Well, my Sunday post comes a bit early. I've been up watching basketball games and the aftermath. To the members of the gallery who don't watch sports, you have my apologies. College basketball fan that I am, posts will occasionally be peppered with basketball comments, as I'm a die hard fan (who still roots for those east coast teams that I followed for 20 years)............
Entertainment/socialization is often the first thing that gets eliminated with a tight budget. I find that by taking advantage of deals and discounts, attending a great many free events and being open to opportunities, I manage to have more entertainment than I can handle some months.
Tonight my son and I went to see The Lincoln Lawyer. Generally, I only go to the movies a few times a year. I adore movies, all movies, but not only can movies be expensive for me, but I am the kind of girl who NEEDS that popcorn and drink to go with the film. This means that usually there are only two reasons that get me into a theater. The first is that it's the kind of movie that's meant to be seen on the big screen (Avatar and Inception come to mind). The second time I go to movies is when there's been a convergence of sort.........I'm really feeling like leaving the house, there has been a serious deep discount, and there's a film I would really really like to see. The second situation doesn't often happen, but when it does it hits me full force, which is why I peruse special deals daily and "store them up" if you will.
Tonight was one of those nights. One of my favorite deal blogs had let me know a few days ago that Groupon had $6.00 prime time tickets to see the Lincoln Lawyer. As always when it comes to movie or entertainment deals, I jumped at the chance, and immediately purchased two. I'd spent the afternoon clearing out my closet for a coming yard sale and was pooped. So we made ourselves slightly more presentable, grabbed a sweater to prepare for Texas air conditioning, and off we were to the local theater. In addition to my discounts and deals, this theater has a rewards program where one can earn drinks and snacks. This meant that for two adults on a Saturday night, two tickets, drinks and popcorn were less than the price of two normal tickets. I do love it when a plan goes through!
As with any kind of splurge, even one done with discounts and special offers, this only happens occasionally. Move of my movie watching is done on my small flat screen with movies checked out from Netflix or the local library. The rest of the time I'm watching the classic movie channels, which keep me satisfied many a night. When I do have or purchase a deal like this, I hoard it, saving it for the perfect opportunity. I also am very cautious, only buying Groupon or other group buying deals deals that are good value and that I will actually use. I recently got two tickets to the Studio Movie Grille (just what it sounds like, for you non Texans). For five dollars, I get a prime time movie, nachos and drink. I'll be saving that for a special move-after tonight I'm thinking Cowboys and Aliens, but who knows. That one, I'll probably end up seeing by myself.
Saturday's experience is just one way to entertain yourself for less. In addition to group buying deals, it's worthwhile to sign up via email with the movie theaters or chains that you visit often. I regularly get coupons for free drinks and popcorn from AMC, and almost every theater chain now has a "frequent shopper card". Additionally, many chains have special deals when you attend the first matinee of the day. My theater does that, but my body clock is such that this is the time when I am sewing up a storm and movies go by the wayside. Many theaters have senior discount days, and some allow you to bring your own food. I admit this last one is always difficult for me. Traditionally I am black and white when it comes to ethics, but then I went on a diet and could eat nothing the theater offered, so I have been known to bring in my own drink and low cal popcorn on an occasion or two. Whatever your movie poison is, you should be able to find reasonable alternatives that allow you the occasional cinematic experience.
As a final thought, recently I watched 127 Hours on the small screen. It was an excellent movie and I am glad I watched it. However, I'm equally glad that I didn't pay for even a discount ticket at the local theater. It was much less embarrassing to hide my head on my own couch for five minutes than it would have been in a theater, for one thing. Oh, and the Lincoln Lawyer was well worth the price. But then I'm a Michael Connelly fan who relies pretty heavily on Rotten Tomatoes reviews, so I thought it would be.
Happy Sunday, everyone!