Discount Dates For Senior Singles

The older you get, the cheaper dates can be — provided you know where to look. Here are seven discounts that'll you help single, savvy seniors on a budget maximize your dating dollars.

By Theo Pauline Nestor

hat's the fastest growing demographic on Folks 50 and over. More than ever before, older people are returning to the dating market after the loss of a partner or a long period of being single. And while 60 might be the new 50 as more seniors are dedicating themselves to healthy lifestyles, discounts for older daters can start as early as
There are many ways that seniors can get a break on the bill when dining out.
your 50th birthday. Eligibility for membership with the American Association for Retired People (AARP) begins at age 50, and many retail, entertainment, and dining establishments extend senior discounts to patrons as young as 50 or 55. Savvy senior daters can take advantage of these numerous discounts and get more mileage out of their dating dollars. Here are some great ideas for discount dates…

Discounted date #1: Go to a museum
Joan Price, author of Naked at Our Age: Better Than I Ever Expected and advocate for ageless sexuality, emphasizes the importance for seniors to mix things up and add new experiences into their dating lives. "We often get into a rut. We stick to people we know. Sometimes we don't go out much," Price says. She advocates that seniors "commit to doing two new things every month."

Going to a local history or art museum that offers senior discounts might just be the ticket to a new experience that can spark a lively discussion between you and your date. Check out local museum websites for information on discounts. Most museums offer lower rates specifically for seniors, and many offer a free day each month — a deal that retired daters with flexible schedules can take advantage of fairly easily.

Discounted date #2: Grab a dining deal for dinner
There are many ways that seniors can get a break on the bill when dining out. Many restaurants offer menu options specifically for seniors and advertise senior discount deals. "Early-bird dinner options that tend to appeal to older diners are another great way to save a little cash," suggests Andrew Schrage, co-owner of the Money Crashers Personal Finance blog. "To save money, you can also investigate any and all Internet-based discount options. This can include Groupon, LivingSocial and other 'daily deal' websites. They offer discounts of up to 50 percent off local entertainment and dining options."

Additionally, AARP members receive discounts of 10-20 percent at dozens of national chain restaurants, such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper restaurants, The Rainforest Café, Denny's, and Saltgrass Steak House. AARP also offers its members the chance to buy $25 gift certificates from a database of 18,000 participating restaurants for as little as five dollars through Members simply print the coupons at home and present them to their server.

Want another idea for getting a discounted meal? "Just ask," suggests Price. "Just because there isn't any stated discount, it doesn't mean there isn't one," she explains. "There's nothing wrong with asking, 'Do you have a senior discount?'"

Discounted date #3: Meet up over a cup of Joe
Many cafés and fast food chains (such as McDonald's) offer discounted coffee prices for seniors. After all, a quick cup of coffee is a great first date at any age!

Discounted date #4: Catch a film
Seniors can get great deals on movie tickets in a variety of ways. Many nationwide movie theatre chains offer a
Seniors can get great deals on movie tickets in a variety of ways.
standard discount to seniors, along with ongoing specials. The AMC theatre chain, for example, is currently offering a senior discount to folks who are 60 and over on Tuesdays. AARP members can take advantage of membership specials, too — such as the current deal available at over 530 Regal Entertainment Group cinema outlets that offer members a 49 percent discount when purchasing their popcorn and soda together as a bundle.

Many seniors that happen to be retired (or semi-retired) can take advantage of the discounted matinee prices offered earlier during the day. Matinee rates vary by location, but most offer a discount on either the first showing of the day or all daytime showings.

Discounted date #5: Learn something new
Many universities offer their regular college courses and lifelong learning programs at reduced (or even free) tuition rates to seniors. Elderhostel's Road Scholar program offers reasonably priced "learning adventures" that take older people on education-based trips around the country — and the world. Couples can participate together in the Road Scholar program, but it's also conscious of the needs of participating singles. The program's website states: "Road Scholar programs are renowned for being inclusive, warm and welcoming for single participants."

Wende Gray, host of the Bethel Inn Winter Resort Road Scholar program in Maine, says that she sees older couples enjoying themselves and new couples meeting up during their stay. There, participants ranging in age from 56 to 92 take part in downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as indoor activities, such as photography and cooking classes. Gray says that some recent guests included "a widow, age 75, and her date, age 80, who had met last summer on the tennis courts in Rhode Island. He loves to ski and had attended programs at the Bethel Inn in the past, and this year, she accompanied him."

Discounted date #6: Book a budget-friendly trip
Seniors can enjoy discounts on every aspect of travel — including car rentals, train tickets, airfare, cruises and hotel stays. AARP members receive a 5 to 25 percent discount on the fees at major car rental outlets (such as Enterprise and Alamo) and can save an additional 10 to 20 percent while staying at leading hotel chains, such as Travelodge and Best Western. Members can book discounted travel deals directly through the AARP website by using its Expedia-linked search engine. Once you're on your trip, be sure to take advantage of discounts at local attractions, museums and events by checking each outlet's website for any breaks listed on senior ticket prices before your arrival.

Discounted date #7: Socialize while you exercise
Price suggests that instead of meeting for coffee, seniors can save money by making their first date together an active one. "I would challenge people to meet for a walk in the park for a first date. Go out for a Saturday afternoon to a park. Even if it doesn't work out, you'll have gotten your exercise in. It's still a finite date — like coffee — but it's also a free one." And besides her suggestions for discount dating, Price also has advice for seniors to lighten up in their approach to first dates: "We think we are auditioning for a soul mate," Price says. "But we're really just auditioning for a second date."

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of How to Sleep Alone in King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over and a regular contributor to Happen magazine.
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