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Golden Years: 10 Savings Tips That Stretch Beyond Senior Discounts

Joanie.Demer

More and more seniors retire only to find they have to live their golden years on a restricted budget.

Here are tips to help seniors save:

1. Know stores’ senior discount policy. Stores regularly offer 5 percent to 15 percent discounts for purchases. Some have dedicated senior days. Seniors may have to request a discount during checkout. Arrange shopping trips for the best possible savings to take advantage of senior discounts. Don’t know the policy? Ask to speak with the store manager.

 2. Reduce insurance premiums. Insure home and auto with the same company to save 10 percent to 15 percent off total premiums. Also, life insurance needs change as we age. What may have been the “amount needed” to take care of young children and spouse is most likely far less now that the kids are grown. Adjust the amount to fit current needs and save hundreds a year with reduced premiums. Try an online insurance calculator like this one at LifeHappens.

3. Join AARP. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps those 50 and over maintain independence, choice and control (it is also an advocacy and lobbying group for seniors). A couple’s membership is $16 a year and provides benefits and savings that more than pay for the membership fee. Here’s the list of available savings to AARP members.

4. Travel for less. Senior discounts are typically available for airline, rail, bus, boat and other fares. Always ask for a discount when making reservations. In the United States, federal recreation sites offer a $10 Golden Age Passport for camping, swimming, boat launches and guided tours at our National Parks. Find out about the Golden Age Passport here.

5. Save on lodging. Hotels, motels and inns offer senior discounts. Many are offered through AARP. Not an AARP member? Ask if they will provide a senior discount rate to you by speaking directly with a reservation agent.

6. Reduce credit card interest rates and annual fees. Contact credit providers and ask for interest rates cut by half. Also ask for a card with no annual fee (if you don’t already have this). A 50 percent reduction may not be realistic, but anything will help save.

7. Lower medication costs. As we age, we seem to need more medications to keep us going. Those achy joints, high blood pressure and cholesterol can’t remain unchecked. If you don’t reduce medication costs, monthly prescription costs for seniors can cost several hundred dollars each month. Save hundreds by always asking for a generic alternative. Consider asking for a 90-day supply, or a higher dosage that can be split with a special pill splitter.

Many pharmacies offer free or low-cost discount card programs to order generics for $4 and get better discounts on other drugs. Costco, Target and Walmart all offer versions of this type of plan.

Some pharmacies provide health-related discounts on diabetic supplies, immunizations and vaccines. Those include www.togetherrxaccess.com, www.rxsavingsplus.com, www.yourrxcard.com, www.rxfreecard.com, www.pscard.com and www.familywize.com.

8. Lower utility bills. Ask local utility providers about senior discounts. Many seniors qualify for grants for home improvement needs.

9. Use coupons that benefit seniors. Save on groceries with printable coupons from Coupons.com, which gives back to AARP programs. AARP members, through coupons.com, can save on products and groceries which, in turn, benefits the Create the Good campaign.

10. Senior citizen centers. Visit the local senior citizens community center. Many cities and centers offer discounted or free monthly, meals, health programs, entertainment and vacation packages and reduced transportation options. Enjoy a senior talent show, art fair, dance, gardening show or tai chi class for free.

 

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