Senior Discounts 2018: How to Keep More Cash in Your Pocket
Senior discounts are some of the perks that come with crossing the half-century mark. Many retailers, restaurants, hotels, transportation companies, and insurance firms cater to older adults by offering discounted prices on everything from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.
From a marketing standpoint, this makes total sense. After all, as a group, seniors have enormous spending power. According to AARP, adults age 50 and older are the largest and fastest-growing consumer group in the country, spending around $3.2 trillion every year. That's more than the total gross domestic product of nations like Italy, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom.1 Savvy marketers know that the best senior discounts can turn older adults into loyal customers—and pay huge dividends.
So your senior status can definitely be an economic advantage. However, while senior discounts are commonly available, they aren't always clearly advertised. The best strategy is to always ask. Many clerks are reluctant to apply a discount based on age for fear of offending customers, but it's worth your while to speak up and see if you can save a few dollars.
The Pros and Cons of Joining AARP
AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) is a lobbying organization for people age 50 and up. For a yearly fee of $16, members get access to numerous discounts on food, entertainment, travel, insurance, and more. The AARP discount list even includes things like glasses and hearing aids. Spouses are included for free on a membership.
Is AARP worth it? That depends. Many places offer discounts for seniors without requiring AARP membership. If you're a member of an auto club, you may find that the discounts available to you are just as good as the ones through AARP. And some people disagree with AARP's politics and choose not to support the organization. (Remember: It's primarily a lobby group.)
On the other hand, being a member of AARP can lower the age for senior discounts. At many places, discounts don't begin until at least age 55, but you can become an AARP member at 50 and take advantage of some savings. The association also offers its members access to health insurance, which can be a big bonus if you're too young for Medicare.
It's important to do your research and make the decision that's right for you.
Senior Discounts at Restaurants
According to a Food Institute survey, American adults over the age of 55 spend anywhere from 36 to 42 percent of their food budgets on meals outside the home.2 A number of eating establishments offer discounts to older adults to help bring those costs down.
AARP restaurant discounts
Regardless of age, AARP members receive 10 percent off at each of the following restaurants:
- Bonefish Grill
- Carrabba's Italian Grill
- Rainforest Cafe
- Outback Steakhouse
- Landry's restaurants (such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chart House, Claim Jumper Restaurant & Saloon, Saltgrass Steak House, and more)
- McCormick & Schmick's restaurants (such as McCormick's Fish House & Bar, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks, and more)
Members also receive other special dining deals. The AARP Dunkin Donuts senior discount consists of a free donut when you buy a large or extra-large drink. And members get 15 percent off at Denny's restaurants as well as 15 percent off at sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt shops.
Restaurants that offer senior discounts to the general public
Many restaurants offer lower prices to older adults on the basis of age rather than membership in a particular group. While the qualifying age varies from place to place, most of the deals on this list are discounts for seniors 55 and older. Keep in mind that many of these discounts are not advertised and can change at any time.
Senior Discounts on Clothing
Retirees may not need to spend money on work clothes, but not all seniors are retired. Plus, everyone needs new threads now and then, and getting them for less is a nice perk. There are many stores that offer senior citizen discounts on apparel.
Senior Discounts at Grocery, Drug, and Other Retail Stores
The world's biggest retailer unfortunately does not offer any special deals for senior citizens. (It's sad but true: There is no Walmart senior discount.) However, plenty of other retail stores do offer discounts. Depending on your age, your location, and the day of the week, you could save anywhere from five to 20 percent. Remember that these promotions can change at any time, so be sure to contact your local store to verify what's available.
Senior Discounts on Hotels
An AARP survey found that 96 percent of baby boomers expected to take at least one vacation in 2018, and many were looking to take four or more trips.3 Thankfully, there are plenty of hotels offering cheaper accommodations to older adults.
AARP hotel discounts
When it comes to AARP discounts, hotels are a key perk. Members are entitled to the following special deals:
You will typically need to show your membership card to get the discount, but not all places ask for it. It's a good idea to carry it with you just in case.
Hotels that offer senior discounts to the general public
In many cases, you don't need to be a member of a particular group to get a reduced price on hotel accommodations. Most of the following deals are available to seniors over 60, though a few will give discounts to people as young as 55.
Travel Discounts for Seniors
Are you looking for discounts that will help you see the world? An AARP study found that more than 45 percent of seniors were planning to travel both locally and internationally in 2018.3 You can get out and about for less with these deals from travel providers.
Senior Discounts on Insurance
Operating and maintaining a vehicle can be hugely expensive, particularly for older adults on fixed incomes. Fortunately, there are plenty of insurance companies that recognize that reality and offer reduced rates for senior citizens.
- 1 The Huffington Post, The 7 Incredible Facts About Boomers' Spending Power, website last visited on November 7, 2017.
- 2 The Food Institute, Demographics of Consumer Food Spending, 2018 Edition, website last visited on January 2, 2019.
- 3 AARP, Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends, website last visited on February 8, 2018.