How Can Senior Discounts Help Save Money on Everyday Expenses
Discounts are a common way for businesses to attract customers, and as a retired senior, you can get some incredible deals. From travel and healthcare to food and entertainment, discounts can boost savings and purchasing power and also give you access to a higher quality of services. Find out the top discounts for seniors available in 2023 and tips for discovering and using these deals to maximize savings.
Save money through discount clubs
A discount club is a membership program that gives you exclusive benefits and discounts on various products and services. Apart from the popular American Association of Retired People (AARP), there are other smaller groups like the American Seniors Association or the Federal National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association that offer such benefits to their members.
AARP membership senior discounts and benefits
An American Association of Retired People (AARP) membership, which is available to seniors over 50 years of age, can bring a host of benefits, including discounts, to you. You can get travel deals, discounts on restaurant menus, grocery shopping, gas and auto services, entertainment, health and financial tools, and many more that can help you save money.
- Hotels and restaurants
Cambria Suites and The Rainforest Café offer a discount of up to 10% to AARP card holders. Choice Hotel offers a 10% discount to both AARP cardholders and individuals above 60 years of age on advance reservations.
- Dental care
Delta Dental Insurance Company provides a dental benefit to AARP members through its AARP® Dental Insurance Plan, which gives individual or family coverage for common dental procedures.
- Hearing tests and aids
AARP members are eligible to get a free hearing test once every year. Apart from this, as a member, you can also get discounts on hearing aids and accessories.
- Vision care
AARP® MyVision Care provided through EyeMed includes three members-only vision plans starting at $4.38 per month. Members can take advantage of $10 copays for comprehensive eye exams, with diabetic vision exams every six months, loss of sight benefits, and more.
Save money on grocery
While some stores may be popular for having special deals and discounts for seniors, it’s important to note that offers may vary by location. It’s best to check with your local store for specific deals.
The Fred Meyer chain of hypermarket stores offers exclusive senior discounts on a range of products, including groceries, clothing, shoes, electronics, gardening tools, and other household items. If you’re 55 and older, you are entitled to a discount of 10% off on select items on the first Tuesday of every month.
Harris Teeter has a Club 60 membership; the program offers a 5% discount to seniors over 60 on every Thursday on most items marked as VIC across the store. To avail of the seniors’ benefits, you can visit your local Harris Teeter store with an ID for confirmation. Once enrolled, you receive a free VIC card immediately, enabling you to avail discounts on eligible purchases. The benefits may also be offered in the form of product refunds. As a Club 60 member, you also become a part of VIC sweepstakes that offer additional rewards and even free groceries.
New Seasons Market runs ‘Senior Wednesdays’ where retired or older customers who are 65 and above get a 10% discount on most items across the store. You can avail of the exclusive offer at your local store by showing your ID card for age verification; enrollment is unnecessary.
Hy-Vee provides a 10% discount off on total purchases every Wednesday to senior citizens who are aged 55 and older. However, the senior discount policy is not uniform across locations and deals and their availability differ from store to store. To know the exact discount day, you can either use Hy-Vee’s online store locator, visit their page, or ask at your local store. Apart from this, Hy-Vee also offers weekly discounts and a Fuel Saver program that enables shoppers to save on gas by accumulating points after each purchase at the store. Additionally, you can enroll in their Hy-Vee Plus membership at an annual fee of $99 and enjoy benefits like free grocery delivery, monthly free items, and discounts.
DeCicco Family Markets
DeCicco Family Markets offers discounts on regular-priced items on a designated day every week to seniors who are 62 and older. To qualify for the discount, you need to register for the seniors discount program to get your DeCicco Preferred Card. You must be present during the transactions and may be required to present identification at the time of purchase. Additionally, DeCicco Family Markets offers a veteran’s discount, but the discount amount and designated days may differ for each chain.
Food Bazaar offers a 5% discount for senior citizens from Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 3 PM. If you’re a retired or working firefighter, you may be eligible for a 10% discount. Downloading their Rewards app can also make you eligible for additional benefits at Food Bazaar and Farmer’s Market by Food Bazaar. The benefits range from a loyalty bonus and coupons to purchase discounts and new store-only promos.
This New York City-based chain of supermarkets provides 10% off to eligible senior citizens on purchases every Tuesday. Additionally, Gristedes runs promotional weekly and monthly special discounts until their supplies last. You can check out the list of items on discount and the dates of discount by visiting their website and downloading their circulars.
Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace
Located in New York and New Jersey, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace is another store for seniors offering discounts every Wednesday. If you opt for their online email list and circular, you can also be eligible for additional savings. As a senior citizen, you have to visit Uncle Giuseppe’s service desk, provide age identification, and avail of the senior discount. You only need to sign up for the first time, after which the discount is applied automatically on checkouts.
Safeway, a grocery store chain, offers senior discounts of 10% for customers aged 55 years or older. You need to provide a valid ID to be eligible for the policy. Typically, Safeway offers senior discount days on the first Wednesday of every month, but this may not be available at all brand locations. Additionally, you can get weekly coupons and deals in the Safeway weekly circular, which is accessible online and in-store.
Apart from these direct discounts offered by different stores, there are some other ways you can save significantly on groceries and other household essentials.
6 tips to make grocery shopping cheaper
Weekly trips with a buddy
Make a list of all required ingredients and try to make only one shopping trip to the supermarket per week. Making a list and sticking to it ensures you reduce the number of impulse purchases and also cut down on transport or gas expenses. You can also go to the store with a friend or neighbor. This allows you to save more on bulk purchases, helps you engage socially, and reduces transport expenses. Consider stores like Aldi and Save-A-Lot or warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club, which can be ideal places to buy items in bulk at a discounted price.
Buy seasonal items
Fruits and vegetables that are in season are found in abundance in the market, taste better, are cheaper and healthier. For example, start stocking up on nectarines, summer corn and tomatoes in the late summer, and purchase winter squash and sweet potatoes in the winter. If you’re a fan of shopping at farmers’ markets or through a Community Supported Agriculture program, you’ll find in-season produce on display.
Buy items on sale during special occasions
Shopping during grocery store sales can be a great strategy to save money on food and household essentials. Many supermarkets run discounts on special occasions. For example, you may find chocolates on sale during Valentine’s week, or in the fall, you may find discounts on pumpkin spice-flavored items. Track these discounts and make the most of them.
Buy healthy, versatile, and inexpensive foods
Inexpensive but highly nutritious foods like beans, oats, frozen vegetables, brown rice, and bananas are versatile in nature. These low-cost and minimally processed items make a filling meal and can be paired with multiple recipes, from pasta dishes to pot roasts. Not only are they easy on the pocket, but they also make for a healthier alternative to fried, processed takeaways. Additionally, you can also plan meals for a week to reduce food waste and overlap ingredients for different recipes.
Opt-in for store loyalty programs
Some online and brick-and-mortar stores offer loyalty programs or memberships to repeat customers. These programs have multiple benefits, from free home delivery, gas credit, or discounts on in-store items. You can ask if your local store runs any loyalty programs and sign up for one for further budgeting
Try online grocery delivery services:
Brick-and-mortar stores often put up attractive food displays and alluring end caps at the end of their aisles. These clever tactics persuade you to buy more than necessary and may burn a hole in your pocket. Online delivery services are a great alternative that may help curb impulsive buying.
Many supermarkets that do not have their own delivery services offer their products through Instacart. The app helps customers to buy items from their preferred stores and get them delivered to their doorsteps. Instacart runs deals like free delivery for the first two weeks upon signing up, no delivery charges for orders over $35, and 5% cashback for eligible customers. This makes the app an ideal option for seniors who want to order in bulk.
Solely operating online, FreshDirect sources its food from farmers and fishers and can be another good option for home-bound seniors living in New York City, NY.
- Online grocery stores
Online grocery stores provide a wider range of products that may not be available at physical stores. They allow you to read reviews on products, compare prices, stick to a budget, and only purchase items that you need. Seniors can also check out stores offering discount coupons and free delivery options.
Save money in restaurants and hotels
Numerous dining hotels and restaurants offer senior menus and/or provide a discount on meal costs to retired citizens. You may need to provide age verification, so it’s best to carry a Driver’s License or other valid ID proof if required.
Denny’s 55-plus menu
A popular chain of restaurants with over 1,600 restaurants so far, Danny’s offers a special menu for seniors over 55. You can get a takeaway or order online. The restaurant also has a delivery service called Danny’s on Demand, which can help seniors with mobility issues. Along with a discount for seniors, you can also expect the Denny’s free birthday offer, where you receive a free Grand Slam breakfast and other loyalty rewards.
IHOP’s senior discount
Seniors over the age of 55 can order off IHOP’s (International House of Pancakes) daily special 55 & Up menu, which provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for a discounted rate. IHOP may also run promotional offers for special days, like free pancakes, to active duty military members or retired veterans on Veterans Day. Currently, IHOP doesn’t offer senior discounts across all chains, so it’s best to confirm the same with the restaurant before dining in.
Downloading restaurant apps and enrolling in their loyalty program is free and can bring a plethora of benefits, especially for seniors, in the form of discounts. Many popular food joints offer free birthday meals to celebrate the special day with you. Buffalo Wild Wings, for example, has a rewards program that allows you to order your free meal anytime during your birth month. Black Angus Steakhouse, Chipotle, Einstein Bros Bagels, Firehouse Subs, Jimmy John’s, Olive Garden, and Red Robin are some other food joints that provide varied benefits, especially for your birthday.
Save money on clothing and other stores
Savvy senior shoppers can get exclusive discounts at stores like Kohl’s, which provides a 15% discount every Wednesday to those over 55 years of age, and at Ross, which offers a 10% discount on Tuesdays to shoppers aged 55 and above post enrollment.
Similarly, if you enjoy secondhand shopping, many Goodwill stores offer seniors discounts on specific days of the week. The exact discount days may vary depending on the location.
Michaels is another retail store chain known for art supplies, home decor, clothing, and other items. Michaels Rewards account holders aged 55 and above get a daily discount of 10% on purchases.
Save money on travel
Many prominent hotel chains and travel companies provide exclusive discounts for seniors. Some discounts mentioned outright can be availed directly from the company website, but some deals may require you to dig deeper or use special channels like the AARP page. For instance, Aqua-Aston Hospitality offers a discount of up to 15% for travelers aged 50 and over. Similarly, Best Western provides senior citizens aged 55 and above with reduced room rates upon booking, while Marriott has a senior discount rate exclusively for individuals aged 62 and above.
For senior citizens aged 65 and above, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines offer several discounts that are available for specific markets and flights and must be applied for by calling the airline directly. Additionally, AARP members can also save up to $200 on flights with British Airlines. If you are a retired military senior, you are entitled to JetBlue’s 5% discount for veterans enrolled in their Veterans Advantage program.
If you’re 55 or older, you can save on your next cruise with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival cruise lines that offer discounted rates for seniors. Plus, Amtrak offers a 10% discount on most rail fares for travelers who are 65 and above, while Greyhound offers a 5% discount on bus travels for those over 62. AARP members can also enjoy discounts on selected events when purchasing tickets from Ticketmaster.
Save money on cellular services
As a retired senior, you have a host of options to save money on cellular networks and cellphones. These discounts are mainly available to AARP members. For example, one of the leading network companies like AT&T offers a $10 discount per line under their special AT&T Unlimited Premium plan, while Consumer Cellular gives a 5% discount on monthly fees to AARP members. T-Mobile’s 55+ plans and Verizon also offer senior special discounts to eligible people.
Save money on recreational activities
Retired seniors wanting to visit national parks and federal recreational lands can gain entry with an annual pass of $20 and a lifetime pass of $80 with The America the Beautiful Senior Pass. Apart from the outright entry discount, as a senior, you can also expect to get deals on guided tours, boat launch fees, cabin and campground rentals.
If you are a movie buff over the age of 60, you can save on regular admission prices at most AMC Theatres, with up to 30% off, or up to 60% off on Senior Days. Similarly, those looking for even greater savings can go for Showcase Cinemas, which offers a discounted flat rate of $7.75 admission fee for seniors on Senior Wednesdays. However, these senior discounts may be available only at a select few locations or on selected days, so it’s best to check the details in advance.
Other ways to save money on expenses
Besides these senior discounts, there are numerous financial habits and tips that can help you save money.
Avoid incurring IRA penalties
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a personal retirement savings account. The account is subject to pre-retirement or early withdrawal penalties, but they may not be the same in all situations. For example, the IRA exempts you from the penalty if you use the money for emergency purposes like large healthcare bills, education expenses, health insurance after a layoff, or a first home purchase. Other than this, military members or disabled people also have an option to avoid the penalty.
Avoid late fee payments
To avoid paying unnecessary late fees, make a list of all due payments or use apps and reminders. You can also automate recurring bills to save time.
Connect with Meals on Wheels
Low-income home-bound seniors can connect with programs like Meals on Wheels for additional assistance. These initiatives provide nutritious meals to seniors across the country with added benefits of safety and wellness checks as well as companionship.
Best money-saving apps for seniors
A money-saving app can help you to track your spending, give you an overview of your due payments and savings for the month, provide advice to cut down on your expenses, and help you to make better financial decisions. These apps have unique features and can also automate your monthly transactions to avoid late fees.
The AARP app allows retired seniors to easily keep track of discounts and savings available for their day-to-day expenses. The AARP NOW app provides members access to up-to-date news, local events, and exclusive membership benefits. As a senior user, you can receive helpful reminders through the app, earn rewards for using the program, and get a digital membership card that can be accessed anytime for added convenience. Although it does not offer financial planning assistance, the AARP NOW app can help you to save money on various expenses in your local area.
This app helps you to find a list of local senior-only deals for food, activities, goods, or groceries. It is a smart way to find out about savings opportunities you’ve been missing out on.
This app helps senior users to locate the cheapest pharmacies for prescription refills, which helps in saving on healthcare expenses.
This is another free and simple-to-use app that helps seniors to budget and track their expenses. The website blog also has educational tools and informative blog posts that help broaden your understanding of money.
It’s always a good idea to research and be proactive about senior discounts or AARP benefits, as employees may not always be aware of them. Don’t wait for them to offer it to you; take the initiative to ask for any available discounts or benefits that you may be eligible for.