IT’S ONLY A MOVIE: Film Buff and Broke

film buff and broke

‘It’s only a movie’ is a segment with no limits. A free-for-all rant space for even the most extreme or random film related thoughts. This segment soars past the confines of stories and characters.

As your standard teen-with-crappy-job I can feel many a side-eye and hushed whisper surrounding my Instagram, DVD collection and purse filled with cinema tickets. It seems to me that a lot of people assume that due to said extensive film collection that I must be showering in ££££££ and have unlimited free-for-all access to The Bank of Mum and Dad (who, yes, admittedly still give me pocket money for fear of me never leaving the house). But what they do fail to address is that I do have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for big chain stores like HMV….. the ability to get everything as cheaply as fucking possible. So if you’re budding film collector and watcher here are just a few of the probably ridiculous lengths I go to to save some pennies…


One of the most frequent things to rattle through my ears about the cinema is ‘it’s too expensive’. And yes, you are absolutely damn right it is. The price of a pick n mix alone is enough to make you wish you’d stayed at home, and the sweaty fumble for extra change when you realise you’ve packed the cup far too much just isn’t worth the embarrassment. But in regards to actual ticket prices, there’s a few things (some?) cinemas do in order to squeeze more money out of you.

At my local (a Vue cinema), ticket prices are raised after around 4-4.30pm, and again for weekends (especially Saturdays) and school holidays. Then you might actually be silly enough to want to see something in 3D, which is again more expense. Add all these lil expenses up for the time you’re heading out to see something and it soon bumps the price up by a couple of £££.

One of the blessings of being in a college that doesn’t require your attendance 5 days a week is meaning I can get to the cinema on weekdays when it costs at least £1.20 less than evenings/weekends, and also when it is ridiculously quiet and they tend to screen more than just action films and whatever Marvel movie is currently out. Orange Wednesday codes are also great if you have friends (which I don’t) cause then you could half the price between you which, at my cinema, would mean paying about £2.75 each.


Expanding my DVD collection is essentially my favourite thing to do and the process of going out and buying said DVD’s is almost a military operation. To start with, if I can help it, NEVER buy full price. Buying full priced DVD’s is reserved for ‘films I wanted to see in the cinema but couldn’t’ (aka Under The Skin) and ‘franchise film’s that I’ve seen and need right away’ (aka The Hunger Games).

The rest of the films on my watch-list are then thrown onto my Amazon Wishlist (and also stored in paper format on my wardrobe, IMDB and letterboxd). The beauty of Amazon Wishlist’s are as you scroll down it it tells you the price of the thing new and used, so what I like to do every now and then is set myself a limit (usually £25) and see how many DVD’s I can get for that price (the result of which is usually around 10-12), you’d be amazed at how many DVD’s are on ‘used’ between 1p-30p. I have no real preference of films I want to watch right away so anything 1p gets snagged while it can, it’s also surprising how many DVD’s that will rock up at your house that turn out to be 2 discs & special/collectors editions!

Charity shops and pawn shops are the next port of call for me. I check my local charity shops probably every 2 weeks if I’m not busy. Cash Generator has recently become some kind of pilgrimage site and nothing makes me happier than 99p DVD’s on ‘Buy one get one free’. When you become a regular charity shop scavenger you’ll notice that there’s certain films that are always there, like the film ‘Click‘, The Matrix movies and any of the original Spider-Man‘s. Learn the sorts of movies that regularly end up in charity shops so you don’t have to waste money by getting them full price in HMV or other stores. These sorts of movies also always end up on TV, getting a recorder for Christmas was one of the best presents I ever received, especially when Film4 have FrightFest and ‘_____ season’.

So in the event you become stuck with only enough money for one DVD and the choice is between La Piel Que Habito and Van Helsing, choose the former because it’s rare as fuck that you’ll find it anywhere else for that cheap. Finding foreign language films in charity shops is a gold mine, so take advantage while you can. If you’re reading this and from England, The British Heart Foundation is my bae when it comes to a good DVD scavenge.

By the time you become a hardened DVD hunter, you start to get picky. ‘£3.99 for The Departed, you have to be kidding me. I could get at least £1.50 off that on Amazon’. It’s quite strange how you start to know where to look, that British Heart Foundation sell harder-to-come-by films for a lot less than your regular blockbuster and tend to always have x2 of every Leonardo Dicaprio film they have in, that Cash Generator is pretty good for finding cult movies and boxsets, Amazon sells tonnes of those ‘see-this-before-you-die’ films for 1p on used. Searching for a 70s John Waters movie? Probably the last thing you’d expect to find, keep an eye on Amazon, their prices change nearly every day.

When your watch-list becomes ingrained in your brain it gets very easy to snap up a bargain as soon as you see it, eventually leaving you with teetering towers of DVD’s in your room that would actually block the door if they fell. The stacks get higher but the space doesn’t get any bigger and I can’t quite face the fact that in the next two weeks I’m gonna have to make the pain-staking decision of the limited few to take to uni…

By Chloe


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