Everyone knows there are certain things come with age. Graying hair, physical limitations, medical issues, worries about retirement are all concerns that get a lot of attention. But what about the benefits of aging? Wisdom, patience, self-worth, life perspective, discounts. Discounts?
Perhaps you wouldn’t include discounted purchases as a perk of aging. But, you should. Senior discounts, deeply embedded in the retail and service cultures , are available if you know where to look and how to take advantage of them.
Nationally or locally, senior savings provide a few qualifiers to keep in mind. Retailers and services providers all have rules for these discounts, which are subject to change. Understanding the basic structure of these savings programs prevents frustration and disappointment.
The most important thing to understand in a senior discount program is its limitations. One of the biggest complaints about getting discounts of any kind is the “surprise” that usually follows a purchase— surprises that come because of limitations like age (50 plus, 60 plus, etc), time constraints (good only before 6pm), or day restraints (weekends and holidays excluded). If you ask first, you can time your visit or order appropriately.
Second, it is important to understand the discount structure. Many discounts may have an additional purchase requirement or be limited to certain items or services. Some restaurants even have a “senior” menu rather than offering a set percentage off of regular pricing. They may only offer discounts if another purchase is made at listed prices. Because discount plans change from venue to venue, understanding these structural elements of a discount plan is vital.
Finally, stores or service providers require you to be a member of a “club” or “program” to receive your discount. The signup requires an email and occasionally a phone number. There is a real concern about getting nuisance phone calls or cluttering up a primary email inbox. First, phone numbers are not generally used to “cold call” people any more, as any attempt to do so is easily blocked. Second, with so many email options (like Yahoo, Google, etc), it is easy to create a separate email for the sole purpose of these style of discount memberships.
Of course, not every business honors seniors and there are resources which will help you find those discounts. Begin with the Golden Buckeye Card. Those 60 plus should automatically receive the card. Most businesses that honor the card will have a logo on their storefront. This is the primary way that local restaurants offer discounts. You can also check for new businesses directly on the Ohio Department of Aging website (at aging.ohio.gov) or join the Golden Buckeye discussion on Facebook.
For national services and chains, check out the website seniorcitizensdiscountlist.org, an excellent resource for statewide discounts, including places like Applebee’s, Boston Market, Dunkin’ Donuts, IHOP, Max and Erma’s, and most fast food restaurants.
Discounts in our area are also listed for most retail and service providers like Kohl’s, Goodwill, LensCrafters, Rite Aid and several hotels and travel services. This resource also lists the basic restrictions.