Discounts for senior citizens are fairly common but unfortunately rarely advertised. I had to do some major digging to get details for this column. Often the information wasn’t listed online or posted in shops, so what’s the average consumer supposed to do? I recommend you ask — ask everywhere you do business.
Part of the reason some businesses don’t widely post their discounts or offers for seniors is that they change often or vary by location. Restaurants are the best example of this. Many chain restaurants, both fast food and casual dining, offer a percentage off or free beverages to senior diners, but the deal often depends on the management.
For example, the Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins location on Franklin Road in Roanoke offers seniors a 10 percent discount, but other locations, such as Dunkin’ Donuts retailers within WilcoHess gas stations, may not honor the same promotion.
The same is true for Hallmark stores. Locally, Jaclyn’s Hallmark stores offer a 10 percent discount on Tuesdays, but some other shops in the area offer none.
Some restaurants may also have a special menu for seniors. IHOP and Denny’s have a menu for diners age 55 and older that includes a limited number of discounted items.
Retailers generally offer special discounts on a certain day. Belk offers seniors a discount on the first Tuesday of each month. The discount is usually 15 percent, but can vary.
Retail locations that offer weekly deals include C.J. Banks (10 percent off on Wednesdays), Hamrick’s (10 percent off on Tuesdays), Ross (10 percent off on Tuesdays) and Kohl’s (15 percent off on Wednesdays).
By stacking coupons, sale prices and a senior discount, it’s possible to save a bundle on groceries. Local retailer Eats Natural Foods in Blacksburg offers senior shoppers a 15 percent discount. Each Tuesday, Kroger locations offer seniors a 5 percent discount on their total shopping bill.
It’s not necessary to be a member of AARP or AAA to save on travel costs as a senior. Most chain hotels offer discounts to seniors that range from 10 percent to 30 percent. These rates change often and can vary by location. Greyhound offers senior travelers a 5 percent discount on bus fare as well.
If you’re traveling to U.S. national parks, seniors can pick up a lifetime pass for only $10 — a huge discount compared to the $80 annual pass available to the general public. Staying in your own back yard? You can get a variety of discounted passes for Virginia state parks, too.
Movie tickets round out the collection of savings.
Valley View Grande 16 offers senior tickets for $8.50 all day, and Carmike 10 at Tanglewood offers tickets for $7.25 on weekdays or $7.75 on weekends. The prices at other Regal and Carmike theaters in Southwest Virginia, though, may vary.
Locally owned theaters have some promotions, too. The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke and Westlake Cinema in Hardy both offer seniors movie tickets for $7.50 all day. Occasionally, the Buchanan Theatre in Botetourt County has special showings with discounted senior prices.
What other senior discounts have you found around town? Share your favorite deals.