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As a senior or a senior caregiver, you’re likely already aware of senior discounts, or special discounts offered by companies and organizations to senior citizens – in fact, it’s likely that you already utilize many discount programs to save money on a variety of goods and services. There’s nothing inherently dishonest or misleading about senior discounts, as most companies and organizations offer them as both a civic gesture and as an opportunity to attract new or repeat business. It’s important to incorporate these discounts as part of a larger budget, rather than base your budget around discounts or even freely spend on discounted goods and service with no budget in place. In addition to explaining how to successfully incorporate discounts into your existing budget, we will also cover how to properly ask for a senior discount when one is not publicly advertised.

Incorporating Discounts into Your Budget

As we mentioned earlier, there is nothing inherently dishonest or misleading about a discount – in fact, discounts may be the most basic and straightforward method of marketing goods or a service. However, simply relying on discounts as a way to save or manage your income can be self-defeating, especially for seniors living on a fixed income. While a discounted product or service may be cheaper than one that is normally priced, relying on discounts does not prevent you from overspending or frivolously spending.

When establishing a monthly budget, compile a list of goods and services that are necessary and a “wish list” of goods and services that are desirable but essentially frivolous. Once you’ve established these two lists, incorporate senior discounts into your budget and calculate how must is left over each month for your “wish list” – with a bit of smart budgeting and luck, the discounts that are available to you should result in a larger budget for the goods and services you want!

Avoiding Senior Scams That Incorporate “Discounts”

While legitimate senior discounts that are provided through normal business channels are essentially a “win-win,” be wary of unscrupulous deals that supposedly incorporate a “senior discount,” as such deals may turn out to be a poor deal or even outright scams. Unfortunately, many scammers will take advantage of seniors’ desire to be frugal and economical, promising a great deal that’s only available to seniors when, in fact, the “discounted” deal is anything but.

In addition to being wary of all unsolicited offers and “deals” that may be offered over the phone or online, it’s important to remember that the presence of a discount doesn’t necessarily mean that the good or service wasn’t already overpriced. Smart shopping and budgeting still requires a bit of research to ensure that you’re receiving a good deal. When considering whether or not a discounted product or service is a good deal, it’s smart to determine whether or not consumers are purchasing the good or service at the regular price. For instance, it’s easy to tell if a senior discount on a movie ticket is a good deal, as a movie theater will clearly advertise the standard ticket price; however, a “discounted” cruise vacation or lawn care service may not have the standard price clearly advertised, requiring you to do additional research to determine whether or not the discounted price of is a good deal.

Requesting Unpublished Discounts

If goods or services that you wish to purchase doesn’t have an advertised senior discount, don’t fret. It’s a poorly-guarded secret among retailers, restaurants and other businesses and organizations that managers have the authority to offer discounts, usually up to 15%, off the goods and services they sell, and there’s nothing wrong or rude about inquiring into the possibility of having a discount based on your senior status.

Where Do I Begin?

To begin, politely ask to speak to a manager if the front-line employee does not have the authority to offer a discount. Always remember that a business or organization is not required to offer an unlisted discount, so remain polite even if you are rebuffed. Advise the manager of your physical proximity to their business and your frequency as a customer, as both may influence their decision to extend a discount. Finally, offer to complete a survey, if one is available, as many retailers and other businesses rely on customer feedback and will exchange a discount in return for a completed survey that is honest and impartial. But don’t turn your offer into asking for a discount in return for a good review or threatening to leave a bad review if a discount is not extended – the former is unethical, while the latter can have legal ramifications if the bad review contains information that is knowingly false or misleading.