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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 (www.aarp.org).

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 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, 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 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

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!!


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?


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!!!


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.


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


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.


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!

HOORAY!


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

VIVA THE SF J! VIVA!


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.

VIVA!


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

Protecting Seniors from family and other scammers:

Web Link


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

Dear Seniors...if you FEEL PRESSURED to make a donation but you NEED the money to take care of yourself DO NOT MAKE THE DONATION. THANK THE PARTY FOR ASKING FOR THE DONATION AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF FOR SAYING NO.

it's cool to say no...


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