Thursday, September 6, 2007

How to save money on movies

This guy put up a very helpful list of things that you can do to save money on movies on his blog. I originally saw this via a link from

Just to add a few things in relation to this side of the world (Singapore, to be precise):

  1. Discounts: This info may be outdated in a few years time, but most of the discounts available are credit card privileges. HSBC offers a dollar off on every GV ticket, Maybank provides a special membership price, and Citibank lets you redeem points for movie tickets. Of course, the cinemas themselves have their own discounts, packages and bargain days. Notably, GV has just started a membership thing where members get concession rates on tickets and snacks, and it's free. Cathay currently gives out free tickets for toddlers on Tuesdays among other things, and Shaw recently has a buy-four-get-one-free (albeit for Citibank cardholders only).
  2. Film events: In Singapore, they're mostly managed by the Singapore Film Society (SFS), who charges membership that provides ticket discounts for said events and also blockbuster movies. But only if you're watching tons of arty movies and like to mingle with real film connoisseurs.
  3. Cheaper movies: Many should have noticed by now that Code/Region 3 DVDs (that are made in Singapore or Malaysia) are significantly cheaper than imported US Region 1 DVDs, sometimes more than half the price. But I've experienced R3 DVDs that are inferior to its R1 counterparts, in terms of features and even video/audio quality (due to compression issues). These wouldn't matter if you don't really care for special features, do not own home theatre systems, or couldn't tell the difference between 480p and 1080i screen resolutions. Another format to consider is the VCD, though it's far inferior and cumbersome than the DVD in every ways, especially the need to swap discs mid-movie. There are also less scrupulous and much cheaper/free sources of movies across the border and on the world wide web, but that would be unfair to the men and women who worked their asses off in the making of movies. Also, indulge at your own risk.
  4. Buy used: I saw Cash Converter selling second-hand DVDs once, but the selections are, not surprisingly, pretty horrible. The market for second-hand DVDs are not as prevalent as in the West, but it's not like you can't find anything good if you looked hard enough. There are also online classifieds where you can find people trying to hawk their old discs. But again, the problem here is variety.
  5. Borrow from friends: This is probably the most popular way of saving money on movies. But it goes bothways. You'll also need to own something they want to exchange with. The problem of variety again.
  6. Rental: This is The Big Movie Freak's second-most favourite way of saving costs. Renting a movie can be as low as $3.50 that lets you keep it for several days at end. and VideoEzy lets you hold the discs for as long as you want with a fixed monthly fee. With rentals, you get to watch your movies at low, low prices, while not having to worry about shelf space.
  7. The number one Big Movie Freak way of saving costs: watch a movie upon its release at the cinema, and watch it on a budget day (Mon-Wed). You'll be watching movies in the best environment (dark room, large screen, surround sound), and you'll less likely to waste money on direct-to-video crap that rentals often expose you to. There are also those "good for watching only once" movies that you'd be glad you saw in the cinemas and not having to "try your luck" in buying or renting them.
  8. Cost-saving precision: do a budget plan. Why the heck do I wanna waste time doing a budget on how much I spend on movies, you say? As if planning household budgets and mortgage refinancing aren't enough headaches already! Well, if you're a movie freak like me that had been splurging an average of $1,000 a year on movies alone, a little planning goes a long way in keeping them costs from ballooning. I've since shaved my expenditure down to a modest limit of $500 without compromising what I need to watch and review every year. Like a responsible public-listed company, my budget is for all to see, right here.

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