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7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd

 by Patricia Lynn Henley   Posted on October 21 2013

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As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks.

A few of these special prices are limited to those age 65 and older, but many start at age 62, 60 or 55, and an ever-increasing number are offered beginning at age 50.

It's possible to get even more discounts by joining a membership group like AARP (previously called American Association for Retired People, $16 a year for those 50 or older). However, for the deals listed below, all you typically have to do is offer legal proof of your age.

1. Passage into Parks

Word is slowly getting out about one of the best federal deals for seniors. For those age 62 or older, a lifetime senior pass costs a one-time fee of $10 (or $20 by mail), and admits the pass holder plus up to three other people (in other words, a carload) into more than 2,000 national parks and federal recreation areas.

2. Lower Household Bills

This isn't advertised much -- and it varies a lot by location -- but there might be age-related discounts on your property taxes, trash pickup, utilities or cable service. These could be only modest discounts (and in some cases there are income eligibility rules), but small amounts add up over time. For every household bill you receive, call and ask if you might qualify for a senior discount -- you might be pleasantly surprised. In some cases, the discount can be applied to past bills as well as to future ones.

3. Simple Calls for Less

If you don't use your basic cell phone often, or rely on it mostly for talking and not texting, ask if the company offers specialized senior rates. Verizon has a 65-Plus plan starting at $29 a month with unlimited minutes (but texts cost 20 cents to 25 cents each).

4. Being Entertained

Most museums and theme parks admit seniors for $3 to $5 less than the regular price, and some museums offer up to 50% off for seniors, or have " free for seniors "days one a week or once a month. Small and local movie theaters typically have a senior ticket rate, and several movie theater chains have their own senior savings programs. AMC Theatres offers Tuesday discounts for age 60+; at Cinemark Seniors Day is Mondays; and Landmark Theatres has senior discounts that vary from theater to theater.

5. Dining Out

Senior discounts are available from national chains like IHOP (55+ senior menu or 10% discount, depending on location), Burger King (10% for 60+ at some locations) or McDonald's (senior drink discount, 55+), but most don't advertise them on their menus or websites; you have to ask. It's the same for many local fast food and fine dining establishments -- many have a senior discount, but only if you ask.

6. Getting From Here to There

Want to take a train trip? Seniors age 62 or older get 15% off the lowest available fares on Amtrak. Greyhound bus lines knocks 5% off the price for age 62+. Southwest Airlines offers a variety of senior fares for travelers age 65+. And most city buses have senior rates: the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency charges seniors (65+) $0.75 instead of the regular $2 fare, and the New York City MTA offers half-price fares for age 62 and older.

7. Staying Overnight

Hotels and motels frequently have senior rates -- if you ask. Just a few of the national chains offering discounts include Best Western, Day's Inn and Marriott. Local lodgings frequently have senior rates as well, but they often aren't advertised.

The key, of course, is to ask. Overcome any shyness about labeling yourself as a "senior," and see how much money you can save.

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