INDIANAPOLIS — Going to the movies and even watching them at home can empty your pockets pretty quickly unless you're sneaking in your own snacks or hitting the lower-cost matinee.
Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, shared her favorite money-saving strategies Sunday on 13Sunrise.
Find your unused gift cards
"More than half of adults have unused gift cards," Cherie wrote in her weekly blog. "The average amount per person amounts to around $116."
Your cards may not be leftovers from a theater, but you may have still have left over from before they closed in 2020. Or, you might have a few that can be used anywhere, including the movies. Take a sharpie and write the current balance right on the gift card. Spending less than 15 minutes could take you to movies on old money or allow you not bite on your current budget. You can also pick up movie theater gift cards under face value at warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco.
Join Disney Movie Insiders
Cherie explained how she's earned a lot of gift cards and perks over the years by being a member of Disney Movie Insiders. When you link different theater accounts like Regal Crown Club, Atom Rewards, and Fandango VIP, you get rewards points and you're automatically rewarded when you see participating films in theaters. You also get reward points for DVD purchases and even purchasing Disney+ Premier movies on home streaming.
There are plenty of great movie theaters locally in Indianapolis. And theaters like these often run special deals. Join email lists and follow the theater on social media for updates. Watch for summer movie experiences for kids in the coming months.
Think outside the theater for free movies
Your local library often hosts screenings of movies for free. Restaurants and city parks hold special movie nights for families. Cherie recommended Indy Books and Brews for their showings. These events help keep your entertainment budget afloat while still providing a great time. You can also sign up for Gofobo.com and SeeItFirst.net for free offerings.
Never arrive hungry and look for matinees
Try to eat before you go and try to use rewards points on any snacks, which you can see are overpriced inside the theatre. "You could purchase a week’s worth of beverages for what you’d pay on one drink," Cherie said. Attending matinee showings between lunch and dinner is another way to beat high prices.
Watch Cherie's full Sunrise segment in the video player.