If you’ve made it past your 50th birthday, you have some rewards points to cash in. Financial perks are just beginning, so be aware, if not for yourself, perhaps your parents or elder relatives. There are dozens of ways to save money — including some programs that aren’t widely advertised — if you’re not too modest to boast about your age. Read on to discover some of the categories in which you can still enjoy a seniority advantage.
- Some fast food chain or franchise businesses offer free or discounted menu items to customers who are 55 +; just ask the clerk. Since you look so fabulous, no one is going to offer it to you! Also, if you belong to an organization and are interested in fund raising, ask about their programs where they donate a % of a specific day’s sales to your favorite organization. (Link here for local Staten Island Restaurants)
- After calling many hair salons seeking a senior discount, I found out that the one my mother and I had been using, Hair Express, has been offering discounts for years at their locations throughout Staten Island. Sundays -Thursday, haircut and blowout $15 or wash and blowout $12 for ages 62+. See? You never know unless you ask!
- Love to shop? It may be a senior day. A few retailers in Staten Island are: Banana Republic: 10% off (50+) Dress Barn: 10% off (55+) Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location) Kohl’s: 15% off (60+) Modell’s Sporting Goods: 10% off. Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays and Salvation Army Thrift Stores: Up to 50% off (55+)
- If you are in the traveling mode this year, inquire about senior discounts before booking. American Airlines, American Eagle and American Connection® may offer Senior Fares in some domestic markets for seniors 65 years and older. But, be aware while senior discounts are available through several airlines, these fares do not always offer the best deal. The discount is typically taken off of the full ticket price.
- Keep fit. Jewish Community Center of Staten Island, http://sijcc.org/senior-adults/ Physical activities taught by certified instructors. JCC offers free programs and transportation for certain programs. Check out their website or call the office, 718-517-7445 for more information. Take note that most JCC social services are free and transportation is available for adults 60+ or disabled. The YMCA, http://www.ymcanyc.org/association/age/older-adults with two locations: offer programs and discounts specially designed for seniors.
- Bills. Not that they are boasting about it, but some utility companies offer a senior discount and some are based on income. Study your bills to see if you are eligible. Property tax discounts are another perk that varies greatly by location, but considering that the benefit is retroactive in many of the places where it’s available, it’s worth looking into. I mention these discounts for those with parents who are out of state.
- AARP. For $16 per year, you will receive a magazine, literature, and nonstop access to special offers on everything from local entertainment to worldwide travel. My own parents were AARP cardholders for decades and enjoyed the endless discounts available before the Internet exploded with offers. http://www.aarp.org/
- U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping for folks 62+ Senior Pass. http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.
- Reduced fare MetroCards for customers 65+ or those with a qualifying disability. The base subway or local bus fare is $2.50. Reduced fare is half the base fare, $1.25 or less.
- Cell phone service. AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99/month (65+). Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+). If you need something simple and inexpensive for your parents or grandparents, consider Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service (50+).
- Groupon is an easy way to get huge discounts while discovering fun activities to do. Sign up at http:/www.groupon.com/. It’s great fun for gifts, as well.
Although this list is not exclusive or all-inclusive, it does offer a taste of what is available. As always, be aware that offers may change. Don’t be afraid to ask for the senior discount, this is our time to get a break!
Life is Grand is the place for today’s generation of active, involved grandparents and seniors to get more smiles, have more fun, and create more memories during time they spend with their families.
By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, who is an author, educator, as well as a newly minted grandmother.