Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 7, 2014

Money-saving tips for seniors

10% here and 20% there can really add up, writer says

by Jason Alderman

We all love a good bargain, no matter what our age. But if you're a senior citizen on a fixed income, finding discounted goods and services can mean the difference between making ends meet and going without.

The good news is that tons of senior discounts are available, often for people as young as 50. One caveat right up front:

Although many senior discounts are substantial, you sometimes can find better bargains, especially on travel-related expenses, such as airfare, hotels and rental cars. So always do your research first before requesting the senior rate.

Here's a roundup of some of the best senior discounts I've found:

An AARP membership costs only $16 a year for anyone older than 50, including free membership for spouses or partners (www.aarp.org).

AARP's discount website features discounts on dozens of products and services including rental cars, hotels, restaurants, clothing and department store chains. AARP also offers an inexpensive driver safety course for drivers older than 50 (members and nonmembers alike) that can lower auto insurance premiums by up to 10% or more.

Popular AARP discounts include:

* 20% discount on installation or upgrades to ADT home security systems.

* 45% off membership to Angie's List.

* 20% off purchases from 1-800-FLOWERS.com.

* Up to 25% off car rentals from Avis and Budget.

* Up to 20% discount at many hotel chains including Hyatt, Hilton, Wyndham, Best Western, Days Inn and Ramada.

* 10 to 20% off at many restaurant chains, including Claim Jumper, Denny's and Outback Steakhouse.

* 15% off many Geek Squad services from Best Buy.

* A free 45-minute consultation with an Allstate Legal Services Network attorney, as well as 20% off member attorneys' fees.

A quick Google search will uncover numerous other senior discount resources. One popular site is SeniorDiscounts.com, an online directory of more than 220,000 U.S. business locations that offer discounts to people over 50. Registration is free, although they also offer a $12.95/year premium that offers members-only discounts and other perks.

Other good sites include Brad's Deals, Sciddy.com and Savvy Senior.

Other commonly available senior discounts include:

A 15% discount on the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak trains for travelers over age 62. Greyhound offers a 5% discount on unrestricted fares (over 62).

Southwest Airlines offers senior fares (over 65). Although not necessarily their lowest available rates, Southwest's senior fares are fully refundable.

The U.S. Geologic Survey senior pass (over 62) provides free lifetime access to more than 2,000 government-managed recreational sites (including national parks) as well as discounts on camping and other amenities. Senior passes cost $10 in person or $20 by mail (http://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html).

Verizon Wireless offers discounted mobile phone service for subscribers over 65.

Both Walgreens and Rite Aid offer monthly senior discount days for members of their rewards programs when most non-prescription items are 15 to 20% off. Ask your neighborhood pharmacy if they offer similar programs.

In addition, many restaurants, department stores, movie theaters, museums, theme parks, banks, credit card issuers, utilities (including gas and electric, water, garbage, telephone and cable) and other businesses offer special discounts or promotions for seniors. Always ask before your purchase is rung up.

Bottom line: Abundant resources are available to help seniors save money on purchases large and small. You just have to do a little research and ask whether senior discounts are available.

Remember, 10% here and 20% there can really add up.

Jason Alderman directs Visa's financial education programs.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields