Money-saving tips for seniors

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

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 over age 50, including free membership for spouses or partners (

AARP's discounts' 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 over 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

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, among others.

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, 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, 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 (

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


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2014 at 10:15 am

AARP supports ObamaCare and the resulting reduction in Medicare benefits!!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

What about day to day expenses like: high quality fresh vegetables fresh fruit

quality fish & meat healthy grains etc? Where does one find the BEST PRICES in the Tri Valley?

Also where anybody purchase high quality porkchops 'n raisins?

are you an employee of AARP?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of Charter Oaks
on Mar 3, 2014 at 10:50 am

A great need for more affordable housing would help all retired single women..trying to make every dollar count...enough million dollar homes!!!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Read the article but disagree with most of what was written. I have never found where AARP and their supposed discount helped me at all. I have traveled quite a bit and again AARP never reduced my fare either on the plane or train or at the hotel. There is always other discounts which actually do work however if you ask for it. I agree with Cholo above as what we really need is our everyday expenses decreased by giving us access to fresh fruit and vegetables and a reduction of the cost of our utilities. This article is full of fluff but not very useful as I have done my research and found nothing very helpful so far. The article only raises false hopes. Sorry but this is the way it is.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jamie
a resident of California Somerset
on Mar 3, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Lots of ways for seniors to save money, but the biggest is to just stay healthy. Being in and out of the hospital is a good way to pile up the bills, especially if you don't have good insurance.
Other ways to save:
1) Cut cable TV and just get netflix
2) Get senior discounts on car insurance(4autoinsurancequote has great ones)
3) Look for senior discounts at gyms or anything else you pay for on a monthly basis

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walgreens
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm

has a 15% senior discount on the first tuesday of every month. there is still time today to get in on the discount, you only need to be 55.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pololo Mololo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:28 am

You may want to consider reviewing the services at the JCC in SF and the East Bay. Web Link

I go swimming monthly at the "J" in SF. I love the pool and also the weight training.

Plus the food is good...yum yum plenty!


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:33 am

One of my friends applied for financial assistance to attend pool exercise class and for the Kosher lunch and all she had to do was apply and provide basic information:

Web Link


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:41 am

One of the best places to gather info re: seniors is at the Pleasanton Senior Center. The people are waaaaaaay sweet and full of useful information!

Web Link

It's an excellent place to start re: Help For Seniors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:54 am

Protecting Seniors from family and other scammers:

Web Link

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:38 am


it's cool to say no...

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2014 at 9:43 am

I knew senior discounts existed, just had no idea how many of them their were. I'm coming up on eligibility, but know many others that will benefit from this article. Thanks. Kate

Web Link

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:49 am

Consider setting up a Dinner Club: Once a week or less frequently, arrange a get together with a specific number of friends for a special dinner. My group usually involves 5-7 members. We gather early, wash and prepare our foods for cooking and then we have about 1 hr. to catch up on news. The talking is a much fun as the dinner...ALWAYS!

Steamed rice, fresh steamed veggies, fish, and home baked bread is always a winner! Not lots of dessert but we eat lots of fresh fruit.

It's simple, the cost goes down when everybody contributes. We all have our own vegetable gardens and the gossip is terrific!!!

we rest our case...

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pololo Mololo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Senior DISCOUNTS: Web Link

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:38 pm

As a community publication, why not include local businesses owned by locals. Did anyone even bother to find out which businesses in downtown Pleasanton have senior specials? And why would you recommend someone buy from mail order flower companies when we have locally owned florists that help our seniors while keeping the business local already. Why not give these great local businesses the same plug that you gave another flower company without even a physical location in town?

This article deserves a "fail" grade to me. Let's support local businesses and local business owners that offer the same or better than these national chains. Or at least provide a mix of both.


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