Once you reach age 50, you become eligible for a range of senior discounts. More of them become available as you get older, particularly by the time you get to Social Security’s current minimum retirement age of 62.
Whether you already qualify for senior discounts or are just planning for the future, taking advantage of the savings is a smart move. They can save you money on a range of purchases, helping you stretch your retirement dollars even further.
While requirements for a senior discount vary by retailer, some of the discounts are substantial. Here are some of the best available.
The vast majority of movie theaters, including major chains, offer ticket discounts to seniors. For example, AMC provides discounts to moviegoers over the age of 60. Regal Cinemas also use 60 as the cutoff. At Cinemark, the minimum age is 62, and the cost reduction is only available on specific days that vary by theater.
Many theaters allow seniors to pay matinee prices all day long. This can be a boon for movie fans, and you don’t have to do anything but show them a picture ID to qualify.
Even local theaters may offer discounts. If you don’t see one posted, then ask the cashier to let you know what is available.
Seniors can also score discounts on a range of cruises to popular destinations. Carnival offers reduced room rates to travelers 55 and older, although the specific amount of savings may vary depending on the ship and destination, and not all cruises qualify — click here to see which ones do.
Royal Caribbean has a similar system: People age 55 and up can receive discounted rates, though typically only on specific trips.
Some large retailers offer seniors some serious discounts, but only under specific conditions. For example, Fred Meyer takes 10 percent off of apparel, shoes, home goods, toys, auto, and garden purchases. Store brand groceries are also eligible, as well as many electronics purchases.
If you are 60 or older and shop at Harris Teeter for groceries, make sure to go on Thursdays. That way you can enjoy a 5 percent discount on your entire purchase. Hy-Vee offers a similar arrangement on Wednesday, but with additional restrictions including requiring you to have a senior discount card.
Goodwill thrift stores have senior days about once a week — when people 55 and up save 20 percent. Precisely which day is senior day varies by location, so you’ll need to check with your local store to find out.
Kohl’s provides a 15 percent discount for anyone 60 or older on Wednesdays. All you need is a valid picture ID to qualify.
If you enjoy crafting, then consider shopping at Michael’s: it gives shoppers age 55 and older 10 percent off every day. Just present a photo ID when checking out and request the discount.
Pep Boys, the auto parts retailer and service shop, provides a 10 percent discount with an ID showing you are at least 55.
Denny’s and IHOB offer senior discounts through their senior menu. Typically, the meals are smaller than some of the other options, but they are pretty generous for the price. On top of that, Denny’s offers an AARP discount, giving you the chance to save even more.
The national park system offers anyone who is at least 62 a lifetime pass for $80. This gives you entrance into any and every national park for the rest of your life, no additional payment required. The pass also gives you 50 percent discounts on amenities like camping spots and boat launches.
Most public transit systems offer discounts to seniors. Usually, this makes bus and subway passes substantially cheaper.
In many cases, you don’t have to live in the area to qualify. This can be a great way to get around a city when traveling, particularly if you don’t want to drive in an unfamiliar area.
If you want to get access to a wider range of senior discounts, then it behooves you to join AARP; people age 50 and up are eligible for full membership, and those under that age can get associate memberships that still enable you to get all the discounts.
Joining does come with a cost, though it is fairly minimal. For your first year, if you sign up to auto-renew, you only pay $12. After that, it should cost no more than $16 annually, according to current prices.
However, by signing up, you can easily make your money back in discounts. Many restaurants, car rental companies, hotels, cell phone carriers, and retailers give AARP members a percentage off the cost of their services.
Glasses and Car Rentals
Typically, an establishment that offers an AARP discount will reduce the cost by at least 10 percent. However, some go much higher. For instance, Pearle Vision knocks 30 percent off a complete pair of glasses and 20 percent off of the price of contacts. You can also save up to 30 percent on Avis car rentals in some locations.
If you are open to ordering glasses online, Glasses.com knocks 25 percent off of their prices for AARP members for purchases over $200. If you spend less than $200, you still get a discount, but it’s lowered to 15 percent.
There are many, many more AARP discounts out there, too. Luckily, AARP tracks them all on its website, making it easy for members to make sure they can save as much as possible.
Plenty of Discounts for Savvy Senior Shoppers
You might be able to obtain plenty of other discounts just by asking around — if you’re at least 55, it doesn’t hurt to ask your favorite stores for senior discounts.
They’ll be able to tell you the requirements, including age minimums, shopping days, and whether you need to be an AARP member to qualify.
Readers, tell us about the best discounts you’ve found lately.
Looking for more great articles? Give these a try:
- What Women Need to Know About Social Security
- 1/3 of Older Americans Believe They Will Outlive Their Savings
- 3 Ways to Delay Claiming Social Security Benefits
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