Saving Money

Movie Night: How To Have More Fun AND Save Money!


Movie tickets are expensive enough, but add in popcorn, drinks (of the soft or adult variety) , and maybe a box of candy and you might find yourself shelling out a small fortune just for a few hours of entertainment. We’ve all heard the suggestions of sneaking in your own boxes of candy or simply depriving yourself of having any snacks or drink while watching a movie to save money. Those are certainly reasonable actions, but there’s another alternative that I’d like to present to you that will add more enjoyment and entertainment to your evening AND save you money on your movie experience.

Over the weekend, my wife and I made plans to go to a movie. We had some time before the movie started so we decided to stop by a bar for a happy hour drink before heading to the theater. While we were waiting for the server, I went and got a bowl of free popcorn from the bar’s popcorn machine. My wife commented that the popcorn in front of us was infinitely less expensive than the popcorn at the theater. By the time we left the bar, we had each had a beverage or two, and several bowls of popcorn.

After taking advantage of happy hour and free popcorn at a bar, we had no need or desire to visit the concession stand at the movie theater.

Let’s take a look at the cost breakdown of our trip to the bar, compared to what we might have spent at the movie theater.

Happy Hour:

  • Three drinks ($3 a piece) at Happy Hour price: $9
  • Several bowls of popcorn: FREE
  • Tip: $3

Total Spent: $12

Snacks At Movie Theater:

  • 1 Large Soda: $5
  • 1 Large Popcorn: $8
  • 1 Beer $6

Total Spent: $19

There are infinite combinations of what we could have ordered at the bar before the show, as well as what we could buy at the concession stand at the theater. The above is meant to be only an example, but is what we purchased at the bar before the movie this weekend compared with what we actually purchased at a different movie.

Given these two example expenditures, we not only saved money, but we got about an hour’s more entertainment and enjoyment of being together than by simply going to the movie alone. Hitting a happy hour before a movie isn’t a necessity, but it’s a great value play to get the most out of your hard earned money.

How about you, Clever Friends, do you have any other ideas on how to save money going to the movies?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • There are some other ways to save money on theater concessions. There is a local theater chain in Arizona called Harkins Theaters. Each year, they offer large plastic cups and t-shirts for sale. A regular large drink is $4.50 and for $0.50 more, you can get the plastic cup. You can then bring the cup in again the remainder of the year and get a refill for $1.50 (instead of the normal $5 price). If you wear the shirt, you get a free medium popcorn. You don’t even need to wear the shirt. It comes shrink wrapped into a small disc. I just show that at the box office and get my ticket for a free popcorn. That’s another free $5 item there each visit. The cups are also often sold as fundraisers for local schools, so your purchase helps them out too.

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