Getting A Senior Discount: The One Crucial Word to Know

While some businesses clearly display their policies regarding a senior discount, others are not so readily forthcoming. The truth is that the majority of businesses do offer senior discounts…but only to those savvy enough to ask. That's right. The secret to getting that free cup of coffee or 10 percent off your cable bill may lie with just three little letters: ASK. However, keeping a few additional things in mind can help older adults find even more great deals on everything from meals out to trash removal.

Senior discounts
Senior discounts are widely available…if you're willing to ask.

Do Your Research to get the Best Senior Discount

With older adults representing an increasingly vital segment of the population, their collective buying power is massive. This is not lost on today's bottom line-minded businesses, which court senior dollars with enticing deals and discounts.

Some see it simply as good marketing: log onto their websites or walk into a storefront to immediately be greeted with well-marketed policies regarding senior discounts. Typically, restaurants, retailers, movie theaters, museums, and other cultural organizations fall into the category of businesses which clearly define and advertise senior discount programs.

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However, just because you don't see a discount posted doesn't mean one doesn't exist. Some stores opt not to promote or advertise their discounts for older adults. In this case, the only way to find out about these bargains — aside from through word of mouth — is by directly asking about senior discounts anywhere you do business.

In addition to retail products, this approach is also fruitful for household services, for which senior discounts can be applied to everything from your cell phone bill to domestic repairs to property taxes. The trick for getting the best deal, according to U.S. News and World Report? Ask for the rate first, and then follow up by requesting a senior discount.

Be Thorough

Whether a senior discount is shared publicly or not, it's important to understand that most come with fine print and restrictions. For example, many discounts are available only on certain days of the week or at specific times of day. Planning your shopping and dining out around these opportunities can lead to big savings, whereas missing them can lead to no savings at all.

Wondering where to start when it comes to identifying these senior deals? Don't miss our handy “2015 Best List of Senior Discounts,” where you'll find the scoop on discounts conveniently broken out into categories ranging from grocery stores and pharmacies to restaurants and retail stores to hotels and travel.

Another critical part of accessing the biggest selection of deals? Get an AARP membership. For just $16 dollars a year, you not only benefit from an abundance of everyday discounts, but you also get free membership for your spouse or partner, along with a subscription to the AARP Magazine.

The best part? You are eligible for an AARP card when you turn 50, meaning you can gain access to these discounts significantly sooner than you might otherwise.

One last thing to keep in mind? Senior discounts aren't always the lowest rate available — particularly when it comes to hotels and travel. Never assume that you're getting the best deal without first undertaking some comparison shopping.

While there are plenty of bargains, discounts, and deals to be had for older adults, maximizing your dollars may take a bit of effort, not to mention speaking up. And remember, when in doubt, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by inquiring about senior discounts. After all, you've put in the time. Isn't it time to cash in on the rewards?

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