Senior discounts are some of the perks that come with crossing the half-century mark. Many retailers, restaurants, hotels, transportation companies, and insurance firms cater to older adults by offering discounted prices on everything from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.
From a marketing standpoint, this makes total sense. After all, as a group, seniors have enormous spending power. According to an AARP analysis on HuffPost, adults age 50 and older are the largest and fastest-growing consumer group in the country, spending around $3.2 trillion every year. That's more than the total gross domestic product of nations like Italy, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Savvy marketers know that the best senior discounts can turn older adults into loyal customers—and pay huge dividends.
So your senior status can definitely be an economic advantage. However, while senior discounts are commonly available, they aren't always clearly advertised. The best strategy is to always ask. Many clerks are reluctant to apply a discount based on age for fear of offending customers, but it's worth your while to speak up and see if you can save a few dollars.
AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) is a lobbying organization for people age 50 and up. For a yearly fee of $16, members get access to numerous discounts on food, entertainment, travel, insurance, and more. The AARP discount list even includes things like glasses and hearing aids. Spouses are included for free on a membership.
Is AARP worth it? That depends. Many places offer discounts for seniors without requiring AARP membership. If you're a member of an auto club, you may find that the discounts available to you are just as good as the ones through AARP. And some people disagree with AARP's politics and choose not to support the organization. (Remember: It's primarily a lobby group.)
On the other hand, being a member of AARP can lower the age for senior discounts. At many places, discounts don't begin until at least age 55, but you can become an AARP member at 50 and take advantage of some savings. The association also offers its members access to health insurance, which can be a big bonus if you're too young for Medicare.
It's important to do your research and make the decision that's right for you.
According to a Food Institute survey, American adults over the age of 55 spend anywhere from 36 to 42 percent of their food budgets on meals outside the home. A number of eating establishments offer discounts to older adults to help bring those costs down