Movies for free? It’s possible.

Money. It’s the eternal struggle that everyone has to deal with: how to get it, how best to manage it, what to spend it on, and how to ensure that it keeps coming in. College students especially feel this pressure, and the word “free” has become a Pavlovian trigger for them to drop everything they’re doing. Unfortunately, it’s not often that you see that trigger word in front of “entertainment,” but the craftiest of college students, myself included, have found our ways. My area of free exploitation expertise? Movies. That’s right: free movies, and I’m not talking about the downloaded kind.

Ever since beginning my formative college years, I have gathered a fair amount of knowledge about the best way to squeeze in as many movie viewings and opportunities as possible for nothing. While I’m not guaranteeing an easy venture into Free Movie Land, it is worth the trip.

One of the best things about movie studios is that they get worried that people won’t like their movies. To remedy this worry, they hold plenty of free, advanced screenings in cities all around the country. These screenings draw in the true cinephiles, who generate buzz for these upcoming movies before they even get wide or limited release to theaters. While this a smart move on their part, it’s even smarter for college students to take advantage of them.

Two great websites have proven to be very valuable in my quest for free movies. For the latest on everything movies, gofobo (http://www.gofobo.com/) has proven to be a great outlet. In addition to providing the most up-to-date news, it posts local screenings frequently. It does require setting up an account and RSVP codes to get into the private screenings, but occasional emails give you the invite to those exclusive screenings. Checking the website a couple of times a week is a bit of an inconvenience, but you could end up lucking upon that movie you’ve been dying to see.

A second source that has provided endless opportunities is the website Buzzbo Boston (http://buzzbo.com/bos/). While not as heavy with film news, it provides plenty of flyers and PDFs that give those elusive RSVP codes needed to access the private screenings from gofobo. Buzzbo covers the gamut of movie selections, from new blockbusters to smaller independent films. If you’re looking for more immediacy in your free movie searching, Buzzbo is the one for you. On top of all of that, they have a Twitter account, @buzzboBOS, which makes it even easier for the tuned in college student to simply check their Twitterfeed and snag a free movie.

For those a little more daring, and who are willing to spend the couple bucks, movie hopping can become a well-honed hobby. The structure of the Boston Common AMC Loews works smashingly for movie hopping, as the majority of the movies are on the top floor, and there is no need to walk past a ticket taker to go in between them. Movie hopping involves seeing several movies for the price of one–buying one ticket to a movie upstairs, and then seeing as many other movies as you can during that day. It takes some time, but you can plan out a whole day of four to five movies with not much downtime in between, making a clean sweep of everything you want to see. Another little piece of advice? Hit up CVS or 7-11 to grab some snacks and drinks instead of wasting your money on the overpriced food at the Loews. While this may not be the most ethical way to see movies for free, it sure is a fun way to spend a rainy Sunday.

While the escalated prices of movie tickets have definitely emptied pockets over the years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to work around them. With some snooping, sneaking, and general luck, even the silver screen can be a money-free experience.

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