One of the great perks of growing older in America is the many discounts that are available to boomers and seniors.
There are thousands of available discounts on a wide variety of products and services including restaurants, grocery stores, travel and lodging, entertainment, retail and apparel, health and beauty, automotive services and much more. These discounts typically range between 5% and 25% off and can add up to save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Here are some tips and tools to help you find these discounts.
Always AskThe first thing to know is that most businesses don't advertise discounts, but many give senior discounts when asked if one is available.
You also need to know that while some discounts are available as soon as you turn 50, others may not kick in until you turn 55, 60, 62 or 65.
Search OnlineBecause senior discounts frequently change and can vary depending on where you live and the time of the year, an online search is the easiest way to help you locate current discounts.
To do a search, start by visiting SeniorDiscounts.com, which lists thousands of discounts that you can search for by city and state and by category.
You can also look for discounts at TheSeniorList.com, which provides a large list of national and regional business chains that offer them. You can also go to Google.com and type in the business or organization you're curious about, followed by "senior discount" or "senior discount tickets."
If you use a smartphone, another tool is the Sciddy app (see Sciddy.com). This app lets you search for senior discounts and can send you alerts when you're at an establishment that offers them.
Join a ClubAnother way to receive senior discounts is through membership organizations like AARP, Seniors Coalition or the American Seniors Association. AARP, for example, offers its 50 and older members a wide variety of discounts through affiliate businesses and sponsors.
For federal workers, there's also the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
Types of DiscountsHere's an abbreviated list of some of the different types of discounts you can expect to find.
Restaurants: Senior discounts are common at restaurants and fast food establishments, including Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Subway, Wendy's, Applebee's and Golden Corral. These discounts range from free or discounted drinks to discounts off your total order.
Retailers: Many thrift stores and retailers offer a break to seniors on certain days of the week. Some of these stores include Goodwill, Banana Republic, Kohl's, Michaels and Ross.
Supermarkets: Many locally owned grocery stores offer senior discount programs, as do some chains like Albertsons, Kroger, Publix and Fry's Supermarkets. Some offer discounts on certain days of the week but they vary by location.
Travel: Southwest Airlines provides the best senior fares in the U.S. to passengers 65 and older. Amtrak offers a 15% discount and Greyhound offers 5% off to travelers over 62. Most car rental companies provide discounts to customers who belong to organizations like AARP. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival cruise lines offer discount rates to cruisers 55 and over. In addition, most hotels offer senior discounts, usually ranging from 10% to 30%.
Entertainment: Many movie theaters, museums, golf courses, ski slopes and other public entertainment venues provide reduced admission to seniors over 60 or 65. Additionally, the National Park Service offers a lifetime pass for those 62 and up for $10 (see nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm).
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.