Movies, concerts and sporting events are one of the best ways to spend an evening out, but they can get pricey. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on tickets to all these events.
Whether you’re a regular cinema-goer or a weekend rocker, the next time you purchase tickets, use these tips to save some money.
How to Get Cheap Tickets
You don't need an excuse for a night on the town — all you need is a few friends and a little spending money.
Concert? Baseball game? IMAX? The options are endless, but if your funds are limited, your options might become limited too. Here are some ways to battle your low balance and slide your way into the cheap seats.
Along with discounts on things like a massage or pizza for two, Groupon features event tickets as well. Deals come and go, so check back often to see if the event you want to go to is featured. Sometimes you have to buy two tickets to get a deal, but it shouldn't be difficult to find a friend who is down to have fun for less. Groupon is great for museums, tours and local attractions.
This site offers coupon and promotional codes for a variety of businesses. Search for the event or company you want and you’ll see all the available coupon offers. It also offers coupons for retail stores, restaurants, travel sites and more.
Facebook Marketplace is the social media giant's version of Craigslist. You can find everything from used cars to refurbished cell phones. And if you're looking for last-minute tickets to a big game, you might even find yourself a steal.
How to Get Cheap Concert Tickets
Whether it's ripped, punched or scanned, almost every concert will check your ticket at the door. If you're as broke as a joke, you'll need to get creative. After all, money comes and goes, but your favorite band is in town only once this year.
Ticket Resale Sites
If the concert is not sold out, look at resale ticket websites close to the concert date. People buy up tickets when they first go on sale hoping to sell at a profit if the event sells out. If the show is not sold out, they might now be looking to unload unwanted seats for whatever price they can get. Resale sites like StubHub and CheapTickets.com often have cheap concert tickets available on the day of the show.
Work for Your Ticket
If the band you want to see has yet to be discovered, they might be looking for help to publicize their concerts. Get in touch with them on social media and see if they’re offering tickets in exchange for spreading the word about their show. Music venues and music festivals often have volunteer lists as well, so if you sign up in time, you might able to see your favorite band by working for part of the admission cost.
StubHub vs. Ticketmaster: Where to Get the Best Cheap Tickets
Call a Radio Station
Most concert promoters provide tickets to local radio stations to give away to listeners. For popular shows, the competition can be fierce, but it’s worth a try to score some free tickets. Some stations will hold a drawing on their websites or Facebook pages as well. For the most popular shows, your chances of scoring seats are pretty slim — but somebody’s going to win, right?
Rather than paying a fee to ticket brokers, sometimes people will try to resell tickets they can’t use on Craigslist. Last-minute concert tickets are often listed here and on other local sites. But beware, counterfeit tickets are very common, so be careful where you buy them.
Meet the seller in a public place and pay with cash if you can, and inspect the tickets carefully to be sure they’re legitimate.
How to Get Cheap Movie Tickets
3D movies can drain your wallet. If you toss in popcorn, a soft drink and Milk Duds, you're looking at a pricey cinematic experience. Check out these options for ways to get cheap tickets to the movies.
If you are a member of AAA, you can get discounted movie tickets at AMC, Regal and Cinemark theaters. You can also get discounts on tickets to theme parks, museums, water parks and more. In some cases, you will need to order the tickets from an AAA office; in other cases, you can simply show your AAA card at the box office. Check your local AAA office for details.
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Movie theaters will sometimes run specials on gift cards, particularly around the holidays. If you’re an avid movie-goer, this is a good time to stock up on gift cards and use them all year. Nobody ever said that a gift card can't be for yourself.
Film studios like to try their movies out on real audiences before they release them to the general public. In exchange for offering your opinion on the movie, you get to see the as-yet-unreleased film for free. You can sign up on sites like Gofobo.com and SeeItFirst.com to get notified when there will be screenings in your area. Note that most screenings are in large cities.
If you don’t need to go to the movies on a Saturday night, you can save a few bucks on your ticket. Many theaters offer discounted tickets for all daytime showings, and some have a bargain night during the week.
How to Get Cheap Tickets to Sporting Events
There's no crying in baseball, but you might cry if you can't afford tickets to the game. Do a little homework and compare ticket prices from a few different sources, beginning with the team itself.
Try the Team Website
Sports tickets are similar to concert tickets — you might be able to get a cheap seat if the event isn’t sold out, especially if it's close to kickoff time.
Many major league sports teams have a resale page on their website where season ticket holders can name their price to sell their seats. They might prefer to take less than face value rather than have the tickets go unused. Plus, the team website is usually a safe place to avoid buying counterfeit tickets.
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Outside the Arena
For sports teams that don’t always sell out, you can sometimes get a deal from so-called "scalpers" outside the venue. These opportunists are often looking to sell tickets for more than face value, but they’d rather get something than nothing. If it’s nearly game time and the place is only half full, you can likely negotiate your way down.
As with any secondary market, however, inspect the tickets carefully to make sure they’re real — and check rules and laws for your area to make sure you're not engaging in an illegal transaction.
How to Get Cheap Theater Tickets
There's nothing quite like a night at the theater. Unfortunately, this particular ticket can become super pricey, especially for Broadway productions. Before you sell your soul for musical tickets, try these methods first.
In many cities, there are brokers who sell same-day tickets to theater performances. In New York City, for example, TKTS ticket booths can be found in Times Square, South Street Seaport, Downtown Brooklyn and Lincoln Center. They offer tickets for shows the same evening at discounts of up to 50 percent off. They only offer tickets to shows that are not sold out though, so you won’t find Hamilton tickets there.
Join the Lottery
Many Broadway shows have lotteries for same-day tickets, starting a couple of hours before curtain. Sometimes you’ll need to stand in line to get "rush" tickets. For other shows, you can show up anytime to put your name in a bucket. Check Playbill.com for virtual and in-person lotteries, rush tickets and other promotions.
Be a Seat Filler
Some events, like the Oscars and the Grammys, provide free access to their events to people who are willing to fill seats that are empty because someone didn’t show up. Seat fillers can also temporarily fill seats for invited guests who step out to use the restroom or get a drink. Most of the opportunities to be a seat filler are located in Hollywood.
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