I guess I'm pretty lucky that my kids have never really been cinema goers in their short lives. The couple times we have gone, they've got bored, scared or just uncomfortable. From the time they were allowed to stay up a little later on a Saturday night, we've always had "Saturday Night Movie Night". Its been a great, cheap form of entertainment as a family.
We don't have a huge DVD library but quite a few of the classics including "Lady & The Tramp", "Up", "The Incredibles", "Cars", "Cars 2" etc etc. We also do have cable TV and record quite a few movies for the kids which are kept. Occasionally we have rented a DVD from the local store. The local library usually has quite an extensive range of DVD movies for hire for free. We've also swapped with neighbourhood families and friends. But no matter what the movie is, Saturday night movie night goes ahead regardless of where we are, for example, at my sister's, in laws, on vacation etc. I think they've only ever missed it once for bad behaviour and boy, they'll never forget that.
We nearly always have air popped popcorn and a few lollies or chocolates (last Saturday night was a marked down box of Maltesers for $3) but whatever it is, the costs are always kept to a minimum.
In the warmer months, there is always a homemade choc top cone and you can get the recipe here.
If you're lucky enough to have a drive-in in your area, these can often be a cheaper alternative to the cinema. Take all your goodies from home and enjoy a cinematic experience from a bygone era.
I've got great memories of going to the cinema with my Mum and Dad when I was young but these days it can get so expensive with all the extras like 3D, movie/popcorn/drink deals and all the other marketing merchandise that goes with it. With another 2 week school holiday coming up in September, save yourself a couple of bucks, explain to the children that you can watch the movie when it comes out on DVD in the comfort of your own home with your own popcorn, treats and the money you save can go towards something else.
This post is part of domesblissity's THRiVING - Thrifty Living feature.