Frugal Families

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 12:02 AM



I just read a magazine article about Frugal Families. They had a couple of stories to illustrate how a family can live frugally, but have fun, too.

There was, of course, some good stuff in it. They clip coupons and shop the grocery store sales. Great, go for it.

But, two things jumped out at me:

1. They are paying double the minimum payment on their credit cards, and are scheduled to have their credit card debt paid off in four years.


If they are so incredibly frugal, how did they get in credit card debt in the first place? Why did they charge more than they could afford, in the first place? And, why aren't they paying off huge chunks, instead of just double the (already low) minimum?

(This one is both sad and funny.)
2. They go to the movies, then save money on concessions by smuggling in their own treats in the baby's diaper bag.


Let's put aside the question of why not just rent videos at home.

A great part of a theater's income is from the concession stand. From what I have read, the ticket price mostly goes to the movie distributor, but the theaters pay their own bills with concession stand profits. That's why the prices are so high.

Personally, I rarely go to the concession stand at the movies, because the prices are so high. But, I don't smuggle in my own treats! Nor do I, therefore, leave the trash from my own smuggled-in treats in theater trash bins that theater employees have to take out. I wonder if Frugal Family is also smuggling out the empty wrappers and soda cans.

I could just see theater owners all over the country reading that magazine article and saying "Thanks a lot. (Not.) Now we will have to raise ticket prices for everyone if smuggling treats becomes more prevalent. Or we will have to pay someone to inspect diaper bags as they come in the door.".


Angele Posts : 76 Registered: 8/15/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 1:40 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I always take my own treats to the movies, some candy and a water bottle. It's just to expensive to buy at the concession stands. At the most, I'll buy popcorn for my son to share, but that's about it. So what's wrong with it? Nothing. Heck, I learned the trick from my own mom when she, my sister, and I would sneak off to the movies on that rare afternoon after she picked us up from school. It saved us a little money and gave me good memories of sitting in the dark, sharing red vines, and watching the latest flick. The theater owners never knew, and probably could care less if they found out--especially since they employed pimple-faced teenagers to be their managers. Ticket prices are already incredibly high, going to the local blockbuster's is fun but not that much a thrill. At least we're paying for the tickets (matinees by the way--so still cheaper than going to a evening show) and not theater hopping. I refuse to pay four thirty-five for a small soda, and then more for candy, popcorn, and whatever else. The cost of buying snacks is too high, and buying enough to feed a family of three, can be just as expensive as a tank of gas. Huzzah to Frugal Familes!!


Bride2008 Posts : 3,058 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 8:58 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

My sister works for a movie theater, at the concession counter. And I agree the prices are insane - but thats where they make their money. I agree the prices are absolutely insane. The theater employees take a lot of crap and work very hard in most places.

I think that bags should be checked for smuggled items by security. Not because someone might sneak in a bottle of water or bag of chips, but because of the other stuff people sneak in. Just Friday night I was in the theater and it wreaked of booze because the people in front of me snuck beer in.


"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." - Billy Crystal, When Harry met Sally 


RoBelle Posts : 1,236 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 9:14 AM Go to message in response to: Bride2008

Ooooh a movie theater. . . I haven't seen the inside of one of those in YEARS!!!  LOL Cry




Mushaboo Posts : 2,165 Registered: 3/22/08
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 9:54 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I'm worse than the PP.  We actually download the movies from torrent sites.  We don't bother going to the movies unless it's a must see on IMAX movie.  -(Ex. Dark Knight) 

I will tell you, AOTB, that I did and still do sneak snacks into the theatre when I go.  I take stupid stuff like carrots or wheat crackers with low cal cheese spread.  I lost a lot of weight so I try to avoid junk food.  Yes, I do take my trash back out with me.


MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 9:55 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

With the credit card debt, who knows why they got in debt.  Also, who knows how much more than the minimum they can pay off.  Unless the article says so.  But I can tell ya that saving for retirement/emergencies and paying off credit card debt in "huge chunks" is a tricky maneuver. 

As for the movies, I assume that theaters know that people smuggle in food.  I personally have smuggled in hamburgers, popcorn, sodas, a chipotle burrito, and, once, sushi.  Oh, and there was the time I brought in a flask to spike my Coca-cola. 

I generally throw my trash away properly.  And the entire meal thing is a rarity.  I smuggle not just because of the prices, but because there is nothing nutritious at a food counter.  The popcorn is loaded with transfat, there isn't anything remotely healthy on a menu at the theater.  So these days I put in my at-home popped popcorn in a plastic bag, bring it in with my purse, and I also bring an apple or banana.

Why don't I just eat before the movie?  Oh, if only it were that simple.  Part of the problem is that the minute I smell popcorn, I want it, and the only way to keep me from buying it is to bring my own.  Also, many days I go straight from long hours at work, to a movie theater, which leaves no time for dinner.  I need to snack then, or by the time I get home I will be starving -- and then I'll overeat.

I can't imagine the theater will start searching bags for food.  They don't have the staffing resources, and on a crowded night like Friday (when everyone and their mother went to see the new Batman) they wouldn't be able to efficiently get people into the seats if they checked everything.  Also, checking purses alienates the customers -- a no-no for small business.

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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 10:09 AM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

Aunt - hate to be the bearer of shocking news, but smuggling in your own snack foods has been happening for AGES. This is not a new phenomenon. I remember when we were little, my mom and dad would take us to the drugstore right before the movie and we could pick out one snack each. Then she would put them in her large purse and off we went to the movies with our .50 candy bars or whatever they were back then; probably even cheaper lol. I think we would buy drinks only at the concession stand, I cant remember. The point is; its a VERY common occurance. I also used to work in a movie theatre and I can tell you that the people who DO buy from the concession stand are no more "polite" about picking up their trash, so it makes no difference. We would spend 30-40 min in between each film just getting everyones crap off the floor. And 9 times out of 10, the ones who smuggled in food usually smuggled it OUT too. Its half full popcorn tubs, sticky soda, melted chocolate to the floor,and other disgusting food items we had to shovel out from underneath chairs.


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B2B999 Posts : 700 Registered: 12/7/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 10:19 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I also "smuggle" food - only I don't bother to hide it. I just walk right in carrying whatever I happen to be eating or drinking, or plan to eat or drink. I'm holding it when I buy the ticket, I hold it in plain sight while walking into the theatre. I have never had anyone say anything to me about it.

I'm not entirely sure that the theatres near us make their money just from concessions. I would imagine that the film distributors charge the same amount for each theatre to show the movie yet somehow there are movie theatres around here that charge $12 for one adult movie ticket, when I go across to my sister's house in PA and she can go see 2 movies at the drive-in for $6.00 ($8 on nights they have fireworks). Therefore I have no problem whatsoever bringing my own food into the theatre in NJ, afterall they are obviously making a profit on my ticket purchase they don't need my money at the concession stand as well.

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 10:26 AM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

Smuggling food into a movie theater is pretty normal. I usually bring my own water. I just can't justify paying $3 for a bottle of water at the movie theater if I can buy one at CVS for $1...or better yet, a 24-pack at the grocery store for $3.99. Most of the time, I don't eat during movies, but when I do, I usually bring my own snacks, simply because there isn't anything I want to eat at the concession counter. Basically, you have a choice of popcorn, candy, nachos, or hot dogs...maybe a few other not-so-healthy items, if it's a large theater with more variety. If they had fruit or healthier snacks available, maybe I'd buy from them...but there's really no healthy options. And I'm with MsD - I don't always have time to eat before going to the movies, particularly if I'm rushing there from work. Why not see a later movie and get dinner first? I could, but it's a trade-off...if I see the later movie, I don't get home until after I want to be in bed.

On the credit card debt, most people who have it aren't able to pay it off in a lump sum. If they had the money to pay for the original expense in the first place, they likely wouldn't have put it on a credit card. I think a lot of people just assume that credit card debt means that the person in question was irresponsible in accumulating it, but that's not always the case. Lots of people keep credit cards solely for emergencies. When an emergency happens, they might not have the cash set aside to pay off the debt immediately. I know that's how my DH racked up a credit card balance - one emergency. And even people with the best intentions sometimes have difficulty making payments. I know I'd like to pay off DH's credit card debt, but between housing costs, student loans, saving for retirement and putting money into our emergency fund (to avoid this issue with future emergencies), there's little leftover to make a lump payment, so the best we can do is to transfer the balance to another card with a 0% introductory rate and pay it off within a year.

Of course, the smartass in me wants to say, 'Maybe if they didn't spend so much money going to the movies and buying snacks to smuggle in, they might be able to pay off their credit cards earlier.' But that's just the smartass in me.

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ChrissLady Posts : 1,352 Registered: 4/5/06
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 10:29 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I can't remember a time when I smuggle food into a theater, but I have to agree that the concession prices are outrageous.  Also like PP said there isn't anything healthy.  Typically DH and I eat before we go to the movies.  Occasionally we will buy something from the stands, when we have extra money.


As far as the credit card debt goes, who knows what happened?  My car went kaput on us back in 2006, and we had two options.  Get a new (used) one, and run the risk of it being a POS or put the $3K on the credit card to get mine fixed.  We didn't have much of a savings, because we were saving for the wedding, and getting another car wasn't an option.  So our credit card debt went up by $3K.  Do I regret it? No! Would I do it again?  Depending on the circumstances, yes.

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PLysak Posts : 288 Registered: 7/8/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 10:45 AM Go to message in response to: ChrissLady

I've got 4 kids, so I am a frugal family queen.  However, I don't smuggle snacks into movie theaters.  When my kids and I go to the movies (which is rare, because for me, DH, and the kids, it can be $60!!), we eat dinner or lunch before we go, and I tell the kids before we go in that I will get them ice cream after the movie.  So they never bother me for stuff when we get in there.  And the meal is eaten at home, and the ice cream is the store brand from the local grocery store, and a pack of cones.  So I'm paying about $0.75/cone, as opposed to $2.00/cone.  Plus, my kids are awesome, and don't care about not going to Friendly's.  As long as the end result is the same, they don't care about the name on the paper napkin.

Priscilla & John

Crazy for each other, since 1995.


cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 1:01 PM Go to message in response to: PLysak

Well, I've done it.  Back when I was a single mom and took the kids only to each year's new DIsney matinee.  But, we don't do it now.  Typically, since it's so expensive to take all the kids to a movie, we'll maybe get drinks and DH and I share a large water.  If DH and I go alone, we may get popcorn also.  I like theatre popcorn.  I know it's bad for me.  I don't care.  Part of what we like is that we are suppose to eat crappy at the movies.

Anyway, sneaking stuff in is no big new thing, nothing that article talks about is anything new or enlightening, just more useless "news" that isn't really "news" at all, which is one of my many huge problems with the media anymore.



MrsMcCain Posts : 580 Registered: 10/24/07
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 1:07 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I bring my own snacks if I feel like I need them. I do this when I go to baseball games etc... too. Half of the time I only need a drink. I don't see anything wrong with doing that... people can choose how to spend their money. If I don't bring my own treats, and I buy admission for two plus large popcorn, pop and candy, I end up spending about $40.00 just to see a movie... that may or may not be good.

I personally don't see anything wrong with bringing your own things... people still want to go out and have fun, but not a lot of people have money right now since the economy is so bad.

 I also want to add that I am NOT for checking your bags by security... what an invasion of privacy! I carry a lot of things in my purse, including things like tampons that I do not wish for anyone else to see. The only time a bag should be checked by anyone is if they think that I'm carrying a gun or a knife! But to invade people's privacy because of smuggling in their own goodies is not a good enough reason to take away my right to privacy.

Message was edited by: NickeyBlueEyes


Retired Posts : 808 Registered: 4/17/06
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 1:22 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Well, I think the main absurdity here is that they go to the movies, period.

I don't even have kids, and I'm very frugal. I don't spend any money where I don't need to. Know the last time I went to a movie in theaters? Two and a half years ago. And for hubby and I, it cost $18 AFTER our student discounts. Now the local movie theaters won't even honor student discounts anymore, so it costs $24.

And guess what? We still have PLENTY of fun. We go out to the beach for a walk together early in the morning. We study for class together (we share a class in school.) We go sit out at the park while I work on my novel and he takes pictures. None of those things cost money, but they're enjoyable and they bring us closer. I can't say sitting in a movie theater has ever done that.

I think it's silly to be like, "oh, we're so frugal, we cut coupons and go to sales" but then chuck out big bucks for movie tickets. Especially when your kids probably already have enough visual stimulation between TV, video games and computers to give them a low-grade seizure. You're better off taking them to a park to run around and spend REAL time with you instead of sit and rot silently next to you in a movie theater.

And P.S. The local movie theater here requires all bags to be checked before entering. So yes, they will confiscate any little snacks you bring it upon yourself to try and sneak in, and they return them to you when you leave the theater. When the theater first opened years ago, there was a bit of a fuss over it, but now no one cares. You either buy their snacks, or you don't snack.

Besides, I'm sorry, but the popcorn from home is never quite like the uber buttery, salty confection you get from the theater. Yum.


ginmal Posts : 396 Registered: 1/11/08
Re: Frugal Families
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 2:10 PM Go to message in response to: Retired

I personally DETEST the movie theatres. I am paranoid about sitting in the seats (who sat on them before me and what did they do on them??) Resting my head on the chair back (did the previous person have lice??) I will NOT use the cup holders (I saw once on Oprah that cup holders in movie theatres and the cracks in the seats hold a TON of feces....this is why I can not bowl, bowling alleys finger slots are also covered in Feces...and if I do bowl, I granny bowl without sticking my fingers in the holes...LOL)

So I have MANY issues just with the cleanlieness of the theatres, let alone the ridiculous cost to buy a ticket. And then the even more ridiculous prices they charge for that nasty stale greasy butter and boxes of candy. Yuck!

I haven't been to the movies since x-mas time last year ONLY because my daughetr was begging to see Fred Clause....but that was the first time I had been since I took her to see Charlottes Web, so I go maybe MAYBE once every two years...and if you ask me that is one time too many.

But, when we go we DO bring in our own food and drinks.

Bless your own day, leave mine alone!Innocent



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