Frugal Advice from Patrick J. Beaird

A Frugal Movie Night

Movies can be a great form of inexpensive and convenient entertainment especially in comparison to other more costly forms such as theater, concerts and sporting events. They take us on exciting adventures, show us exotic locations and immerse us in sorrow or happiness. And yet, if we are not discerning they can be a big fat waste of money and time! Consider these points before your next visit to the theater, a movie rental or a purchase to help ensure that your time and money have been well spent.

Movies are available in a range of options and prices:
  • Full price theaters
  • Theater discounts for early showings
  • Discount Movie Theaters
  • Movies available for purchase (new or used)
  • Rentals
  • Movie Channels on TV
Each option above offers its own set of pros and cons to consider:
  • Think about what you are trying to accomplish. A well deserved trip to the theater with family or friends could be well worth every penny, including the popcorn!
  • Call, check the newspaper or visit the theater's web site to get accurate times and ticket prices, as well as any discount options.
  • Check out reviews, details about ratings (G, PG, PG 13, etc.) and watch available previews. Know as much as you can about a movie before shelling out the bucks, only to end up regretting the three new and colorful words your 4-year-old just learned.
  • Consider a matinee. Theaters in my area charge $9.00 per ticket, but if you attend a showing before 6pm a ticket runs you only $7.00.
  • See if there is a discount theater in your area and be a little patient. Most movies end up there sooner or later and ticket prices are a fraction of the cost.
  • Consider avoiding the snack bar all together. You can quickly drop $10 or more on snacks for two.
  • Evaluate the "Theater Experience" itself. Are the time and ticket price worth the hassles, which range from sticky seats and floors to obnoxious patrons? Also, don't forget that driving, parking and walking also take time and/or money.
  • Be more patient. After that movie leaves the theater, it’s sure to be available for purchase and rental.
  • Avoid purchasing most new movies for the full price. Most people don't watch a movie more than once or twice, so why pay $15 and up for a movie that can be rented for a buck or two.
  • Consider a purchase for special cases. I think my kids and I have watched Star Wars at least a dozen times since we purchased the set!!
  • If you are compelled to continue amassing a personal movie collection, consider buying used movies. They are available at a significant savings, and can be found at movie rental stores as well as online from places like EBAY and
  • Consider renting, but be aware that it has its own set of pitfalls. Don't forget to return the movie on time!
  • Consider cancelling movie channels. Why not use the money you save elsewhere.

Last, but not least, is my favorite frugal option. Drum roll please!!! All it takes is a little more patience while you wait for each movie to be available for rental to achieve the really big savings.

Online Rental Services, such as, are good options.

With these services you typically pick your plan and pay a set monthly fee. You then choose a list of movies you want to see, and they are mailed to
you. You even have the ability to watch select movies on demand via your
computer. A service like this offers the ability to keep the movie longer
with no late fees, which is huge...Remember, if you are willing to wait,
movies always get cheaper to see.

Happy viewing!

I answer select questions and share experiences and tips through my articles. Feel free to write me at: or Patrick Beaird, P.O. Box 9203, Springfield, IL, 62791

Copyright 2007 Patrick Beaird