movie in the theater with friends and family can be fun. (Though staying at home and having a movie night can be a lot more fun—and much more comfortable.)

Still, if you want to see a movie in the theater, you can save money by going to a matinee instead of an evening show, and by eating a good meal (or at least a good snack) before you go so you aren’t tempted to buy theater food.

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