For many people, adopting the “senior citizen” label is tough. But if you love saving money, you’ll find that it’s great to be in your 50s and 60s (and beyond!).
In fact, there are so many discounts available to Americans as they enter their mid-50s and 60s that entire websites are dedicated to helping sift through and uncover savings. For example, Sciddy.com and SeniorDiscounts.com allow you to search by city for businesses offering discounts.
Here’s a quick primer on where you can find savings as you enter your golden years:
Shopping. Many nationally and locally owned supermarkets and retailers offer senior discount programs. These programs may only be available on certain days of the week or may come with specific requirements, so be sure to ask each business for more details.
Travel. Seniors may qualify for discounts on everything from car rental services and hotels to airlines, trains, and buses. If nature is a part of your travel plans, the U.S. Geological Survey offers the America the Beautiful Senior Pass. For a $10 fee, those aged 62 and over are provided with a lifetime of access to U.S. national parks. The price for those under 62 is $80 annually, so your savings as a senior are significant.
Dining and entertainment. Seniors may enjoy discounted prices at restaurants, movie theatres, museums, symphonies, and more. The best way to find out if your favorite venues offer senior discounts is to ask.
Tax preparation support. Older Americans may have to deal with potentially complicated tax issues like pension checks, Social Security income, or spousal death. The IRS offers the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, which assists citizens aged 60 and older.
Car insurance. With more driving experience and generally more responsible driving behavior, older Americans are likely to be offered a break on auto insurance. Check to see if your provider offers any of the following: mature driver discounts, senior/mileage discounts, 55 and retired discounts, mature driver safety course discounts, retired military discounts, or special discounts that come with membership to organizations like AARP. If your insurance provider offers no cost reduction, shop around to find one that does.
Home energy and utilities. Many companies offer discounts on energy and utility bills for seniors. Local and state government agencies may also have programs that offer home energy discounts. Check your city government page to find programs in your area, or ask your current energy supplier.
Cell phone plans. Seniors may be less swayed by the bells and whistles adorning today’s cell phone plans. AT&T’s Senior Nation 200 and Verizon’s Nationwide 65 Plus are just two examples of plans developed specifically for older Americans. These plans offer basic features and reduced minutes for lower monthly rates. But take note—if aging hasn’t dampened your passion for talking on the phone, these might not be the plans for you.
Joining clubs can be a more convenient way to access savings. For those aged 50-plus, AARP’s $16 annual membership fee offers discounts in the categories listed above and more. The American Seniors Association, an advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of senior citizens, offers discounts, specialized insurance plans, travel benefits, and more for $15 annually.
Overall, the best way to sniff out senior discounts is to ask. Many stores and institutions don’t advertise their discounts and offer them only to those who inquire. Also keep in mind that many businesses have a different definition of the age of a senior, so you might not qualify for discounts everywhere.
Lara Levitan is a freelance writer and editor with more than ten years of experience writing about a variety of topics, from architecture to Zen Buddhism. She has served as the co-editor of the Remodeler’s Journal published by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and as the marketing coordinator at an award-winning architecture firm. Currently she is the literary editor for GapersBlock.com, a popular Chicago-based website. Lara is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.