Going to see the movies in a theater is something of a luxury these days, what with many families hit hard by the recession and budgetary extras like entertainment often the first to get the axe when it comes time to tighten the belt. When you add on top of that the rising costs of every aspect of the movie-going experience (including tickets, parking, and concessions) it’s easy to see how the film industry is losing money on big-budget blockbusters that would have earned a lot more even a few short years ago. And then, of course, there is the latest trend to contend with: movies that aren’t expected to do well are released for on-demand viewing on the day of theatrical release (or even before they’re slated to hit theaters). But if you happen to be in favor of the traditional viewing experience, whereby strangers gather in a dark theater to view a motion picture in all of its big-screen glory, then perhaps you’re looking for ways to save some scratch and still see the latest flicks in the theater. Here are just a few tips that will give you the experience for less.

For starters, you’ll probably want to skip evening shows. You can save a lot by seeing matinees (several dollars per ticket) and if you go to the earliest showing you’re unlikely to suffer the crowds that often pour in during the late afternoon. Of course, “date night” just isn’t the same when it occurs at noon; luckily, there are money-saving options for late shows, as well. For example, many cities have late run theaters that offer discounted tickets for movies that have already been out for several weeks or even a couple of months. You may have to wait a while to see the movies you’re jonesing for, but the tradeoff is that you can still see them on the big screen for a fraction of the cost you’d pay at regular movie houses ($3-5 per ticket, generally, as opposed to $9-12).

You might also be able to get discount or even free movie tickets in a variety of ways. For example, signing up for a Netflix account will currently net you two free movie tickets courtesy of Fandango (so they can be used at several different theater chains). Or if you have a Visa Signature card you can get a 20% discount for every $25 worth of tickets purchased through Fandango (and they frequently offer other deals through their website, as well). Many theaters also offer special discounts, especially if you purchase booklets of tickets in bulk or package deals that include tickets and concessions. You should ask at the time of purchase if any such deals are available or simply peruse their websites regularly.

And of course, it’s easy to save when it comes to the candy, drinks, and other snacks offered at the concession stand. All you have to do is bring your own (although you will have to hide them on your way in since most theaters have policies prohibiting outside food and drinks). While some people will simply turn to movie rentals, pirated downloads, or even purchasing movies on Blu-ray as a way to cut costs (thereby keeping companies like www.dvdduplication.net in business), others are still keen to experience the wonder and magic that only comes from seeing films in a theater setting. So if you’re looking to save some dough without giving up your cinematic fix, try some of the options listed above to get the tickets and concessions you love for less.