Sunday, April 11, 2010

Senior Discounts

When I became 55, I was able to take advantage of my local movie theater's offer to let me in for a few dollars less than the general audience. Some of my friends--specifically those who were digging in their heels and screaming "Hold back the dawn!" at the thought of admitting they were getting older--pooh-poohed the idea of announcing "Two seniors for the 7:40 show." Well, all I could determine was that I was getting in cheaper than they were and the high school student who was sitting on the other side of the ticket window could have cared less. The only regret I had was that I was not "carded." And I didn't look 55 (everyone told me so)! I was so honest that I even waited until my 55th birthday had passed before I summoned the courage to request the senior discount--and then the teenager just punched in "senior" and I got my ticket without fanfare. Kind of disappointing....for a moment.

After I turned 65, I began noticing that if I bought at certain stores on Tuesdays I would receive a 10% discount. Well, isn't that nice. Considering markup, it's nothing--but think of it like this: everyone else is paying 10% more. Another grin on my face as I leave the counter.

And then just the other day we planned a visit to Big Santa Anita Canyon, a local hiking spot. I looked it up on the Internet to get an idea of what we'd be in for. We are not hikers, so we were attracted to this place because it was described as "easy, for beginners," and we will eternally be beginners in the hiking world. By the way, we ended up going there and it is quite beautiful with a picturesque 50-ft water fall two miles in. In order to park in the lot at the gate we had to purchase a day pass and hang it on the rearview mirror. Following the link for the National Forest Service, which offered information about where we could purchase this pass, I discovered there is a Senior Lifetime Pass available for anyone 62 years and older for $10. This is a pretty good deal, since the ordinary person/car must spend $5 for a day pass or $80 for an annual pass. If the ordinary person is permanently disabled there is a free lifetime pass after you can prove it to the National Parks office in person. Anyway, back to the Senior Lifetime Pass--you need to go to the local office in person and show your I.D. ( --the link also tells you the locations near you where you can buy the pass) Only one pass is necessary per car in most places but this pass will cover a total of four adults in the car if the particular park is charging per person. Now, I can count on one hand the number of national parks I have visited in my lifetime; however, this parking pass is not just for national parks, but for all federal parks in the entire country as well. So the next time we go for a stroll in a federally-owned recreational area (there are quite a few around us) all we have to do is hang this pass on the rearview mirror and we are covered. The irony is, according to the girl who sold us the pass, not very many people take advantage of this. It's ironic because now more than ever there is an abundance of 62+ people out there who go to these parks and just pay for the day pass--over and over again (nobody will put a gun to your head at the park office to make you get the Senior Pass).

Keep on looking for these senior discounts and enjoy them!

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