|ďAge is just a numberĒ is a saying that makes for some very ambiguous interpretations depending on the person. Aging is a topic thatís as old as age itself, and in 2011, it made big news as the first generation of Baby Boomers turned 65 years old, effectively qualifying them for grandparenthood, Social Security benefits and the oft-coveted, but rarely sought-after, senior discount.
Many people moving past their middle age years and beyond might be sensitive about the subject and wonít want to admit that the years are creeping up. But if it means saving money almost everywhere you go, why pass up the opportunity? When there are so many places today that offer senior citizen discounts, itís well worth it to suck it up and take advantage of them.
What is the Senior Citizen Discount Age?
Usually, people become senior citizens when they retire. In some countries, itís age 60, in others, like the United States, itís 65, and in others still, it can be as early as a personís late 50s.
The senior citizen discount age is even more varied. Businesses in your neighborhood might offer a discount to you if youíre at least 60, 62 or 65. Many men and women need to wait until age 75, while others can get some money off their favorite goods or services at 55 (also the minimum age to qualify for senior housing). Others still will only need to wait until age 50 ó itís what the American Association of Retired People, or AARP, considers a senior citizen.
If youíve reached one of those golden numbers, donít let your senior discount status go to waste! Youíll need some proof of your age (like an AARP, Social Security or ID card), and a good place to take advantage of some savings.
Using Your Senior Citizen Discount
Qualifying for a senior discount, yet never using it is like getting a front row season pass to your favorite winning sports team, but never going to see them play. You may find that your senior discount is good for services you already use, and a few new ones. Here are a few to get you started:
1. AARP: If you sign up for anything as a senior, plonk down $16 for an AARP membership. On top of info and pointers on everything from navigating health care to managing your retirement investments, AARP is a great outlet for searching for some senior citizen discounts. (Also recommended: Senior-catered websites like Sciddy.com for discounts and deals.)
2. Travel and lodging: Retirement is the perfect stage of life to relax and trek across the globe. Train, air and bus fare for seniors often comes at a big reduction. Amtrak, for instance, offers travelers 62 years of age or older a 15 percent discount on its lowest rail fare. Be 62 and you can get a lesser, but still substantial, reduction of 5 percent if you prefer to ride Greyhound, according to Main Street. Once you arrive at your destination, youíll need somewhere to stay ó hotel chains like Marriott, EconoLodge and Motel 6 also give out 10-15 percent discounts to seniors.
According to CBS News, destinations like Busch Gardens or SeaWorld in Florida offer $3 ticket reductions for seniors over 50 ó if youíve already retired to Florida, visit more often and save more. And who says nothing is free? For $10, the U.S. National Park Service offers seniors 62 and older a free lifetime pass to more than 2,000 national parks across the country.
3. Car insurance: An older driver means a more experienced driver who deserves a break on auto insurance costs. Many insurers will offer seniors, according to CBS, a 10 percent mature driver discount after completion of a special driverís safety course. You can find a course being offered closest to your home through the AARP website.
4. Banking: In addition to your retirement savings or investments like IRAs, your day-to-day banking counts, too. Several banks and credit unions offer senior-saver savings or checking accounts, which usually offer higher interest rates if youíre over 65 or the age the financial institution sets.
5. Dining and shopping: Senior discounts arenít limited to the blue plate special at the local greasy spoon. The Chicago Tribune reminds its readers that familiar restaurant chains like Applebeeís, Friendlyís and Chiliís all offer regular senior discounts. AARP members get 20 percent off their order at Dennyís (4-10 p.m. daily). And who can forget Dunkiní Donuts? Show your AARP membership card and get a free doughnut with the purchase of a coffee.
Clothes shopping also comes at a bargain when seniorhood comes into play ó names like Kohlís, Banana Republic and Ross cater to their senior clientele with generous discounts.