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6 ways to score senior discounts

February 23, 2015

WASHINGTON (2/24/15)--Aging has its perks, in the form of some outstanding discounts. For example, the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands senior pass costs $10 and gives adults age 62 and older lifetime access to 2,000 parks and recreation areas.

But senior rates aren't always as good as discounts available to the general public (Kiplinger Feb. 12). Here are six categories worth checking out.

Tourist attractions. Before you take the senior rate, compare it with discounts you might receive from online sources. For example, CityPASS offers as much as 50% off the combined prices of admission to popular attractions in 11 major North American destinations. You occasionally can find better deals by visiting Groupon and LivingSocial.

Checking accounts. Read the fine print. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts study of checking accounts offered at large financial institutions, seniors must maintain a high balance to get a better deal than what is offered for a basic account.

Hotels. Compare hotel chain, AARP, and other senior discounts with what you might get through discount travel websites and apps such as Hotels, Expedia, and EveryLodge.

Phone plans. You might meet the age criteria for a plan offered by your wireless carrier, but first compare the offer with those available to everyone, taking into consideration your actual usage. For example, a senior discount might include 200 minutes talk time and charge extra for text messaging and a data plan, whereas a plan that costs less and is available to everyone offers unlimited talk and text plus two gigabytes of data.

Rental cars. Your AARP discount can help you pay up to 25% less for Avis and Budget car rentals, but first check the deals you can get through an online deal aggregator such as Hotwire, which can be 21% to 31% lower than the discounted rates offered through Avis and Budget.

Double up. Consider pairing discounts with discount gift cards. Visit websites such as CardCash, Cardpool, GiftCards, GiftCardGranny, and Raise to purchase gift cards you can use to pay for goods and services at discounted rates, for example in movie theaters and restaurants.

For related information, read "Shop and Save in Every Season" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

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Power Over Debt online course for members