55-plus? You Might As Well Take Advantage of Senior Discounts

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

The term “senior discount” may seem disparaging to some; however, there’s no denying that saving money simply for achieving adequate birthdays equals a good deal.

Some retail locations post signs indicating their silver savings; others are more subtle. Since most cashiers won’t ask for fear of appearing rude, it’s usually up to you to claim your discount. Here’s how you can nab deals you may not have known existed.

Siddy, a free app for Apple and Android, can help locate discounts, beginning with people as young as 50. You can customize its searchable list by age, location or category and its “Around Me” feature uses the smartphone’s location to alert you of deals within 1,500 feet, which can help if you’re in a shopping and dining district looking for bargains. It also offers alerts and lets you filter the kinds of deals for which you’re looking.

Movie theater, restaurants, plays, car rental, trips — how to get great deals on nearly everything

The Penny Hoarder website always posts many helpful hints, but its list of senior discounts can really ramp up your savings game.

The Senior List (www.theseniorlist.com/senior-discounts/) also boasts an impressive list of places to grab deals — some of which start at age 55.

Many places of entertainment, such as movie theaters, stage theaters, concert venues and museums, offer discounts.

For example, the Everson Museum in Syracuse (www.everson.org/visit) offers a $2 discount off the regular $8 adult admission. While two bucks isn’t a fortune, if you seek discounts regularly, it adds up over time. Saving just $20 a week among a few places of entertainment and dining equals more than $1,000 a year. And that’s not counting shopping and membership discounts.

In addition to providing great travel tips, the I Love New York website also lists places to save (www.iloveny.com/seniors/discounts).

When booking tickets for trips, look for a savings. For example, Amtrak and American Airlines both offer senior discounts for those 65 and older.

If you’re a member of a group like AARP or AAA, American Seniors Association (americanseniors.org), Association of Mature American Citizens (https://amac.us), search their listings for where you can save.

Onondaga County Parks provide many admission discounts (www.onondagacountyparks.com/about/senior-discounts-and-programs). Statewide, further discounts are available at many places of tourism and recreation (www.iloveny.com/seniors/discounts).

Save on staying healthy. Oswego County offers a discount prescription drug card (www.oswegocounty.com/legislature/prescription.html), the JCC offers a discounted senior membership (http://jccsyr.org) and the Oswego County YMCA also offers a discounted membership (http://oswegoymca.org/index.cfm/membership/rates/), for example.

Look for a “senior” section on restaurant menus. Like the kids’ menu, the portions may be smaller as will the prices; however, if you plan to eat one meal now and take home the rest for tomorrow, compare the cost of each meal. The bigger size may mean more savings.

Some senior discounts might apply only to certain days of the week or hours of the day, so read all the fine print. For example, Thrifty Shopper (www.ishopthrifty.org) in Syracuse gives a 25% discount to those 55 and older, but only on Tuesdays.

If you’re under 65, ask for the age that the discount starts. Sixty-five is the most common minimum age.

Cross reference senior discounts with any other discounts, coupons or deals. Don’t assume that the senior discount is best. Ask if you may also use a coupon. Some savvy savers pay for purchases with a gift card won on eBay at less than face value, plus whatever discounts they can use.

Savings for military apply to veterans and those currently serving of any age, whether they served during wartime or not; however “active duty” refers only to those currently enlisted. Some deals are for Veteran’s Day only; others are for year-round. They may apply to the veteran only or to the entire family, but require showing a military ID or discharge papers.

Chain restaurants and stores may vary in their adherence to senior discounts, as it could be up to the franchisee to honor them. Any business may experience a change in its policy that hasn’t been updated in the source that alerted you to the update.

If all else fails, politely ask if their business offers a senior discount.