As a child, chances are you walked up hill to school, both ways, in three feet of snow, regardless of where you lived. Now, as a senior citizen, you deserve a break from the "rigors" of your childhood.
The good news is that there are a number of businesses that cater to and court seniors by offering them discounts. Garnering a positive perception by seniors, who tend to be outspoken as a whole with regard to their attachment to a business (i.e., if they're happy they're likely to refer a friend, and if they aren't they'll tell plenty of their friends they weren't), can be an important step to improving a business's long-term prospects. In other words, if a business can attract senior citizens and meet or exceed their expectations, it has a good chance of also attracting friends and family of that individual.
Today we'll take a look at 10 sizable discounts that seniors are privy to that they may want to take advantage of.
1. Rental cars
Unless your destination is New York, where a car is generally useless, there's a good chance that you'll need to rent a car when you go on vacation. Rental car prices themselves can vary wildly based on the time of year you travel and how far in advance you book your vacation. Luckily, Avis Budget Group has your back, seniors. If you're an AARP member you can receive anywhere from 20% to 25% off from either the Avis or Budget brands. This could certainly put a pretty penny back in your pocket.
There is an absolute smorgasbord of opportunity for seniors to save when it comes to dining out or ordering in. If you order a pizza from Papa John's online, and you happen to be an AARP member, you can take 25% off your order. If casual dining is more what you desire, national chain Denny's will allow you to purchase a cup of Joe for $1 and will knock 20% off AARP members' bills between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. every day. Not to mention it also has a smaller portion senior menu with lower price points. And, if you really want to indulge, Dunkin' Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) Dunkin' Donuts will give AARP members a free doughnut with the purchase of a large beverage.
3. College education
Just because you're in your golden years doesn't mean the insatiable urge to learn new things has left you. If knowledge is what you crave then consider returning to a local university to quench your thirst for information. According to the Bernard Osher Foundation, which targets endowment programs for so-called "mature students," there are 119 universities and colleges around the country -- including my alma mater, the University of California, San Diego, which offer reduced-rate or fully paid classes for seniors. You can find the full list of participating colleges here.
4. Cell-phone service
Even if you're a senior citizen there's a good chance that having a cell phone is something of a basic necessity now. The good news is that if you don't need a smartphone loaded with a bunch of apps and gadgets you'll never use then you can turn to a no-contract cell-phone service like Consumer Cellular and receive quite a handsome discount. Rated highest by Consumer Reports, AARP member voice plans start at just $9.50 per month. Also, you can add a text and data plan for as low as $2.38 a month extra.
An important aspect of getting older is being able to enjoy your golden years through travel. If you're looking to put your feet up on the beach, climb the highest mountain you can find, or simply go visit friends and family, consider booking your trip with Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV). Because airfare tickets can vary by the hour Southwest doesn't exactly post what sort of discounts seniors will receive; but rest assured, it's a reduced rate compared to the typical Southwest ticket for a comparable flight. Unlike some of the aforementioned senior discounts that are open to those aged 50 or 55 years or over, this one is for those aged 65 or over.
Often times it's the little discounts that can add up the quickest. For AARP members looking to ship a package across the U.S. or around the globe, considering taking that package to your local UPS (NYSE:UPS) store. What "brown" will do for you is take 15% off all products and services related to your shipping needs. This could come in particularly handy around the holidays.
It doesn't matter how old you are: Most consumers love shopping for new clothes. If the season is changing and you have the shoppers' itch, then perhaps it's time to stop by your local Kohl's (NYSE:KSS). For those aged 60 and up (age verified by your state ID) Kohl's will offer you 15% off every Wednesday. Also keep in mind that in addition to clothes Kohl's offers a bevy of bedding and kitchen supplies for the home as well!
Here's something that's bound to make your children jealous: the ability to get into most movie theaters at a discounted rate. According to website Senior Discounts, Regal Entertainment Group, the largest operator of movie theaters in the U.S. with more than 6,700 screens, offers seniors aged 60 and above up to a 30% discount off ticket prices. Keep in mind that this discount could vary from location to location, but it's certainly better than paying full price.
Speaking of life's basic necessities, chances are that you're spending a pretty penny at your local supermarket or grocery store. A 2005 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the average U.S. household spends about 13% of its budget on food, so any savings here could quickly add up. The tricky component is that grocery store margins are already stretched razor thin, so finding a good deal requires some research.
One national chain that regularly stands out is Kroger (NYSE:KR) whose self-named stores offer seniors aged 60 and up 10% off on the first Wednesday every month. In addition, Fred Meyer, also owned by Kroger, offers a 10% discount on the first Tuesday of every month for those aged 55 and over. As you might imagine there are plenty of restrictions on what qualifies for the discount (not surprisingly, store brands, alcohol and tobacco are often excluded), but it's also easy to see how these savings could add up quickly.
10. National park access
Last, but certainly not least, if you have an inkling to visit our nation's parks, then the National Parks Lifetime Senior Pass may represent an incredible deal. U.S. residents who are at least 62 years old can purchase a Senior Pass for a one-time processing fee of just $10. For this $10 you will gain free entrance for life into standard0fee national parks and lands, and you are also allowed to bring in up to three adults between age 17 and 61 for free (children 16 and under are free as well). In addition, the Senior Pass can be used to achieve up to 50% discounts on federal use fees for campgrounds, swimming, and boat launches, to name a few activities. The one catch with this awesome deal: You need to purchase this pass in person!
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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