By Michele D. Baker
It’s high summer, and the temperature is HOT. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to save some cool cash! There are literally dozens of websites and publications devoted to helping seniors save money, including The Senior List, AARP, The Penny Hoarder and Retire Guide. Here is a compilation of some of the best discounts we could find in summer 2023:
Groceries & Restaurants
- Applebee’s: 10% discount
- Burger King: 10% discount and discounts on drink items
- Denny’s: senior menu with discounted prices
- IHOP: senior menu as well as 10% off
- Sonic: 10% discount
- Golden Corral: discounted menu prices for 60 and over
- Subway: 10% discount
- Wendy’s: free drink (or 10% at some locations)
- White Castle: 10% off for 55 and over
- Download your grocery store’s phone app and “clip” digital coupons, which get applied automatically upon checkout
- Have 2 grocery shopping lists: 1) all the things you’ll need this week, and 2) running list of pantry items and household supplies needed each month (which you can buy in bulk or when they go on sale).
- Shop like a European: avoid food spoilage by buying only what you need right now.
- Flip the berries: Moisture is the main reason berries go bad quickly. Flip the container; if they aren’t sticking to the bottom, they’ll last longer.
- RiteAid: Offers a wellness 65+ program for seniors that includes 20% off purchases the first Wednesday of each month.
- Walgreens: discounts for 55+ or AARP members
- RxFreeCard: Includes discounts on prescriptions for seniors.
- Atera Spas: Includes special prices on products for seniors.
- YMCA offers discounted memberships to seniors (varies by location)
- Goodwill: 10% off for seniors 60+ on Tuesdays
- Michaels: 10% off for crafters aged 55+
- Jo-Ann: a senior discount day that includes 20% off for crafters 55+
- Kohl’s: 15% discount for those 60+ on Wednesdays
- Habitat for Humanity Restore: 20% off on Thursday for those 55+ at select locations
- Ace Hardware: 10% discount to seniors (varies by location)
- Veterans (& spouses!) get a 10% discount at Lowe’s stores
- When shopping online, use an online coupon seeker browser extension like Honey, Cently or Rakuten to automatically find and apply coupons for you at checkout
Travel & Driving
- Southwest, United and American Airlines all offer senior discounts. Next time you book, ask about special pricing for travelers 65+.
- Booking airline travel a month ahead and booking on a Sunday could save you 10-15% or more vs. waiting until the last minute or booking on a Friday.
- Greyhound Bus: 5% off for travelers 62+
- Amtrak: 10% off for train passengers 65+
- Hertz Car Rental: various discounts to those 50+
- Avis Car Rental: up to 30% off to AARP members
- Payless Car Rental: various discounts to AARP members
- Carnival and Royal Caribbean both offer discounts to cruisers aged 55+
- Pep Boys: 10% off for seniors 55+
- Jiffy Lube: 10% off for patrons 55+
- Costco or Sam’s Club gas can be 25 cents per gallon cheaper, which may even out the membership cost
- Cars get the best gas mileage at 55 mph. At 65 mph, your car is up to 10% less efficient, and at 80 mph, almost 30% less efficient.
- For every 100 pounds of extra weight in your car’s trunk, you reduce your gas mileage by 2%.
- Best Western Hotels: up to 15% off for travelers 55+
- Choice Hotels: 10% off for 60+ (or AARP members)
- Hampton Hotels: 10% off for AARP members
- Holiday Inn: discounts to seniors 62+
- Marriott Hotels: 15% off to travelers 62+
- Red Roof Inn: 10% off for those 59+
- Motel 6: 10% off to seniors 60+
- Super 8: discounts for seniors 60+
- AT&T, Verizon, and Consumer Cellular each offer seniors special savings on talk and text cell phone plans. Call your company to see what discounts you’ve been missing!
- Replacing the filters on your HVAC unit might lower usage up to 15% and will prolong the life of your system.
- If your electric water heater is warm to the touch, fit it with an insulating jacket to preserve that heat and save on electric bills.
- Switching to LED lightbulbs, turning off lights and unplugging certain appliances can save up to $100 a year.
- An 8-minute shower uses 17 gallons of water (a bath uses about 30 gallons). Save water by taking shorter showers, turning off the water when brushing your teeth, and installing a low-water flush toilet.
- Bonus hack: 4 ways to convert your regular toilet to use less water
- Many utility companies offer a free professional home energy audit to inspect windows, insulation, gaps and other energy leaks. You may even qualify for a $150 tax credit for doing an audit.
- Remember to reverse your ceiling fan: counterclockwise in summer (to push cooler air down) and clockwise in winter (to bounce warmer air off the ceiling).
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income households pay for heating and cooling energy costs, energy crisis assistance, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs.
Insurance & Taxes
- If you own a house in Florida as your permanent residence, you may be entitled to a “homestead exemption” of up to $50,000. Find out at FloridaRevenue.com.
- Don’t auto renew – policies and benefits change so frequently now, you might just save money by shopping around.
- (Re)taking a defensive driving or safe driver course might decrease your car insurance premiums.
- Bundle home and auto insurance and save an average of 18%.
AARP Member Benefits
- Holland America Cruise Lines offers members up to $200 onboard credit which can be used for excursions, beverages, spa services and more
- Automatically save 25% on flowers and 30% on select items (code AARP30). FTD.com or 833-814-AARP (2277).
- Members save an average of 61% on FDA-approved prescriptions not covered by insurance.
- Outback Steakhouse: 10% off for AARP members
- Members get vision savings at Target, Optical and LensCrafters and online at EyeMed.
- 5% of shipping, 20% off online printing, and 15% off other services at The UPS Store.
- Link your ExxonMobil Rewards account to your AARP membership and earn extra points on fuel.
Yard & Garden
- Native plants – ask a Master Gardener for help selecting them – are perfect for your soil, often need less maintenance, and won’t be invasive to the ecosystem.
- Did you know coffee grounds make great compost? Many Starbucks stores participate in Grounds for Your Garden, a program that provides packaged grounds for free, or ask your local coffee shop.
- Many groceries can double as garden seeds. Scallions, celery bottoms, potato eyes and avocado pits all yield more plants.
- Membership in the National Garden Club (www.gardenclub.org) could yield tools and equipment, compost, heirloom seeds and soil, plus friends who share the hobby.
- Neighborhood plant swaps each spring and fall are great ways to get new and more plants and to share cuttings.
- Ask local college students or volunteer groups to do some of the heavy lifting in your garden.
- For container gardens, create a “self-watering “system” by poking pinholes in a soda bottle, filling it with water, and burying it in the soil with just the cap poking out.
- Look for a cash-back card with no annual fee that offers more than 1% on purchases. Check for those categories you shop most; it’s not uncommon to get 3% or more back on some categories.
- Call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate; 76% of those who did were successful, and the average reduction was 6.3 percentage points.
- Transfer your balance to a card with 0% interest. The typical card offers 12-15 months interest free, and some give up to 21 months.
- Use the free money-review tool from your bank or credit card issuer to “audit” how you’re spending your money. An in-depth peek twice a year can highlight areas where you can cut back.
- Getting a tax refund means you’ve let the government use your money for free. Better to withhold less, invest the extra cash, and pay a small amount come tax time.
- Cancel automated purchases for non-essentials. Look carefully at gym memberships, streaming services, subscription boxes and anything else you auto pay each month. Also be on the lookout for any free trials you forgot to cancel.
- Paying for Amazon Prime? Then you also have (free) Amazon Music! Browse in 2 million+ albums including big band, swing, classical, country and more.
- Regal Entertainment Group: up to 30% discount off the regular adult ticket price for ages 60+
- AMC Theatres: discounted ticket prices to customers 60+
- Marcus Theatres: Every Friday, special admission prices for anyone age 60+
- Showcase Cinemas: On Senior Wednesdays, patrons age 60+ get ticket and concession specials
- Many shows, parks and sporting events offer discounts of up to 50% for groups, so grab your friends for a day (or night) out.
- Many public library systems have passes offering free admission to museums and other cultural attractions. Check the library’s website or stop by the front desk.
- Many theaters & venues offer senior discounts… just ask! For example, Tampa’s Straz Center offers 50% off select shows each season.
Buy It Used
- Save big by buying a refurbished or used cellphone with at least a 1-year warranty.
- Poshmark.com and Thredup.com offer gently used evening and formal wear such as tuxedos and RentTheRunway.com offers outfits for special events.
- Find great vintage furniture on Facebook marketplace, Nextdoor, or other peer-to-peer platforms. Floorfound.store resells open box and returned furniture.
- With many people downsizing to condos or smaller houses, grab great deals on used lawn mowers, edgers, or patio furniture.
- Longtime bargain stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army offer upscale versions of their thrift stores for name-brand clothing and very gently used items.
More Great Ideas
- Ask about auditing classes for free at your local college or university.
- Too many clothes but nothing to wear? Twice a year, host a clothes swap with 10-15 neighbors and friends.
- Downsizing? Sell back your antiques to a local consignment store.
- The World Digital Library is a project of the Library of Congress. Get free access to 20,000 items.
- Veterans are eligible for a variety of deals from nationally recognized stores from Adidas to Zappos. Bring your ID and get in the habit of asking about deals.
- Celebrating a birthday? Many restaurants and stores give freebies and deals to the birthday guy or gal.