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Netflix and Prime: How to have a family film night on a budget

Published 20 January 2017 by

Yesterday (19 January) was supposedly the poorest day of the year so far. With another week until most people get paid and Christmas bills hitting hard, you might be finding it hard to manage your money.

So what can you do if you want a family fun night on a budget? Going to the cinema is always a popular choice but with a family ticket costing around £28, you’re looking at spending at least £40 when you add in snacks and drinks.

Instead, why not have a family film night in front of the TV? With a free trial from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you can watch a great film for less.  Find out how you can have a fun night on a budget.

What to watch

You can get a whole host of family films with streaming services like Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime Video. You have to pay for these services but if you’re a new member, you can get a month’s free trial. That’s a month of family film nights without having to pay!

Here’s our pick of the best family films currently on Netflix.

• Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) – three orphans go to live with their evil relative, Count Olaf, and have to use their intelligence to keep hold of their parents’ fortune.

• Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – an action-packed, alternative superhero film featuring a group of space rebels who steal a powerful artefact.

• Anastasia (1997) – a musical adaptation of the legend of the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia that tells the story of the young duchess trying to escape an evil sorcerer.

• The Book of Life (2014) – a Mexican bullfighter goes on a journey to the underworld to face his fears.

• Charlotte's Web (2006) – a heart-warming story of the friendship between a farm pig and a spider as she attempts to stop the farmer from killing him.

And here are the best films for families we found on Amazon Prime.

• The Lego Movie (2014) – a Lego mini figure has to fight against an evil lord who wants to glue him and all of the other Lego pieces into place.

• Pacific Rim (2013) – one for older kids, where humanity creates a race of giant robots to fight against monsters who want to destroy Earth.

• Paddington (2014) – based on the popular series of children's books, this film tells the story of a young bear who finds himself in London and tries to find a home.

• Mirror Mirror (2013) – an alternative retelling of the Snow White tale that puts Snow in charge of her own destiny as she tries to save the kingdom from her wicked stepmother.

• Bridge To Terabithia (2007) – two young neighbours create their own fantasy world in a tree house which starts to come to life through their imagination.

Have you had your free month on Netflix or Amazon Prime? Just make sure to cancel the free trial before it costs you.

What to buy

When you’re at the cinema, it’s easy to spend at least £20 on popcorn, nachos and soft drinks for the whole family. And if you plan a family film night at home instead, you can have the same treats – just for a lot cheaper.

Get yourself down to your nearest supermarket and see what snacks you can find. For example, at Aldi*, you can get a 200g bag of Epic Snacks toffee popcorn for just 79p. Or if you want something savoury, Snackrite’s salsa dips in Hot and Mild are only 69p – pair them with a bag of Everyday Essentials tortilla chips for just 46p.

When you’re done, why not wash it all down with a 2l bottle of Vive’s original cola for only 40p – bargain! For a family of four, it’s easy to get snacks for everyone for under a fiver.

Just because it’s January, it doesn’t mean you can’t treat the family to a fun night. Now the only problem you’ll have is who decides what film you’re going to watch!

*Prices correct at time of writing – 19/01/17

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