Ladies Who Matinee: See the Movies You Want at a Price You Can Afford

Movie Matinees - How to See Movies on a BudgetA date night at the movie theater can cost upwards of $35. A family experience is closer to $75, even with everyone sharing the popcorn.

But, oh how I love to see movies on the silver screen! Movies have been a lifelong part of family memories, and I had to find a way to make it more affordable. It was too much a part of me to cut out of the budget completely.

I grew up on Disney movies and teen cult classics. Later, the movie theater becomes the site of a first date, sibling bonding experiences, and girls’ night out. There are romantic comedies with a boyfriend. There were sci-fi movies with my fiancé. There are my favorite books turned movies with the hubby. Eventually, we were right back to family night — this time as the parent creating childhood memories with our own kids.

And spending a fortune to do so. Suddenly, you realize you haven’t seen a single movie rated above PG in a theater for years. I’ve every Disney movie to ever hit the big screen. We’ve even seen Frozen in the theater more than once. But I couldn’t tell you the last time I had seen a romantic comedy in the theater.

Time and money are a limited resource, and movie night is reserved as a family fun day or becomes a marital compromise on date night. The movies I actually want to see get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Isn’t that the way it always works for parents?

And then I became a lady who lunches — at the movies. Once every month or so, I take an extra long lunch while the kids are in school and hit a movie with my sister or a friend. I’m finally seeing movies I want to see again — without potty breaks, without serving snacks to four kids, and without compromise.

I laughed hysterically with my sister at We’re the Millers and Last Vegas. I cried real and actual tears with a good friend at Angels Sing. I saw Catching Fire and Divergent, after reading both series. I’m looking forward to getting first looks at anything Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum may try next. And I can do it all in a lunch hour(ish) on a budget.

Theaters typically start showing movies around noon on weekdays, and I’m home before the bus arrives — no sitter required. Movie matinees are so much less expensive. Plus, I don’t have to buy tickets for the rest of my family, and I can share the snack expense with my cohort. Typically, I can see a movie and grab popcorn for about the price of a sit down lunch.

Tomorrow, I will see The Other Woman. In a theater, less than a week after it came out. That’s new. So is the price tag — the afternoon with my sister will cost me about $15 for a matinee ticket, drink, and half a popcorn. So totally worth it.

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