Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thrifty Recipe- Margaritas

It's a hot summer day, perfect for a cool drink! This recipe came from my mom originally. You may question the beer in the recipe, but you can't taste it and it makes the margaritas slightly "sparkling." Be careful, they pack quite a punch!

Easy Margaritas

1 can frozen limeade concentrate
1 can beer, chilled

1. Empty the frozen limeade concentrate into a pitcher
2. Pour in the beer
3. Use the empty limeade container to measure the tequila and pour into the pitcher, anywhere from half-full to full depending on how strong you want it to be
4. Serve over ice in a salt-rimmed glass

* Note, please drink responsibly!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thrifty Strategy- Refilled/Remanufactured Printer Cartridges

We had been carrying around empty ink cartridges (black and color) from our Canon printer for about six months. Today we happened to drive past Cartridge World (what an original name) and my husband decided it was time to take them in and see if they offered a good deal. He returned to the car about ten minutes later with packaged remanufactured cartridges. The color one was about $10 cheaper than a new one at Target and the black one was about $4 cheaper. We haven't tried using them yet, they come with a "100% guarantee" so hopefully they will work. They also gave us a punch card, if we buy nine cartridges we get one free.

So more to come once we give them a try.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My thrifty influences

If you've been reading my blog, you might be wondering how and why I became thrifty. There have been two major thrifty influences in my life; my mom and my husband.

My mother, who was/is a stay at home mom like me, showed me how to be thrifty by example. Some key things I learned from her (and continue to learn) include:
-A family that eats dinner together stays together
-How to plan menus
-The importance of sticking to the grocery list when shopping
-Using coupons
-Shopping TJ Maxx, Marshall's, dollar stores, Aldi
-The art/science of rummage sales

My husband is also a very thrifty influence. It must be his finance background! Some key things I have learned from him include:
-Using to centralize our budgeting
-Buying and selling on ebay and Craigslist
-Creating and sticking to a budget
-It can be fun to do home improvement projects

Who helps you be thrifty? Or is there someone in your life that gets you off course?

Long-lasting Cars- do you drive one?

I saw this slideshow on the Kiplingers website and it got me thinking about cars and thriftiness. One way to save a lot of money is to buy a reliable car and then take care of it.

Ten Cars that Refuse to Die
Olds Cutlass Ciera
Geo Prism
Subaru Wagons
Volvos (rear wheel drive)
Ford Crown Victoria
Fiat 500 (in Europe)
Mercedes 300D
Honda Accord
BMW 3-series
Jeep Cherokee

Yes, one of our cars is on there! We have a 1997 Honda Accord which is at over 180,000 miles and still going strong. It's a great car. Bought it used in 2003 and have since put well over 100,000 miles on it. I have a history of driving long-lasting cars. My high school car in the late 1990's was a 1985 Dodge Caravan which was awesome. When either our Accord or other car dies we plan to get a used minivan, maybe the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.

Anyone have a long-lasting car story? Have you ever made it to 200,000 miles?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In defense of books

As I was on the way home from the store today, I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR. The host was interviewing an author and the subject of e-books came up. The author admitted that she does not use an e-reader, and doesn't plan to start.  This discussion came up at book club a few weeks ago, and it seems that more and more people are starting to use Kindles and Nooks, however there are many out there who prefer the tactile experience of reading a physical book.

I am in the physical book camp. I love browsing libraries and bookstores and looking at book jackets to see what I might want to read. It's fun to look through my bookshelves at home and reminisce about where I got a particular book or when I read it last. I can underline, take notes, and look back at the notes years later. On a bus or in the airport, I can look around and see what people are reading and get ideas on what I might want to read. My daughter can chew on, grab, and follow along with me as I read to her, and I can pass my childhood books down to her. If some sauce splatters or spills on a cookbook, it's not a disaster of epic proportions, just a memory the next time I use that recipe and see the stain.

From a thrifty perspective, physical books are the clear winner.  You can exchange books with and lend books to others- friends or strangers. There are half-price bookstores and bargain shelves at libraries. Rummage sales offer a bumper crop of books. If you lose a paperback on a trip, you're out $10, not $150 or $200. You can check out any of millions of books at a library for free. Perhaps e-books will someday have these type of options, but as of now, they don't.

Well, back to thumbing through my pile of cookbooks to plan the perfect menu for this weekend!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sam's Club Open House August 6-8

I am not a huge fan of Sam's Club, but this sounds like a good deal for those of you who like warehouse clubs but are not a member of one. Sam's Club is allowing non-members to shop and get the same prices as members on August 6-8th. Might be a good way to stock up on household goods and food for the end of summer and back to school.

Sam's Club Tries to Get New Members with Free Test

Anyone out there a Sam's Club or Costco addict? We are not members of either and I'm not convinced that they would be a great deal for our family of two adults and one baby...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Splurge-Worthy Sunday: Digital SLR Camera

I have been reviewing the 339 pictures we took this weekend while at a friend's lake house. It was an amazing time with great people and I am so thankful that we have many great pictures to remember it by. While we own a small point-and-shoot camera, we use our Nikon D80 most of the time, including this weekend. I gave it to my husband for our five-year anniversary, and it was definitely quite a splurge. However, the quality of the photos is worth it. We have decorated our home with photos we have taken, printed up to 20 x 30 inches, and they are stunning! Now that we have a baby, our photography has taken on even more meaning and value. I am so glad I splurged on the D80, it has been more than worth the price.

Anyone else have a splurge-worthy camera?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Groupon Update

Well, we have pulled the trigger on purchasing a Groupon! For $15, we got a coupon worth $30 at Regis salons. My husband plans to use it for a haircut. For the past couple years he has been going to a stylist at LifeTime Fitness and paying over $20, so this was a worthwhile purchase. We'll let you know when he uses it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thrifty Recipe- Marinated Sliced Cucumber Salad

At this time of year, those who have gardens are almost at the point of having too many of some veggies. Cucumbers and zucchini tend to be culprits. This is an easy, refreshing recipe for a cucumber salad. My mom makes an amazing one that is very similar, just doesn't include dill or pepper. It's a fantastic way to enjoy some of summer's bounty.

Marinated Sliced Cucumber Salad
Link to recipe on

Makes four servings, and is easily doubled or tripled.

  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon regular salt)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 long or 2 short cucumbers (seedless if possible)
  • 6 to 8 leafy dill sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. For the marinade, combine the vinegars, sugar, salt and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it's fully dissolved, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture becomes somewhat syrupy. Let cool to room temperature.

2. While the marinade is cooling, finely slice the cucumbers into rounds about 1/16-inch thick. (I learned from my mom to use the large slots on the side of a grater, which make nice thin slices) Pick the leaves from the dill sprigs, discarding the stems, and finely chop.

3. Place the cucumbers, dill and marinade in a heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag or covered glass or corningware dish and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably 4 or more. (I find this gets even better after a day or two). With a slotted spoon, lift the cucumbers into a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top Websites for Getting Great Deals

This article on Kiplinger's website caught my eye. It outlines 21 top websites for getting great deals online. It includes everything from sites that help with price comparisons, coupon sites, and even sites that sell giftcards for a price lower than face value. I am going to give some of these sites a try!

21 Websites for Finding Deals Online

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Your credit score- check it!

I heard on NPR this week that the number of Americans with sub par credit scores has increased recently. More Americans' Credit Scores Sink to New Lows

This is alarming because a low credit score can be a real hindrance. It can lead to being denied for loans or to receiving a higher interest rate, which costs you more in payments. The federal government has put a program in place to allow you to check your credit report with the three major credit reporting companies for free once a year. The Federal Trade Commission has a website outlining the program: FTC Free Annual Credit Reports.

You owe it to yourself to take the time to request and review your credit report and to follow up on any errors or inconsistencies you find. It's not just thrifty, it's protecting your identity and your ability to buy a home or car!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thrifty Strategy- Carry-on luggage

Even before airlines started charging to check luggage, I tried to carry-on at all costs. There is nothing worse than getting off of an airplane, then standing next to the luggage carousel, hoping and praying that your suitcase will appear down the ramp! And now they charge you for that experience? No thanks.

I think the most impressive packing job was when the two of us went on a 10-day trip that included a seven-day Mediterranean cruise and didn't check anything.

How do we manage to avoid checking bags? Here are some strategies:

- Plan to do some laundry/have some laundry done for you while at your destination. When we were on the Mediterranean trip I planned to send out some items to be washed while we were on the ship. On a trip to Norway, I knew one of the places we were staying had a laundry room, so we did some laundry there. When you're staying with friends or family they usually don't mind if you throw in a load while you're there.
- Wear your bulkiest clothes on the airplane. My husband sometimes wears his suit jacket and dress shoes on the plane just to save space in the luggage for other items. Jeans are also a great plane candidate, especially since it's usually chilly on board.
- Mini containers of shampoo, sunscreen, etc are your friend. It's amazing how much can fit in that small ziplock. Keep in mind that hotels usually provide the basics and if you're staying with friends or family, they will usually have something you can use. If there's a hair product you can't live without, put it into a smaller container.
- Invest in a good rolling carry-on bag that fits easily in the overhead bin, but expands if you absolutely need more space on the way home. Checking a bag one way is 50% cheaper than checking it both ways!
- Make sure your extra "personal item"  (read: huge backpack that will fit under the seat in front of you) is roomy and can fit a lot of stuff.
- It is possible to travel with an infant and not check a bag. You can bring breastmilk or formula through security, they just have to do a chemical test on it. You can also bring a carseat and stroller right up to the gate, then gate check it when you get on the plane. It will be waiting for you on the jetway at the other end of the flight. The child who is travelling is allocated one piece of carry-on luggage as well.

Any other tips or strategies you'd like to share?

Monday, July 19, 2010

To Toss or Not to Toss? Food past its sell-by date

My husband suggested this post because he and I have differing opinions on this topic. I tend to be pretty inflexible on expiration dates, especially refrigerated items. However, he tends to keep (and eat) things beyond the date. According to a recent article in Progressive Grocer, Americans waste billions of dollars a year discarding food that is past its sell-by date but is still safe to eat.

Americans Waste Billions Tossing Food Mistakenly Believed to be Spoiled

From the article:  “Food scientists agree that most foods, if stored properly, can be safely consumed for days or even weeks past the package date,” said Joe Regenstein, professor of food science at Cornell University and a member of the Board of Advisors. “The dates on food packages are very conservative; if the product was stored properly, it should last well beyond the date on the package.”

Any strong feelings out there on this topic?  I for one just can't ignore the date on milk containers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thrifty Strategy- Coupons

What are you looking at above? This is my super-simple strategy for organizing my coupons. Each Sunday when I look through the paper and when I find online coupons, they either go in the white "save" or green "use this week" envelope. Then when I make my grocery list, I go through both envelopes, throw out any that have expired and make sure the ones I need for the week are in the green envelope. The hardest part is remembering to bring the green envelope with me. The best way to remember is to keep it in the purse or bag I plan to bring with me or in the car.

Do you have a coupon strategy? Feel free to share!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thrifty Recipe- Sausage, egg, and hash brown casserole

While this recipe would not qualify as "light and healthy," it is a hearty option when you have a large group to feed for breakfast or brunch. It is one of my husband's favorites as it has three key ingredients; eggs, sausage, and hash browns. Pair it with a fruit salad and you're ready to host 10 for brunch!
Sausage, Egg, Hash Brown Casserole

1 pound ground sausage (no need to pre-cook)
9 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
4 tablespoons melted butter
24 oz package frozen shredded hash browns
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray or grease with butter
2. Break up sausage and layer on bottom of pan
3. Mix milk and melted butter to beaten eggs and pour over sausage
4. Add layer of hash browns
5. Top with shredded cheese
6. Bake for one hour

Friday, July 16, 2010

Splurge-worthy Saturday (one day early)

My five month old daughter and I flew from Minneapolis to Milwaukee this morning. The whole process, from our front door to seeing my family here, took three hours. We were in the air for 42 minutes. If we would have driven, if would have been a full tank of gas plus over six hours of driving plus probably three rest stops for baby-related needs. The round-trip ticket on Delta was $160. This meets my definition of splurge-worthy.

What is splurge-worthy to you? You'll see some more of mine in the weeks to come.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1024 Diapers- We did it!

We have been using cloth diapers ever since our daughter was three and a half weeks old and big enough to wear BumGenius. You can read more about our experiences on two of my past blogs here. Once we switched, the only time we used disposables other than some one-off times was when we were in San Diego in a hotel for five days. Other than that, it's been all cloth, all the time. Each time I wash and dry a load of diapers, I count how many there were and mark my handy tracking sheet taped to the wall in our laundry room. This week we hit a major milestone, over 1000 diapers!
Here are some of our diapers (We have 31 of them) hanging on the drying rack. I usually do a load every two or three nights and leave them to dry until the next day.

And because I couldn't resist, here is a picture of our daughter at about a month and a half with her diapers.

I'm estimating that we have saved about $125 by using cloth (since our diapers were gifts we don't have to earn back the $18 cost per cloth diaper). This is based on the price of 50-pack Up and Up diapers. I can't wait to keep saving more money! Plus, we've avoided putting 1024 diapers in a landfill and our daughter looks so darn cute in them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Groupons: Worth the hype?

I keep seeing ads for Groupon on the right side of my Facebook page. There was an article about it in our local paper. Then, I saw an article from the Washington Post about a guy who is living for an entire year by only spending Groupons. What is Groupon all about? All I know at this point is the site offers a deep discount coupon each day on a restaurant, performance, or other activity in the local area. However, the deal is only given if a certain number of people sign up for the coupon.  Does this really work?

I've decided to sign up and see what it's all about. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why so much about food?

 A reader commented a few days ago on the fact that many of my posts are about food- recipes, grocery shopping, thrifty strategies for eating out. They asked how much the average American spends on food, was it a large percentage of their total income? Hopefully this post will answer at least some of their questions.

I have mentioned food-related topics so often for several reasons. One, I enjoy cooking and eating! I have also found through experience that it is relatively easy to completely overspend on food, whether at the grocery store or more likely when you eat at a restaurant. By being planful about meals and grocery shopping, you can save quite a bit of money and also have the enjoyment of cooking and eating good food with your friends and family. In a household budget, food is one of the items that you have some control over. Rent or mortgage payments are fixed, car repairs are sometimes unpredictable. So by paying attention to the food you eat, you will be helping your budget while helping your health at the same time.

So, on to the numbers. The site Visual Economics has an awesome graphic showing how the average US consumer spends their paycheck. Here's a link to it as well.
Some things to note:
- The average consumer unit is 2.5 people with an average age of 48.8 and spends $49,638 per year
- On average, 12.4% of expenditures is on food, with 7% spent on food eaten at home and 5.4% spent on food eaten outside the home. .9% of expenditures are spent on alcoholic beverages.

Here's a link to a site recommended by Kristy- thanks! It's the guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture of how much the average American spends on groceries per week and per month. We spend around $350 to $375 a month for the two of us, so that puts us in the "thrifty" column. USDA Cost of Food at Home

What do you think of these numbers? Have you found any other interesting sources on food budgeting and expenditures?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Improvement- Staining our Deck Days Two and Three

On Saturday and Sunday, it was time for the main event- applying the stain. My husband picked out a redwood color and bought two cans based on the square footage of the deck. However that didn't take the railings into account so by the end of the project we ended up purchasing four cans of stain- unfortunately an overage on our budget.
The Behr stain

On Saturday, we tackled the railing and spindles. I didn't count the number of spindles, but it took most of the day. My husband was on a ladder on the outside and I was on the inside. It was a great opportunity for some deep conversations!

View from on the deck

View from the yard- partially complete

On Sunday afternoon it was time to finish the floorboards and the flower boxes and benches. We finished everything but a couple of the flower boxes and two benches.

Complete deck and some of the flower boxes. Still have to take blue tape off of the lights.

Completed deck!

So, all-in-all a successful and pretty thrifty project when you compare to the cost of hiring people to do it for you. Here is the equipment needed. We already had everything except the cleaning chemicals and stain.

- Pressure washer
- 1 container mildew cleaner
- 1 scrub brush for cleaning the deck
- 1 container pre-treater
- 1 tall ladder
- 1 large paintbrush attached to long stick for applying stain to floorboards and large areas
- 2 to 3 smaller paintbrushes for spindles and detail work
- Blue tape for taping edges against house and outdoor lights
- 4 cans deck stain
- Sheets and other drop cloths to keep stain off of house
- 1 weekend's worth of time

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home Improvement- Staining our Deck Day One

We couldn't put it off any longer- our deck needed to be re-stained. This is our third summer in our house and the deck was showing signs of age. Some boards had greenish mildew stains, the stain had worn off of some areas, and it was generally time for a facelift.

Before- note poor condition of floorboards

Before- Color was uneven on railing as well as floorboards

Before- Mildew and staining on parts of the deck

The first step was powerwashing (with a powerwasher borrowed from my in-laws) to remove as much dirt and mildew as possible. We then scrubbed the mildew stains with a brush using a special chemical and rinsed, then scrubbed the whole deck with a pre-treater to ensure the boards were ready to soak up the new stain.

Pressure washing

The floorboards after the chemical treatments.

So at the end of the day Friday we had a clean, prepared deck and we were ready to take on the actual stain application on Saturday... more to come!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Home Improvement- Staining our deck

I am too tired for much of a post tonight. For the past two days we have been working on cleaning and re-staining our backyard deck. A post or two with before and after pictures will be forthcoming. We are saving quite a bit of money by doing this project ourselves instead of hiring someone.... that's what I was telling myself today as I painted 50 or so spindles!

Meanwhile, here's a link to an article from The Wall Street Journal about talking to your kids about money:

"Daddy are we rich" and other tough questions

Friday, July 9, 2010

Smartphones- convenient but emptying your bank account?

I'm guessing that most people reading this blog have a smartphone, and some of you are even reading this on your Blackberry, iphone, or Palm. I personally am still sticking to a regular phone without a data plan and using my ipod touch to get online, but my husband has had a smartphone for several years now, and I use his quite a bit. The rise of smartphones and their associated data plans have caused many to see their monthly cell phone bills go through the roof. The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about this phenomenon. The article also offers some tips on avoiding hidden costs.

Wall Street Journal Article

One method mentioned in the article which we have been using for awhile is Google 411. It's a free directory assistance line. The number is 1-800-GOOG-411. It sometimes takes a couple calls to find the right number, as it's all based on voice recognition, but it's much better than the high prices some cell phone companies charge for directory assistance.

Anyone out there have other tips to lower your monthly bill?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Craigslist- Selling

My husband has a couple things up on Craigslist for sale right now, so I was inspired to write a post about selling on Craigslist. I'm sure it will be followed soon by a post on all of the great finds we have gotten from Craigslist.

Here are some of the items we have sold on Craigslist over the past few years:
- Oak table and six chairs
- Bathroom faucet
- Broomball shoes
- Front door we had replaced
- Outdoor lights we didn't need

A storm door and large tarp are on there now.

and the most exciting item we sold was....

A Mazda 929!
When we were moving back to Minnesota from Long Beach, we decided to get rid of my husband's car. A few days before we moved, he posted it for sale. It was gone and we had cash in our pocket about three hours later! Amazing.

Tips for Craigslist Selling:
1. Make sure the title of the posting is descriptive and includes the price
2. Include any relevant measurements, sizes, material information and always include at least one picture, hopefully more than one. Many people won't consider an item that doesn't have a picture. And make sure the picture is high-quality and really shows the detail of the item.
3. If it's a product that is available in the marketplace, include a link to the item for sale on Amazon or other retail site. This is especially useful for furniture.
4. Provide your contact information- at least your email address, and preferably a phone number, and be prompt about answering calls and emails. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to buy or learn more about an item and having to wait hours or days for someone to get back to you.
5. Don't put something up for sale if you don't plan to be home or available for the rest of that day and/or that weekend.
6. Fridays and Saturday mornings are good times to post items as most people are home on the weekend.
7. If you don't feel comfortable having someone come to your house to see an item, arrange to meet them in a nearby public place such as a gas station parking lot, library, etc. If they are coming to your home, make sure someone else is there with you just in case.
8. Only accept cash and don't ship items, there are a lot of scammers out there!
9. If something sells or you decide it's no longer for sale, remove your posting.

Here's a link to the Craigslist How-To section on the Craigslist site in case you want more information.

Happy selling!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thrifty Recipe- Poppyseed Dressing

A few months ago, I was making a spinach salad and had a taste for poppyseed dressing like they serve at D'Brien's, a deli in downtown Minneapolis. After searching the web, I found a recipe that I've made a few times now. It keeps in the fridge for about a week and is great with spinach and strawberries, or really on any salad. As you'll see, homemade salad dressing is a thrifty and healthy alternative to packaged, highly processed dressings.

Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon black poppy seeds

1. In blender or food processor combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard, and onion and process for 20 seconds
2. With blender or food processor on high, gradually add oil in a slow steady stream
3. Remove from food processor and stir in poppy seeds
4. Store unused dressing in refrigerator for up to a week. Stir before serving.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Great deal on grapes at Cub

For the second time in the past month, Cub grocery stores has an amazing deal on grapes. They have a coupon on the first page of their circular for a free pound of grapes. Basically if you buy grapes and use the coupon, they will deduct the cost of one pound. I make sure to pick a bag of grapes that is just one pound of a little over, so it's free or almost free. If you go through the self check-out lane, they don't take the coupon away, so I have already used the coupon a couple times. Fruit salad anyone?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thrifty Travel Strategy- Frequent Flier Credit Cards

I know several people who use a credit card to earn frequent flier miles. We have a Charles Schwab card that earns us cash back and an Exxon Mobil card that earns us free gas, so we haven't tried the miles thing yet. The New York Times recently had an article reviewing the different frequent flier credit cards. Sounds like the US Bank Visa FlexPerks card was their choice, do any of you use it?

Article from NY Times

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Treat

We went to our friends' annual Fourth of July BBQ today, which was a lot of fun as usual. I wanted to bring something festive. My mother-in-law gave us a bunch of fresh raspberries she had picked at a friends' house and they inspired me to make a patriotic treat. I made a batch of blue Jello Jigglers (using the recipe on the box), then cut into small cubes and topped each with a dollop of whipped topping and a raspberry. Perfect! They were a hit at the party, not to mention that they were easy to make and thrifty to boot. I think I will do something similar in other colors for Halloween, Christmas.... the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend. Make sure to check out all of the celebrations happening in your town. Parades, community concerts and events, and fireworks displays are a great way to spend time with your friends and neighbors and celebrate our country. And many of the events are free!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dollar movie theaters

Just got back from date night with my husband. We saw the movie Date Night. :) How is seeing a movie thrifty? When you see it at a budget movie theater. The Hopkins theater is our nearest one. Movies are $3 after 6pm and $2.50 on Tuesdays. When we lived in Long Beach CA, we found a budget theater in the Huntington Beach. Most cities have one, and while you won't get stadium seating or the most recent releases you will get to see a movie in the theater for much less than regular theaters charge. They try to make up for the cheap tickets with regular-priced concessions, so watch out!