With the Oscars only days away, many of us are daydreaming about movies. Will Argo win best picture? Will Bradley Cooper win best actor? But take away all that glitz and glamour, and you’re left with a not-so-shiny reality: Going to the theater to see a movie can be pricey. Don’t worry, we’ve got some smart ways to save.
The average movie ticket costs $7.83, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, think of how that can add up. For a family of four, movie tickets would top $30. Toss in some sodas and popcorn and you could easily hit $50.
To help you cut that cost, we’re sharing some of consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch’s little-know ways to save money at the theater.
1. See Oscar films on the cheap
“In anticipation of the Oscars, many theaters are offering discounted back-to-back showings of best picture nominees this Saturday, Feb. 23,” says Woroch. Cinemark’s marathon event offers Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained for $30, plus some discounts on concessions. If you want to catch all nine best picture nominees, check out these select AMC Theaters for $60 of Oscar-worthy cinema.
2. Use your credit card wisely
In this competitive marketplace, many credit card companies are offering myriad perks — including movie ticket deals — to entice consumers to go with their cards. Woroch offers two examples: Visa Signature cardholders can save 20% on a $25 order for a Fandango gift card when they order the cards online. Chase Freedom which will credit you 5% on all movie theater purchases between April and June. Just be sure you pay off your credit card on time and in full each month: If you don’t, those hefty interest charges will likely far outweigh any savings you get.
3. Buy in bulk
Families and frequent movie-goers can save big by buying their movie tickets in bulk. “A 10-pack of AMC movie tickets from Costco will run you $86.99, or about $8.70 per ticket,” Woroch says. “This is a great deal for movie-goers in Riverside, Calif., who pay a regular-ticket price of $11.50; it’s not a deal for people in Greeley, Colo., who can see an AMC flick for $8.50.” The lesson: “Be sure to compare costs before you buy,” she says.
Looking for some more ways to save at the movies? Check out Dealery.com, which aggregates daily deals from a variety of sites, or buy a discounted gift card at GiftCardGranny.com and use that to purchase your movie tickets, Woroch advises.