I had an interesting week where I learned about some ways to save money that I just – for whatever reason – hadn’t thought of before. I wanted to share two of my personal discoveries with you. Then, I’ll flow into some other frugal tips I found on the interwebs this week.
1. I was buying some Disney and Universal Studios park tickets at my base’s Information, Tickets, and Tours (ITT) office this week. For my civilian readers, that is an office where military members can buy discounted tickets to theme parks and attractions. You may be able to get similar discounts if you work at a large corporation. I noticed that ITT had a “movie” section, so I checked it out. Turns out, my ITT offers discounted movie tickets!
At the theater I normally go to, a full price adult ticket is $13.20 (when did tickets get so expensive???). A military discount tickets at the theater is $10.75. I can buy tickets from my ITT for only $8.25 each! That’s a savings of $2.50 over the normal military discount, and nearly $5 off a full price ticket! I sometimes forget to ask for the military discount when I’m at the theater, so that’s huge for me.
2. I’m also a member of the theater’s rewards program. Every once in awhile, I earn freebies such as free drinks, popcorn, and invitations to free special screenings. I was sent an offer for a free small popcorn good only August 2-8, so I planned a trip to the theater with my discounted tickets. When I got there, I knew a small popcorn wasn’t going to be enough for us, so I asked whether it was possible to upgrade to a larger size. Turns out, it is possible!
This theater charges $6.50 for a small popcorn, $7.50 for a medium, and $8.50 for a large. The large comes with a free refill. With my free small popcorn offer, I only had to pay $1 to upgrade to a medium or $2 for a large. How great is that?
The theater will give you rewards points for using the discounted tickets, so I was able to get a movie ticket for $8.25 per person, plenty of popcorn for $1, and I still added points to my tally, which enables me to earn free movies in the future. That’s a solid date for less than $20, or a treat for a family of four for $35. Nice.
The theater I go to most often is a Regal Cinemas. If you aren’t already a member of their rewards program, you can sign up here: https://www.regmovies.com/crown-club#/account/login (not an affiliate link). Just looking at upcoming offers, you can earn 50% off rewards purchases, another free popcorn, and a free movie.
After several years of trying to convince my parents and sibling to join into a family cellphone plan, I finally got them all on the same page about 18 months ago. We joined a family plan on T-Mobile. If you are thinking I’m a sucker for using T-Mobile, I’ll tell you: it has been awesome! My personal monthly cost for unlimited everything, with an iPhone, is $34. My service is as good as it was on AT&T, but I get a lot more for half the price.
Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a discussion of T-Mobile broadly. Maybe I’ll write that up another time. What I specifically wanted to discuss was a discovery I made this week. T-Mobile offers its customers FREE WIFI service on flights that use Gogo! You only get an hour of full internet, but you also get unlimited texting, picture messaging, iMessage, WhatsApp, and a few other services for the whole flight. Normally Gogo wi-fi is $7 for one hour. Woah.
Since I just discovered this, I haven’t tried it out yet. But you can bet I’m excited to start! While Gogo isn’t on every airline yet, according to their website they are currently on eight airlines, including the Big Three: American, Delta, and United. Good enough for me. If you plan to try it out, make sure you visit the T-Mobile site linked in the header to make sure you are set up.
Enemy of Debt – July 24, 2017
This is a frugal tip I’ve used several times and you probably already know about, but it’s worth the reminder. If you can, you should always check the online price for something you want to buy. You may find that you can buy it for less than the in-store price, and still get it right away.
True story: I once was at a Walmart looking to buy a router. I forget the exact prices, but the one on the shelf was about $10 more than the exact same model on Walmart.com. The exact same model. Surely they’d just give me the online price, right? Nope. They wouldn’t honor it. So I used my phone to “ship-to-store,” had them bring it up to customer service, and walked out with the router. It took about 5 minutes. This is an especially confusing business practice because now Walmart.com gets credit for the sale, not the local store. The manager should really have thought of that. And if the manager isn’t empowered to do anything about it, well, that’s dumb.