Face it, boomers, senior discounts are good for you
You've seen that television commercial where a group
of cinema-bound women are flabbergasted when the teenage ticket
seller asks if they want the senior discount. Then the financially
smart one in the group leans in and asks, "Just how much is
Well, if you're "of a certain age" and,
like most of the women in that commercial, don't want to admit it,
you could be cheating yourself. Along with wisdom, age also brings
discounts as a growing number of companies reward older customers
with reduced rates on goods and services.
Best of all, many of these price breaks kick in as
early as age 50.
Of course, the size of the discounts, the age
at which they start and the strings attached vary. Individual restaurants
that are part of a chain or a franchise may decide if, when and
how much of a discount they offer. Often discounts are restricted
to off-peak times. Golf courses, for example, may let seniors golf
for less, but the rate reduction is only good for weekday tee times,
Many discounts also are contingent on membership in
the nonprofit membership organization for people age 50 and over.
AARP negotiates discounts on everything from motel rooms to home
security products for its members.
When a discount is offered, confirm the markdown before
you buy because terms can change. Also remember to bring proof of
identity (and age), as well as your AARP card if the discount has
been arranged through that organization.
Don't be shy either. Not every senior discount is
widely advertised, but if you ask, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Finally, be honest with yourself. Before you can collect
any discount, you have to decide which is more valuable to you:
keeping your age secret or saving money. If it's the cash, then
here are some consumer areas that typically offer discounts to older
Dine at a discount
Restaurants hate being open without customers, so many offer "early
bird" senior discounts. Dine before 5 p.m. and you'll receive
money off your meal. Chains and franchises such as McDonald's, Chili's,
Arby's, Bennigan's, Burger King, and Bob Evans all offer varying
discounts. Check at the individual restaurant for details.
Fly for less
Some airlines offer a discount to passengers as young as 60. Among
the discounters are Alaska Airlines, America West, United and Virgin
Atlantic. The average discount is 10 percent. Watch for restrictions
such as when you can fly and what times of year are blocked.
Pay less for apparel
While you may not see this at Old Navy or the Gap, many retailers
are realizing that senior shoppers represent a huge market and the
stores are willing to offer a discount. Just how much varies by
retailer and generally is restricted to certain days and times.
The key to finding these discounts is to ask before you buy.