67. Save $50-$100 per month Ė Save money by watching movies at home instead of going to the movies

Home entertainment traditionally has been resilient to economic downturns, mainly because renting a movie for a dollar or two ó or even buying a new DVD for $15 ó is a lot cheaper than a night at the movies.

Pam Fox, 49, is a medical socialworker in Carlsbad, Calif., with a husband and two sons. She says they are cutting back on going to the movies, because it's so expensive.

"Just last week, I went with my son, Trevor, to see Lakeview Terrace, and tickets alone were $22," Fox says. "With popcorn and snacks, it's $50 for just two people."

One thing Fox and her family do more of: rent movies.

"Then we can have dinner and snacks at home," she says.

If you like watching movies at the theater, go before 6:00 pm: This is one of our soft spots when it comes to spending.
We really like watching movies in the theater with the big screen and the great sound effects. But instead of paying ~$10 a pop for the ticket, we usually go before 6:00pm when the tickets are a little less expensive.

Also, for movies that we donít absolutely want to watch right away, we just wait until it screens on the discount theater where the tickets are $2 a pop.

We avoid the temptation to buy snacks, by usually going for a theater some time soon after our lunch or sometimes sneaking in our own snacks in the purse.

There are some other steps you can take to enjoy a family outing to the movies within the limits you had when you set a family budget. Consider these ideas:
- Go to a matinee instead of an evening showing. Matinees are less expensive and the show is identical.
- Bring your own candy. Smaller size versions of the large movie theater candy bars are more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth and your budget.
- Purchase a bottle of water instead of a soda. Often the water in a theatre is much less expensive than buying a sugar filled soda or juice and itís better for your health as well.

Making a few small changes in your entertainment choices can result in big savings for the family. Make a night out at the movies a special event and the children will enjoy it more knowing that they donít get that luxury each week. Keep your eyes open for any discount or 2-for-1 coupons from your local DVD rental outlet. A big bowl of popcorn, a few cans of soda and some rented movies make for a fun family night thatís easy on the budget.

Most movies that are in the theater can be found on DVDs within a few months. If you are patient this can add up to substantial savings over the course of a year. Considering that the cost of purchasing the DVD is equal to, on average, the cost of two adult movie tickets, you can see the benefit in waiting a few months to see the film. An even bigger incentive is to think about the cost of renting that DVD. If you take that route, youíll be spending a very small amount to see the exact same feature film just a few short months earlier.

Although the cost of the movie tickets is going to take a big bite out of your monthly entertainment budget, there is another aspect to the theater experience that can prove expensive. Thatís the refreshment stand. For anyone who has been to a movie recently, they can attest to the fact that popcorn and peanuts face a huge mark-up when they are purchased inside the doors of a movie theater. For most theater goers though, itís an important part of the experience and one they donít want to forfeit in the name of a budget.

Planning a movie night with your friends? This website enables you to swap the movies youíve already watched and get some of the available DVDs in return. There are over 250,000 movies currently available at the website: Swap a DVD

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