Am I a senior? Well, that depends on whose definition you use. For some organizations – the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), for example, it’s 50, so I certainly am. For some other places, it’s 55, so again, I am. Sixty is quite common, and sixty-five remains the norm in some place, and I haven’t got there yet!
Due to genetics and nothing else, my hair is still 95% brown at fifty-seven. I had it cut yesterday, and was not offered the senior’s discount! (I don’t qualify, there.) BD’s had grey hair since his 40’s, and now is almost pure white at fifty-nine. He gets senior discounts everywhere, no questions asked, so he does the shopping at the bulk food store that offers 10% for seniors on Wednesdays, and the pharmacy that does the same on the last Tuesday of every month.
When we retired, we bought supplemental health insurance – it covers dental and opthamalogical costs, travel insurance, and drugs, plus health services such as physiotherapy and orthotics – and along with that came membership in group that provides discounts on items ranging from fitness club memberships to rental cars. I’m heading west in a week with a cousin from the UK, to spend ten days in the Rockies, so I thought I’d check it out for the hotels and rental car. It turned out to be definitely worth it for the rental car, saving me thirty percent of the next-cheapest price I could find through Expedia, Kayak, or anywhere else. For the hotels, not as much – you’re limited to the ones that participate, which aren’t always in the locations you want. I’ve used it for one or two sites, but am falling back on the discount offered to Automobile Association (CAA in Canada) members in most places.
Even little things add up. The buy-ten-coffees-get-one-free cards offered by many coffee shops doesn’t sound like much, but if you get a $2 coffee free every second week, that’s $52 you save over the year. Which can buy you a reasonable dinner out here at a small bistro. Gas at the south end of our closest town is generally five cents a litre (twenty cents a US gallon) cheaper than it is at the north end; again, it’s only a couple of dollars at most every fill, but that’s another $50 to $100 a year to spend on something else, and if I use my gas station loyalty card to gain points at every fill-up, I can exchange it for an even greater discount on gas. But even better is gas at Costco, which is generally ten cents a litre (forty cents a gallon) cheaper, and makes the cost of the membership worthwhile. And as it’s directly across the street from a grocery store I visit once a week, it’s not out of my way.
In Canada, automobile insurers are required by law to offer a discounts to “retirees aged 65 or older, and to younger retirees too, if they are receiving a Canada or Quebec Pension or a pension registered under the Income Tax Act.” so we qualified for that. Banks, too, offer a reduction in service fees (or waive them completely) for older customers – it appears to vary from bank to bank, and they don’t necessarily advertise it, so ask! I did, and it saved us $132 a year.
Many chain restaurants, from McDonalds onward, have senior’s deals or senior’s meals. I’ve been ordering senior’s meals on road trips for years, since they are almost the only thing on the menu with a reasonable portion size at most chains.
I’m learning just to ask if a shop or service offers a senior’s discount, and many are happy to offer it to me just because I asked. If they stress the age limit, I’m honest and say I do or don’t qualify. It’s a new mind-set, and like all new things is taking a while to learn, but it’s well on it’s way to becoming a habit.
What senior (or other) discounts have I missed? Please share!