The easiest way to increase your standard of living or extend the life of your nest egg is to save money. Reducing the cost of anything keeps more money in your pockets. You can spend the savings on other things or keep it invested to generate more money for the future.
Time put into creating cost savings often offers a bigger and faster payoff than investing. In an average year you earn less than 10% from stocks. But that’s risky, and it takes time for the gains to compound. Savings are immediate, and often with a little work you save more than 10% on a lot of purchases.
A few years ago in the boom years I wrote that senior discounts at many businesses were becoming a thing of the past. As Baby Boomers aged they weren’t shopping around, and businesses didn’t feel a need to offer the traditional silver hair deals. They were phasing them out or significantly limiting them. The financial crisis reversed that. Now, many businesses want your business badly enough to offer discounts.
You don’t even have to reach the traditional senior age of 65 to reap some savings. Some savings are available to people as young as 50, and many discount plans kick in at 55 or 60.
I’ve compiled an extensive list of some discounts that are available to most of you. The highlights are listed here, but there are more on the members’ web site under the “Extras” tab.
AARP likes to promote all the discounts available to its members, and there are a number of them. But most of them also are available through other membership groups. You don’t have to pay the $16 annual AARP fee and contribute to its political agenda to reap most of the discounts. Take a good look at the discounts available from AAA or any other membership you already have. These discounts are available regardless of your age and usually include car rentals, hotels, and some entertainment and restaurants.
Businesses often offer other discounts without any membership card once you reach a certain age. Some start their senior discounts as early as age 55. Some offer the discounts only on certain days of the week when business usually is slow. Here are a few examples:
? Best Western Hotels: 10% off
? Pathmark stores: 5% off every Tuesday
? Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple card
? Chili’s: 10% off
? Banana Republic: 10% off
? Publix: 5% off every Wednesday
The savings are more readily available once you reach age 60 or 65. The senior savings aren’t always well-advertised. You have to ask, and you should poke around web sites or use other information sources to learn what’s available. The discounts can change. The ones I list here and on the web site were available when I compiled them. They can change, and others can be added at any time.
Also, look into frequent customer and other memberships. Some people don’t like them, because the businesses compile more information about you. But they use the information to offer you better deals on things you want. When you patronize a business regularly and it has a frequent customer program, it usually pays you well to join.
RW September 2013.