With the coming of age of the baby boomers, the population of the United States is rapidly graying. The shame of this is that one in four of these seniors just do not have enough food to eat; money is tight.

While one in four is the official number, it is agreed that the number is actually larger because these seniors are a part of a very proud generation who take help only when absolutely necessary and often not then.

A relatively new business tactic is the senior discount which has evolved as the senior population has increased. There are thousands of companies who offer such a discount and if the savvy senior takes advantage of all the discounts available, it will make a great deal of difference in his financial situation.

A senior citizen is someone who is 50, 55, 60, 62, or in some cases 65 years old or older. The age varies with the company giving the discount.

So, too, does the discount given, which can range from free to 5 percent to 50 percent. Additional discounts may be realized if the senior is a member of AARP or some civic organization. In some cases, the discount is only given only on a specific day, such as the first Tuesday in the month; others are offered every day.

Discounts shown in this column are taken from a nationally published list, but be warned that not every member of a chain is obligated for a certain discount; the amount of the discount is up to the individual store.

For breakfast, the savvy senior could take advantage of Dunkin’ Donuts free coffee, or 10 percent off to those over 55, or Hardee’s 33 cent beverage to those over 65, Burger King’s 10 percent off to those over 60 or IHOP’s 10 percent discount to those over 55 or Denny’s will give those 55 and older 10 percent or 20 percent if they are AARP members.. Most other places where you would get breakfast also offer some discount.

When shopping for gifts or cards, be aware that some retail stores offer better discounts at specific times. For instance, Bealls gives 20 percent to those over 50, but only on the first Tuesday of each month while most K-Mart stores give 20 percent every day to those 55.

Grocery stores now offer the senior citizen discount. If you know where and when to find the discounts, you can reduce your grocery bill substantially. Take advantage of the sales and put the discount saving on top of that and you will really be saving money.

Travel discounts can be substantial. Most airlines (call and ask before booking) offer good discounts, especially to fliers over 65. Get your discount when you rent a car or when you check into a motel.

You can buy a lifetime pass to United States National Parks for $10 and realize other discounts of 50 percent for additional services including camping if you are over 62.

Movie theaters and entertainment facilities such as Busch Gardens, Ripleys Believe It or Not and Sea World discount as do athletic gyms, cell phone suppliers, hair salons, and auto repair shops. Just be sure to ask before a purchase.

Just because it isn’t mentioned in this article, doesn’t mean there isn’t a discount to be had. Ask.

The key is to search out the places that give you the best deal and trade with them. If it means that you need to go grocery shopping in the middle of the week rather than your customary weekend trip, simply rearrange your schedule

You can see that the savvy senior, with sufficient planning, can increase his money, because a penny saved really is a penny earned or as the moderns put it: “Decreasing your outgo is increasing your income.”


Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .