By Lauren Pastrana

‘Tis the season of the summer blockbuster and the South Florida heat makes a nice, cool movie theater a great place to spend a few hours. However, a trip to the cinema will cost you a pretty penny these days.

The average cost of a single ticket to the movies is $8.73, and that’s probably an under estimate. Throw in a soda and popcorn and for some families, a day at the movies is out of the question.

Today’s “Lauren’s List” is all about getting the most bang for your buck at the theater.

  1. Go early- A lot has changed at theaters, but one thing is the same. Matinee showings are still cheaper. Lauren did some research on Fandango for local show times at a theater in Miami and found a noon showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 will cost $10.50 per ticket, but going at 8pm will cost an extra $2. It also may be cheaper to buy at the box office than online, that way you avoid those pesky service fees.
  1. Split Snacks- Don’t just share share a tub of popcorn. Actually split it up! While bringing your own snacks is frowned upon, you CAN bring your own brown paper bag or plastic baggie. Divvy up that giant popcorn so each person in your group has their own. The larger tub typically turns out to be a better deal than the individual smaller bags of popcorn, and if you’re with kids, they won’t fight over who holds the bucket! Eating beforehand helps, too.
  1. Use Discount Gift Cards- You may love going to the movies, but for those who don’t, they may be selling their movie theater gift cards. A quick search of a website called shows you can spend about $26 on a $30 Regal Cinemas gift card. That $4 savings means extra snacks for you at the concession!
  1. Summer Specials- If you’re just looking for something fun to do and don’t mind watching older movies, a lot of theaters have dollar movie clubs during the summer months. Regal and Cinemark both have local programs. The movies play on weekdays and are typically geared toward kids. Hey, it beats keeping kids cooped up indoors watching the same DVD you’ve probably seen a hundred times, right?!

What do you do to save money at the movies?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, email me at



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