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After our family moved to the west coast (Seattle area), we have adopted a new family activity: going to the movies every Friday.
At the movie theater near us, the ticket price is $14 for adults and $11 for kids. We are a family of four, so the ticket price in total would be $50.
Mr. FAF and I work full-time, so we won’t be able to go see the movies until after 5 PM, which is almost dinner time. We are not allowed to bring food and drinks into the movie theater. That means that we either have to eat something really quickly at home or have to spend at least $20 more on food and drinks at the movie theater.
That comes to $70 in total for a movie night out.
But for the last two weeks, we have been able to see movies for free. Plus, we have been the only family at the movie showing. That means we have the whole movie theater to ourselves. The best part is we bring dinner to the theater and eat their (with permission).
How do we make that happen?
Why movies on Friday night
Mr. FAF and I have been brainstorming ideas about how we should spend more time together as a family. Usually, after a day of work, we eat dinner, go out for a short walk in our community, or drive to nearby parks.
However, we want to have more fun time together. Mr. FAF proposed that every Friday night, we sit down and watch a movie together.
Why we want to go out to watch movies
You might be thinking that it’s so easy and comfortable to just turn on the TV, pick a movie, and watch it together as a family. However, all of us quickly get distracted or bored. Our movie nights have not been working out well .
It’s challenging to pick a movie that all four of us want to watch. We tried “The Little Mermaid” and a couple of kids’ cartoons before. But either the kids or we got bored. And the movie nights quickly ended after 20 minutes.
The benefits of watching movies outside of the home
Based on our experience, when we sit at the movie theater, we are all (kinda of) forced to sit there together and finish the movie. At first, it’s a bit painful since we as adults feel like we need to spend the next hour and a half watching a kids’ show.
However, towards the end of the movies, we get more into the plot. And after the movies, we have something in common all four of us can talk about. We ask our kids what they like about the movies. Mr. FAF and I also discuss the characters and the storyline.
It’s literally our common topic of conversation for at least 30 minutes.
How we can eat and drink for free
Normally, movie theathers don’t allow food and drinks. However, we have checked with the staff at the movie theater where we went, and they were totally fine with us eating and drinking during the movie.
So how do we get the food and drinks for free? Don’t we have to pay for the food or groceries at least?
Well, Mr. FAF’s compay provides free food and drinks. And most of his colleagues pack dinner (sometimes two boxes of food for each person) to bring home, so he does the same and brings us food for the movie night.
He packs just a bit more than usual so we can share with him. He picks up soda from his office. We also bring water from home.
Some of the food from Mr. FAF’s office:
How we can watch movies for free
The answer is simple: we go to a family movie night at the local community center. It is a nice center where they reserve a huge atrium for family movies every Friday night.
There is a large screen with rows of seats. When we enter, we just tell the staff that we are there for a movie night. We don’t need to pay, check in, or do anything extra to start the fun activity. The movie is usually from 5:30 to 7:30 PM on Friday.
For the past few weeks, we have always been the only family there. We feel like we have the whole movie theater to ourselves although it’d be fun to share the space and make friends with another family.
How are the movies?
The movies are usually cartoons. They are not currently playing in movie theaters. Some were made back in 2001.
But since we as a family can’t agree on anything to watch together at home, most of the movies have been new to us and the kids. Some of the movies we’ve seen are Tangled and Monster Inc..
Mr. FAF and I are trying to explore new activities for our family. We have also considered going on cruises. But at the same time, we want something that we can do long-term and is frugal.
At the end of the day, the community center and those movie nights are funded by our tax money, so it’s not totally free. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore things that are made readily available to us given that we’ve already paid lots of money in taxes each year.
If you live in an area that offers free or low-cost communy activties, don’t forget or hesitate to check them out before you cross them off your list.
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