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For people in their late 40s, getting the dreaded invitation to join AARP in the mail can only mean one thing — 50 is right around the corner! I remember mercilessly teasing my hubby (who is a bit older than me) when his invitation arrived. But you know what? Once we got over the old jokes and looked into it, I realized an AARP membership is actually a sweet deal. If you’re asking yourself “is AARP worth it?”, don’t worry. I’ve got all the answers on what it costs, what having the card gets you, and (spoiler alert!) why being a member has absolutely nothing to do with your age.

Sure, it might feel like you’re admitting to getting old when you join AARP, but trust me — there’s more to it than that.

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What is AARP?

A person looking at a phone displaying the AARP website.

AARP is a nonprofit organization that basically helps the older generations live their best lives. To them, this is people ages 50 and up. The AARP name originally stood for the American Association of Retired Persons, but now they just go by their acronym.

Many people think getting the AARP invitation is a daunting rite of passage when your 50th birthday comes. But here’s the thing — they have around 38 million members today. So AARP must be giving out some pretty good perks for so many people to join.

Related: Find out about social security increases coming next year.

Is there a minimum age to join AARP?

AARP dedicates themselves to people over 50, and that’s when they’ll start soliciting you to join. But realistically, there’s no minimum age to become a member. That’s right — even as a younger person, you can access the many travel and shopping benefits AARP has to offer.

 

What are the benefits of joining AARP?

A person using a laptop displaying the AARP website's Member Benefits

AARP costs just $16 per year, but really, you’ll pay even less.

The standard annual rate to join costs $16 per year. But if you sign up online for your first year and select auto-renewal, you’ll score a discount that brings the yearly price down to $12. That’s less than the monthly price of Netflix!

If you don’t want to automatically renew your membership, you can sign up for multiple years to save on costs. Right now, their offer is $43 for three years (that’s $14.33 per year) or $63 for five years ($12.60 per year).

 

You actually get two AARP memberships for the price of one.

When my husband joined, not only did he get all of the membership perks, but he was also able to add me as his spouse/partner for free. So yes, I get to enjoy all the perks, too — and I still have a ways to go before the big 5-0 birthday hits.

 

You can quickly make up for the cost of your membership with AARP benefits.

There are tons of cool benefits, perks, and discounts for AARP members. In fact, their list of benefits is packed into a 26-page guide (sorted by A – Z). If you’re wondering whether your membership will pay for itself, here’s the deal: all you have to do is take advantage of one or two of their member discounts. You’ll easily earn back the $16 (or less) that it cost you to join.

Of course, you can come out way ahead if you reap all the best benefits of membership. Here are just a few:

  • Save up to 20% when you buy movie tickets online from Regal
  • Save $30 on a yearly membership to Audible
  • 15% off at Denny’s
  • 10% off at Outback Steakhouse
  • 20% off regular-priced items when you shop at Walgreens or Duane Reade on the first Tuesday of every month
  • Unlock members-only retro games like Pong and Breakout

Related: We found all the ways to get free stuff on Amazon.

 

 

So is AARP worth it?

older person looking at aarp membership card near laptop

Is AARP worth it for the travel discounts alone? You bet.

If you enjoy taking trips, especially if you’re renting cars and booking hotel rooms, don’t forget to mention your AARP membership.

For example, at Budget and Avis, you’ll get 30% off your car rental rate. Sometimes you’ll even get free upgrades and free additional drivers. The average cost of a car rental is about $80 per day. So with 30% off, you’re saving over $25 a day. That’s already more than the annual cost of an AARP membership.

 

An AARP membership is absolutely worth it if you enjoy print magazines.

As one of the perks of membership, you’ll get six issues of AARP The Magazine and 10 issues of the AARP Bulletin. That alone is worth the price of membership, since issues cost less than $1 each. As a Gen Xer, I was thrilled to see Adam Sandler on the cover of the latest AARP magazine (yes, Billy Madison himself is over 50!). I saw lots of other great content in there, too.

 

Use your AARP membership to save on dental and vision insurance, too.

If you don’t already have coverage through your employer, AARP plans can help you save on eye exams and the most common dental procedures.

AARP also partners with OptumRx to offer discounts on prescriptions. While anyone can join that program, you’ll get extra perks with an AARP membership.

Related: Getting older really does have its perks. Here’s our full list of all the best senior discounts out there.

 

Who benefits from an AARP membership the most?

elderly couple looking at aarp homepage on laptop

Like any other membership, it pays the most to truly take advantage of it. Need to make some purchases or book a trip? Don’t forget to see if there’s an AARP discount available (and there probably is). When booking reservations and trips over the phone, simply ask if they have a discount for AARP members.

In most cases, you just need to keep your AARP membership card (or card number) handy in order to make the most of it.

 

 

When is AARP not worth it?

With the affordable annual fee plus all the great benefits, there’s only one reason not to join. If you’re not a big coupon or discount user (or you just don’t have the time or patience), it’ll be more difficult to make the most of your AARP membership. However, it IS pretty easy to flash your AARP card or share your membership number if it means saving money.

Maybe you just don’t want to feel old and you think joining AARP is proof you’ve reached your golden years. Listen, as a 40-something, I get it, But honestly, getting older is a lot easier once you embrace all the good things that come with it. Like discounts, baby! And hey, if you’re really bothered by it, just remember AARP welcomes members of all ages anyway, so it’s really not a big deal.

The bottom line? Joining AARP is a no-brainer if you love deals, discounts, and saving tons of money. And if you’re a regular The Krazy Coupon Lady reader, I’m guessing that’s you. You’ll easily squeeze out way more value from the perks than the $12 to $16 a year it’ll cost you.

In fact, don’t even wait for that dreaded invitation as you count down the days to 50 — go ahead and sign up no matter how old you are. The more you remember to use your AARP card, the more you’ll realize your membership is worth it.

Is AARP Worth It? Here's Why It's a Good Deal at Any Age