Having a family movie night is a such a great, low-key family activity. Even though it doesn’t really take any planning or creativity, the kids love it. I love that they love it! I also love that it’s so cheap and easy.
Having a movie night at home, rather than going out to a movie, is going to save you big!
Theaters are pretty outrageously expensive these days. Even before I had kids, I thought going to see movies in the theater was way too expensive. I’m not a big movie buff, so it was never the way I wanted to spend my money.
Now, with a family of six, paying for tickets at the theater would be completely cost-prohibitive. The only time we ever go to the theater is if we have free tickets, which happens every once in a while.
Then there’s food. The smell of fresh popcorn at the theater is tempting… until I see the price! The cost of snacks at movie theaters is highway robbery. Three dollars for a bottle of water? Eight dollars for a large popcorn? These are prices that I am way, way too cheap to ever pay.
Besides a rare occasion at the theater, we have all of our family movie nights at home. We’ve gotten to where it costs us next to nothing.
Streaming a movie: $1
Popcorn: pocket change
Water: free from the tap
Having a family movie night at home also means we don’t need to go anywhere. No driving. No gas. For us that also means an hour and a half of life (that’s a round trip to town).
Several of months ago, we discovered VidAngel and have been loving it ever since! You can stream movies at home for just $1. They have new releases too. You can also choose any filters you want to make it more family friendly.
Here’s how it works
VidAngel is not technically renting. You purchase the movie for $20, then you sell it back for $19, so it comes out to be $1. Why? Because in order to legally filter the movie you have to own it.
After you sell back your first movie, you’ll have $19 of credit in your account. Then, each subsequent movie you buy will just cost you $1 out of pocket.
Don’t worry, if you decide to stop using VidAngel (or are really hard up for $19), you can cash out that $19 credit at any time.
Besides being cheap and convenient, what sets VidAngel apart from other streaming or rental services is that you can enable filters for content that you don’t want to see or hear, whether it’s violence, sex, language, etc. In fact, you have to set at least one filter for the movies or shows you watch with VidAngel. You can choose entire categories or pick the specific instances that you want to filter out. They make it really easy to pick and choose what you see and hear.
What I love about VidAngel:
Selling back your movie is as simple as a mouse click. For us, living 40 minutes away from the nearest Redbox kiosk, the logistics of returning movies in the past was complicated. We often had to pay double or triple the rental price because we weren’t going back into town soon enough.
The process is really simple and the site/app is super user-friendly. There are no hidden fees. After your first purchase, your card will just be charged $1 per day for the movie while you have it. The $19 credit in your account (after your first $20 purchase and sellback) can be cashed out whenever you want.
You can filter out anything that you don’t want to bring into your living room. We usually watch G or PG movies that need little to no filtering, but it’s nice to be able to filter words that are “bad words” in our family like “stupid” or “butt.”
You can search their movies by how inspiring they are (based on other users’ opinion). I’m pretty picky about what movies I watch. Since I don’t watch many, I don’t want to mess around with any that are a waste of time. For me, if a movie isn’t uplifting or inspiring, then I’m not interested in spending my time watching it. You can also search by popular or recent.
They have new movies! As soon as a new release is available to purchase, it’s available on VidAngel. Other streaming services take a while to have new releases available.
VidAngel isn’t for everyone, but if you like the idea of being able to filter the content of popular movies and stream them at home for a dollar, then I definitely recommend trying it out for your next movie night!
Our kids love having popcorn with movies. Popcorn is a super cheap snack, but it’s one we don’t usually think about unless we’re going to watch a movie.
Even if you get the most expensive popcorn at the store, it’s still going to be cheaper than anything at the movie theater. Still, that’s a ridiculous comparison, so let’s look at the cheapest options.
Microwave popcorn is a convenient option. There are lots of brands and flavors to choose from. If you eat a lot of microwave popcorn, you’ll save by buying it in bulk. We’re not brand loyal, so when I see a great deal on it at a place like Grocery Outlet (discount food store), I’ll pick some up to have on hand.
Pop your own popcorn with an air popper. If you don’t have an air popper, they are pretty common at thrift stores and garage sales, so you can easily pick one up second-hand. All you need is bulk popcorn kernels. Follow the directions for your popper. My kids love watching the popcorn pop!
Make your own DIY microwave popcorn. My sister does this and convinced me to give it a try. Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of oil and a little salt in a bowl so that the kernels get coated with oil. Put them into a brown paper lunch sack and fold down the top twice. Microwave for about 2.5 to 3 minutes, but be sure to stand close by so you can stop the microwave when the popping slows to more than 2 seconds between pops. It will be hot!
And still sometimes we do no snacks at all. Sometimes I forget we’re having a movie night and have the kids brush their teeth directly after dinner, so we just watch a movie without snacks. The kids get over it pretty quickly and it’s not a big deal at all.
All in all movie nights are a fun and cheap way to do something relaxing together as a family. In fact, if you have a big movie collection (we don’t), your movie night could be completely free!
How about you?
- Do you have regular family movie nights?
- What do you do to make them special?