I have found a few ways to save when you are taking your family to the movies.
If it is summer time check your local area for Family Days or Dollar Days almost every community has a summer event that shows (not the newest) movies for $1 on certain days during the summer. This is NOT for the faint hearted Mom because you have to get their early, and it will most certainly be packed full of screaming yelling children. But your kids will LOVE IT!
The second way to save when you go to the movies is to eat first! It is just the same as going to the grocery store hungry. If you go to the movies hungry you will spend more on drinks and snacks than you ever would on the entrance fee.
Some people cheat and buy the movie snacks and carry them in their purse or bag which will save you tons of money but it is generally not allowed at most theaters.
Lots of theaters have water fountains though and if yours does use them! If you buy only a small drink then you can refill in the fountain. But you might miss some of the show. So I would get one or two HUGE drinks and have your family share. (You share all your germs anyhow.) Most Theaters offer free refills if you get the most largest size too so you can always refill if there is a guzzle gut in your family.
My stomach tends to not like the popcorn any more so when we go to the movies I get a smaller size, because the smell always gets me! I crave the popcorn as soon as I smell it. But whatever they cook it in and the “butter” they use tends to send my poor tummy in to fits. It could be a combo also of soda, candy and popcorn I am not sure but I try to take it easy.
If you get licorice as your snack you can also share this easily amongst the family. But the best way to save is to start training your kids to use their own personal (allowance) monies to buy what they want as extra. If as a rule you buy the entrance, popcorn and a drink every time and if they want extras they have to spend their own money it will be a great teaching tool. One time my step-daughter had $30 of her own to spend in the mall and we walked around for hours trying to find something she wanted to buy. She told me afterwards that “It is just always easier to spend Dad’s money than it is to spend mine.” LOL Lesson learned Mom!
Sometimes you have a kid that will be a saver though and will always have money they saved from their allowance and one that is a spender. You know the one that money always burns a hole in their pocket and leaves a blister on their leg if they don’t get it out of their pocket and spend it? So then Mom guilt sets in and you feel bad that your spender has to watch their sister show off their tasty snowcaps right in their face! So that allowance idea might not work for you. Then you can give the amount to each child that you intended on spending and let them pick it out. To make the line go faster have them pick out their snack beforehand on the way in the car. Typically the same snacks are always going to be there. You can also call ahead or look online in most places to find out the cost of their menu items.
Another great way to save is to not choose to get those items. We do live in a world of excess, and childhood obesity is a very real issue. So you could make it a family tradition that you go to the movies to enjoy the movie and that is it. Once we ate dinner went to the movies and everyone just drank water. Then after the movies we had ice cream at home. It was really a fun day. Your family could not always get all the junk food and be healthier for it.
Drive-ins! If your community has a drive in typically this is going to save you the most money. They have deals during one day of the week where you can get a whole car load in for something like $12 or the entrance fee itself is usually cheaper than a theater. Most drive-ins also show TWO shows so you are getting two movies for the price of one or less!
Lastly the final tip on how to save at the movies is you guessed it, COUPONS! You can find local coupons for movies in savings guides and sometimes in the back of the yellow pages of your phone book. Check with the theater and ask them when they have specials or deals. If you always go during the matinees then the costs are typically a few dollars cheaper. Sometimes they have deals during the week also to get people in. Some theaters have clubs you can join that give you freebies when you come and the more you come the better the freebie. Ask ask ask!