A couple weeks ago, I had a few friends over to watch a movie. After hearing high praise for Hell or High Water, and noticing it was available at Redbox, I decided to pick it up and invite a some friends over to watch it. (Note: This film is one of the Oscar-nominated films for best picture this year and received four total Oscar nominations. I recommend it.)

Four of us ended up watching the film – cuddled up on couches and under blankets in the comfort on my living room, where we controlled the volume and the room temperature. Because we watched it at my house – and not a movie theater –we could comfortably linger after the movie ended to both discuss the film and generally catch up. Bonus: I also made homemade chocolate chip cookies and had other drinks and snacks, which I already had on hand.

The cost of the Redbox rental was $1.59. Let’s call it $0.40 per person. I had everything I needed for the cookies and other snacks, except the chocolate chips. And flour is cheap. Let’s call this another $1.00 per person.

So, for the price of $1.40 per person, four friends watched a movie and had a lovely evening.

Had we instead gone to the movie theater closest to my house, we would have each spent $13.50 on a ticket and $0 – $10 on snacks, depending on whether we felt like springing for expensive popcorn and soda. Let’s be conservative with the snacks (as I was maybe was above) and call this $16.00 per person. (That’s equivalent to watching 11 movies at home, given the $1.40 number from above!)

It’s a lot more expensive to go to the movie theater than it is to watch something from home. And with the unbelievable amount of content available via streaming services, there is most definitely something everyone could enjoy without going to the movies.You’re paying a premium to see what is new and on the big screen. Wait a year or so, and the cost drops dramatically.

Now, I am not saying you should stop going to the movies. You should spend money on what you value and can afford. If that’s seeing a movie on the big screen, do it! BUT, I do think a reminder about trade-offs is important. Before you spend money on something that feels routine and normal, ask yourself if you REALLY REALLY REALLY want it. And if you do, go for it, but if what you want is a movie night with friends, think about the best way to have just that (costs, snacks, and comfort included).

Until next time,


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