When you sit back and actually start to add up all the money you spend on movies (I don’t recommend you do this… you’ll only end up being depressed) and include all the little hidden expenses as well, the total can be staggering. So anyway, the other day I started making up this list of just simple common sense ways that I can save money as a movie fan.
There is nothing revolutionary on this list… but it’s funny how sometimes the most obvious ideas are the ones we overlook. And sometimes we dismiss the smallest little savings and fail to really think about how they add up.
Anyway, I did my list for myself and thought I’d add a couple of more and make a post out of it. We’re going to assume for the sake of this list that you go to a movie once a week and rent 1 dvd a week (obviously that number will be either higher or lower for you, but this will be our measure point). So here are my 10 common sense money saving tips for movie fans:
1) Eat before going to the theater (Savings – $20/ month if skipped twice)
This is one of the biggest money savers on the list. As much as I complain about the price of a ticket at the theaters, I usually walk in and spend MORE at the concession stand. I LOVE having popcorn and pop when I’m at the movies, and usually the only way I can stop myself from buying that $13 “special” is if I just recently ate. Even if you just skip the popcorn twice a month, you end up saving a TON.
2) Choose your theater wisely (Savings – $9/month if you choose smaller twice)
If you’re like me, you want to see Transformers, or Indiana Jones or other films of that nature on the biggest and best screen with the best sound possible. That generally means going to the best theater in your area and spending a little bit more on your tickets. Fair enough. But then there are those other movies, like Gone Baby Gone or The Departed that… and let’s be honest… don’t require the biggest and best screen and sound to enjoy. In my case, there is a slightly smaller theater up the street from me that charges $6.50 for a ticket. The better theater charges $11. By going to the smaller and older theater for those films that don’t really require the biggest and best screen and sound I save roughly $4.50 per movie.
3) Join Netflix or Zip (Savings – Roughly $15/month)
i don’t rent TONS of movies since I basically see most of them in theater, but I’d say once a week would just about be right. At my local Blockbuster, after taxes, for a new release… I’m paying just about $6/movie. But with a service like Netflix (Or Zip.Ca for those of us in Canada) you can get a simple cheap plan (like $9/month) that gives you 1 disk at a time. You can EASILY go through 4 or more movies a month and you never have late fees.
4) Celebrate Matinees (Savings – $6/month for going twice)
Running to the movies is generally a social evening thing to do, but really, why not try to hit a matinee a couple of times? You’ll generally find most theaters charge less for the tickets, and hell… then you still have your whole day in front of you. You’ll get smaller crowds, fewer noisy teenagers… and it’s cheaper (I know I already said that… but that’s the point). My local Cineplex charges $11 regular, and about $8 for a matinee.
5) Hold Off On HD (Savings – A lot)
New technology is always far more expensive then it will be next year. HD players and systems have already come down a lot in price, but in another year they’ll be exponentially cheaper than now. There is no need to go to HD right now, all movies still come out on beautiful DVD, and let’s face it, the difference between good quality DVD and HD isn’t anywhere near the difference of the old VHS to DVD comparisons. If you MUST have it now and want to bust the bank… go for it. Me, I’m waiting at LEAST another year (or until they come up with 1 standard HD format… whichever comes later)
6) Consult The Movie Blog or RottenTomatoes (Savings – up to $25/month)
Everybody likes to say “I never listen to critics” but to one degree or another we all do. Just because the critics hate a movie doesn’t mean you will. Only YOU know YOUR tastes and choices. HOWEVER…. it’s a pretty good bet (although not 100%) if 90% of the critics or members of the online community (like The Movie Blog commenters) are all trashing a movie and talking about how much they hated it… then maybe… just maybe… you might want to reconsider spending your money on that particular movie right now. You avoid one bad movie a month, that saves you your ticket price and popcorn. not bad.
7) Watch A Favorite Again (Savings – $6/month)
I can’t believe how many DVDs some of my friends have, and yet they hardly ever watch any of them. It’s crazy! So listen, some night when you and your girl/guy are hanging at home and you want to rent a movie… try just pulling out of of the faithful favorites you’ve got in your collection (no matter how big or small). You’ll rediscover your love for that movie, you know you’ll enjoy it, and you just saved a rental.
8) Buy Previously Viewed (Savings – $20)
DVD aren’t fruit that suddenly go bad or used underwear that someone else’s “boys” have been hanging around in. A new DVD can run you up to $30, but when I want to buy a movie, I just head to Blockbuster and go to the previously viewed section. On average I spend about $8 per movie. Buying it then also leads to more savings via point #7. I promise the movie will look just as good and sound just as clear as it would if you had bought the $25 still in its shrink wrap copy.
9) Wait For It On DVD
There are some movies that you just MUST see on the big screen, or great films you want to see when it’s in theaters. But sometimes there are movies that you think you want to see… but you’re not really all that excited about it. For those movies, I would suggest just waiting for it to come out on DVD. You’ll save your ticket costs, popcorn costs, gas, yadda yadda yadda. And if you have Zip.ca or Netflix, you save even more. In a movie theater is still the best way to see a movie… but if you’re a little ify on a film, just wait for it. Movies are coming out on DVD now faster and faster and faster. You probably only have to wait 3 or 4 months to get your hands on it.
And finally the biggest cost saver of them all
10) LET HER PAY HER OWN WAY!
So there you have it folks. 10 simple common sense ways to save money as a film fan without giving up the movies. Man it sure does add up. And dear lord I hope you’re smart enough to know I’m just kidding about point #10… the 10th point if for you guys to share.
So jump into the comments section and let us know one or two of your insightful ways to save money for movie fans without giving up on the movies. I’ll take the best 10 suggestions in the comments section and make another post out of it this weekend. Go to it!