Did you know that the average price for a family of four to watch a movie with popcorn, drinks, and boxed candy at a movie theater in 2020 is approximately $125.00? That’s just the basic package, which includes tickets, popcorn, candy, and drinks. 

In some theaters, you can get hot dogs, pretzels, nacho chips – go ahead and add another $40.00 to that price tag. Does that fit in your family’s budget? Certainly not in my budget. 

Not to mention, get the kids ready and out the door on time. What do you mean you can’t find your shoes? Stop fighting with your brother (or sister)! Please, get out of the mud puddles! This is my life, can you relate? 

So, by the time you are all packed and loaded in the car, what was meant to be a fun evening out with the family went south, and now we are in a rush, no one is happy, and there is mud all over.

To be honest, I am not a big movie buff, so spending so much money on going to the theater is something I don’t really understand. And don’t even get me started with the seating in the theater. Ever think about who sat in that chair before you and your family? 

If you haven’t, I bet you will now, and it is likely that that thought will reinforce having family movie night at home from now on! My childhood memory of watching movies was always spent at home, in my pajamas, and eating those “they’ll rot your teeth” snacks. 

Here are a few ideas to make family movie night at home a fun and memorable experience without breaking the bank.

What to watch for family movie night?

The first thing you need to do is to choose a movie. If your family is anything like my family, it will be a difficult decision to make! The ideas that I share will likely be used in my own home for our next family movie night.  

  • Have each family member write down the movie they wish to see on a small piece of paper and put those papers in a hat or bowl. Then, choose one person to pick out a paper to reveal what movie will be seen this week. Keep the paper container handy for future movie night voting so that each family member gets to watch their pick.
  • Another unique way is doing this digitally. There are so many sites and apps that are random generators for numbers and names. Just search “random name picker,” and you will have a variety of free sites to choose from.
  • If you have a spinner handy from a board game, you could assign each family member a number or color and spin away! The winner gets to choose the movie to watch. Dice will also work for this.

The daunting task of choosing a movie is complete, now the big question is, where do we get it? There are several different, budget-friendly ways to get the movie that you want to watch.  

Almost any movie is available online. Use a free website like justwatch.com to check out where’s the best streaming app or online store to get the movie from. 

However, if you are not a cord cutter (yet), you could also explore the below options:

  • Cable/on-demand movies
  • Redbox
  • Your local library 
  • Check your own movie collection

How to make family movie night at home a bit more exciting?


Don’t ditch all the bells and whistles of the movie theater experience just because you are staying home. On the day of your scheduled movie night, give each family member a ticket for admission to the movie either in the morning at breakfast, when they come home from school, or at dinner time. 

You will know the perfect time to give it to them that will make it extra special. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Although, by all means, if you have the time, do it up fancy! You can just as easily take a 3×5 index card and make your own with a few crayons, markers, and an imagination. 

If you are tech-savvy, use a word processing software to make one with fun font, colors, and images. This can be FREE as well by utilizing what you have at home.  

At Home Concession Stand Ideas

Movie night snacks are a must and can’t be forgotten, hence why I saved the best for last. This part will require some planning, preparation, and a little shopping. Probably my most favorite part of family movie night is getting the snacks ready and serving them. Totally budget-friendly.

Visit your local dollar store and purchase a small 3 or 4 compartment caddy with handles for each family member, they usually come in fun colors. 

They also have plastic popcorn containers sometimes found in the party aisle. These are perfect for everyone to have their own personal popcorn, and they also fit in the compartment of the caddy. 

If you can’t find plastic, a basic quart size bag will do just fine. Take a stroll down the candy aisle and pick up each family member’s favorite candy. 

For beverages, you can use juice boxes, small water bottles, and mini 100 calorie cans of soda (don’t judge, soda is a must-have during family movie night). These drinks also fit in the compartment of the caddy. In the last chamber, you can put a few napkins and/or baby wipes. 

The caddies are great along with the plastic popcorn containers because you can wash and reuse them for future movie nights. So basically, a one-time dollar store purchase will be used over and over again. Talk about budget-friendly and frugal.

Let’s talk popcorn! Popcorn can be plain or gourmet but nonetheless is the most iconic of all movie night snacks. Popcorn can be popped in a pot on your stovetop with some oil, popped in a microwavable bag, or purchased in a big bag already made. 

Traditionally, popcorn is very reasonably priced. Toppings can vary from classic butter and salt to sugar & cinnamon, paprika, or melted chocolate. It will all depend on your family’s taste buds!

You Are Enough

In today’s world, we seem to spend more time making memories and discovering life outside of our homes and less time in our home. After all, although cliché, someone once said, “home is where the heart is”, right? So, let’s slow down, live in the moment, and make memories with our family in the comfort of our own home and in our pajamas! 

Can we get real for a moment? Sometimes the stars just don’t align that day, and you can’t make it to the store, you don’t feel well, or it doesn’t fit in this week’s budget. Just take a deep breath, rise above, you are enough. 

It is completely acceptable just to use what you have at home and in the pantry as far as snacks and drinks. I have learned from experience that as parents, we have a knack of overthinking things and lose sight of what’s most important. 

It really is all about being home, living in the moment, being present, and enjoying our family. Family movie night is not only the right price for the budget, but the price is right for making memories that last a lifetime with the ones you love.  

Check out more family activities ideas here.