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How to save money on a cinema trip

Posted 04 June 2016

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You could have a cheaper trip out to the pictures – find out how to do this.

Going to the cinema used to be a cheap family trip. But now it can end up anything but affordable, once you’ve factored in the price of tickets, drinks and snacks. In fact, for a family of four going to see a blockbuster, it can easily cost £50.

But it doesn’t have to be this way – you can still have a trip out to the cinema for less. Check out our tips for saving money at the cinema and you can have a budget-friendly evening out with the whole family.


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Bring your own snacks

It might surprise you to learn that you can take your own food and drink to certain cinema chains. So while you’re shelling out £4 on popcorn for your little ones, you could have actually brought a snack with you.

Vue and Cineworld both let you bring your own sweets, crisps or fizzy pop, though you can’t take any hot food or alcohol. If your local cinema is one of these, this could be a really good way to save money. Odeon and Picturehouse cinemas don’t let you take in any food from home – you can only eat food you’ve bought there.

But you could still get snacks for less at Odeon cinemas. The Kids Mix box lets you pick a snack, a drink and a small popcorn for £3.99. And if you’re out with the whole family, the Family Mix box is only £9.99 – that’s two Kids Mixes, two medium drinks and a medium popcorn.

Is a membership cheaper?

If you go to the cinema at least once a week, a cinema subscription from Cineworld or Odeon might be a cheaper option. This means you can see all the films you want in a month without having to pay any extra. Cineworld’s Unlimited deal is £16.90 a month or £19.90 if you live in London, while Odeon Limitless costs £17.99 a month or £19.99 for London cinemagoers.

Keep in mind a cinema subscription is only really worth it if you already go to the pictures a lot and you’re looking to save on the cost of this. If you don’t really go that much, it’s probably better value to keep buying your tickets each time you go.

Choose your time

The time and day of your cinema trip can make a big difference to the cost. If you’re happy to go for a midweek movie in the early evening, you could save a lot. Odeon and Vue both offer a discount on tickets for showings Monday to Thursday before 5pm.

Meerkat Movies offers two-for-one cinema tickets for Compare the Market customers for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So if you’ve bought insurance through the comparison site, it’s well worth hunting out the code you need to apply for this deal.

You could also save a few quid if you’re willing to be patient when the next blockbuster hits the screen. Cinemas will often boost the price of tickets for the biggest films when they first come out. If you give it a few weeks, they could drop in price so you could still see the big hits for less.

Free screenings

Getting money off your cinema trip is all well and good but what if you want to pay nothing for your films? You can do just that with free screening schemes like ShowFilmFirst and Tellten. Just sign up to the sites and you’ll get an email whenever there are any free tickets available in your area.

These screenings are generally for smaller independent films, but sometimes you can pick up tickets to a blockbuster as well. The reason cinemas offer these free tickets is for promotion – you see the film and if you like it, you’re more likely to tell your friends to go too. That’s definitely a win-win in our books!

Planning on a cheap cinema trip for a first date? Find out how you can impress a date without breaking the bank.


by Emily Bancroft

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