9 Reasons It’s Good to Get Older

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I’ve been told that with age comes wisdom. But I’m learning that it comes with other benefits as well. I recently celebrated my birthday, and along with a wide range of birthday freebies, I started to take advantage of a wonderful benefit of the aging process: special prices and options.

Banking

Seniors often qualify for no-fee checking and savings accounts. Check with your bank.

Drugstores

Walgreens has monthly Senior Discount Days for those 55 and over. They offer 20 percent off all Walgreens, W Brand, and Nice! products and 15 percent off everything else. On top of these savings, I also use manufacturer coupons, Walgreens coupons, and collect reward points to boot.

Department stores

Kohl’s offers a 15 percent discount every Wednesday for shoppers 62 and over. The discount applies to all sale, regular, and clearance-priced merchandise, but isn’t valid for price adjustments on prior purchases, gift card purchases, online purchases, or payment on a Kohl’s Charge account.

Entertainment

No need to cut entertainment out of your budget with so many businesses vying for the “seasoned citizen’s” dollar. Many movies, museums, and restaurants include special offers for seniors. On a recent trip to the movies, I not only enjoyed the senior discount on the admission price, but I also took advantage of the “senior special” – a small popcorn and small drink for a reduced price.

Education

Many state schools offer free tuition, free class audits, or senior discounts. In some cases, senior scholarships are also available.

Legal services

Legal Services programs offer free legal help to low-income and elderly residents for noncriminal matters. In my state, Legal Services helps seniors age 60 or older, regardless of income. To see the services you have available, use this directory to find an office near you.

Local resources

Councils on Aging – also known as senior centers – are local organizations that provide social, recreational, health, safety, and educational programs for seniors. Although my 92-year-old mother refuses to utilize her local senior center because it’s filled with “old people,” I enjoy many free and/or low-cost programs and activities. It is certainly worth a look. Just do a search for (Your City) + “Senior Center” or “Council on Aging.”

Vocational schools

I recently turned a midweek vacation day into a low-cost “me day” by taking advantage of the senior discounts offered at the local vocational school – Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, Mass. For a mere $20, I received a facial, a hot paraffin hand wax treatment, a scalp massage, and manicure. The prices are reasonable, and the students are knowledgeable and pleasant. Everything is done under the direct supervision and guidance of instructors. You could pay much more elsewhere, but why would you?

After my pampering, I walked down the hall to the Epicurean Room, a student-run restaurant where I was treated to an all-you-can-eat array of wonderful food choices – beverage and desserts included – for only $8. This also included a carving station, soup, salad, and sides.

Additionally, the school puts on a play every year and offers free admission to seniors during the dress rehearsal.

Tax breaks

Not all discounts are small change. Check out the laws in your area to see if you qualify for a reduction on your taxes.

In Massachusetts, the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is for residents over the age of 65 whose property taxes exceed 10 percent of their yearly income (including sewer and water bills). To qualify for this credit, residents must live in Massachusetts full-time and earn less than $51,000 for single people and $77,000 for married couples who file jointly. The assessed home value cannot exceed $788,000. For tax year 2012, the maximum credit is $1,000. If the credit is greater than the amount of income taxes owed, the state will issue a refund for the difference.

Also, the community I live in offers yet another tax break for senior homeowners. The Senior Work Off Program offers homeowners age 60 and up the opportunity to be eligible to “work off” a portion of their tax bill by taking a job offered by the city. The pay is $8.00 an hour for up to 93 hours over the course of a year for a discount of up to $744 off property taxes. This program is offered in almost every town in Massachusetts.

Call your local tax assessor to see what’s available where you live.

Growing older has its benefits. Enjoy them. If a business does not have a policy that is clearly visible, don’t be afraid to ask. Many do!

For more senior discounts, do a search or check out – what else – seniordiscounts.com.

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