This is a guest post by Monta Fleming.
This year in my life has brought about changes, changes I had not foreseen. After all, how much power can a single digit have? Having a senior moment took on a whole new meaning to me this year. I turned 55. But what puzzles me is how everyone knows I turned 55?
I was out running errands and really had a hankering for a cup of coffee. I ran into McDonald’s because at this particular one you can get a really good brew. I can’t say that for all McDonald’s because I’ve had some really bad coffee there. I hadn’t been 55 long, just a couple months, but right away the girl rings up the Senior Coffee price. I know this because my mother is a big coffee drinker and comes here often. At first I was happy to pay the price but then as I walked away I have to admit that I was a bit peeved. Did I change over night? Do I look that much older? Get me to a mirror quickly! Ugh.
It happened to me at a Ross clothing store not too long after that, the lady says, “on Tuesdays seniors get 10% off”, and it was Tuesday and I did. This was starting to feel better, getting these discounts. My thinking on this subject is that someone somewhere decided they needed to ease our burden of getting older and make life easier on us. I’d prefer that way of thinking over the idea that we have one foot in the grave and they are trying to help us out before it’s too late. Anyway, I just thought I’d share a few discounts I have found for those of us on the senior side. You have to check with your local stores, the age varies around the country, some start as low as 50 and some don’t start until 60 or 65. I’ll share with you the ones I’ve found and you can check around in your area. Besides the already mentioned McDonald’s coffee and discounted Tuesday’s at Ross here’s what I’ve discovered.
- Banks – My particular bank, which is just a local one here, offers free checking, free checks, no monthly charges on any accounts that have my name on them. I get free money orders; pretty much it’s just about everything for free. I’m sure other banks offer discounts for seniors providing free checking accounts and free checks. Check with your local banks to see if they have senior discounts and free services like money orders, traveler’s checks, or even cheaper faxes and copies.
- Grocery stores – I found out by standing in line waiting for my turn at my local Kroger grocery store. The man in front of me was checking out and I kept seeing “10% senior discount” popping up on the screen. When my turn came up I asked about the discount, and the young man said, “senior discount, go ask at the service desk”. Okay, this is interesting; I’ll go check it out. I asked, they asked for my Kroger card, scanned it in and told me it would take seven days. I told them I wasn’t the only one on the card, my kids were too. It doesn’t matter they said, anyone on the card. Well… that’s interesting. I did find out from observation later that it only applies to Kroger brands, which is fine by me because I use a lot of their brands and every little bit helps! You should check at your grocery store and see if they offer this discount. Grocery stores and gas stations are the main drain on my funds these days. Kroger also gives a 3 cent discount for their card holders on gas and 10 cents for every hundred you spend. It’s a good deal for me since it’s the closest store to my home and I’m always stopping by to grab something.
- Restaurants – Chili’s: 10% off (55+), Denny’s: 10% off, 20% for AARP members (55+), Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+), IHOP: 10% off (55+). These are but a few I’m sure. Sometimes they say on the menu, sometimes you just have to ask. A lot of them don’t start until 60 or 65 and may be only at certain times but it’s worth finding out.
- Travel – Airlines, trains, buses, car rental, hotels, and pretty much anything to do with travel. Most of the time if you are a card carrying AARP member this gives you even bigger discounts.
- Activities and Entertainment – whether your going to a museum or to the movies there are almost always discounts for seniors. I go to a local AMC which has a sizeable discount; it’s 30% for 55+.
- Fitness Centers – I am a member of the local YMCA and so is my mother. She, being over 65 and on Medicare, has supplemental insurance which gives her free access to the YMCA and other fitness centers in a program called Silver Sneakers, it’s a fitness program for seniors. This is something every senior needs to take advantage of. They not only have the facilities for exercise, swimming, and racquet ball, etc. but they have all kinds of classes that are free like yoga, dance, and even crafts and field trips.
- Cell Phones –The ones I’m aware of are AT&T and Verizon Wireless that have discount plans which start at 65+ for $29.99 a month. There is one called Jitterbug that is $10 a month for 50+, just for basic phone.
This is just a sample of the discounts that are out there for seniors. It was hard to think of myself as a senior when I hit 55 because in my mind I am just getting started. Finally getting to the place where I feel really comfortable in my skin and then I find out I’m old. But hey, I feel good and I get benefits, what’s not to like?
Author Bio: Monta Fleming, the mother of three children, serves as an expert advisor on multiple household help issues to many organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. She is a regular contributor of “gonannies.com”. You can get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Credit: Courtesy of najeebkhan2009 via Flickr