Do you qualify for a senior’s discount? You might be surprised

A yearly transit pass for low-income senior citizens in Calgary is a whopping $15. Thats not a typo. The adult cash fare in Toronto for five trips on the TTC could get you a full year of transit access in Calgary. And if you dont qualify as low income, its still only $95.

I always thought those Grey Power commercials were overstating the anticipation of getting older in order to save money but after doing some digging, I might be changing my mind.

Seniors in British Columbia currently travelmany B.C. Ferries routes for free on most Mondays through Thursdays. Hard to find a better discount than that, but in April, it will be cut in half. Still, 50 per cent off a pricey ferry ride isnt too shabby.

Its conceivable that with the boomers entering their golden years, these deep seniors discounts will be curbed. With so many more people eligible and taking advantage of these savings, some companies could see their bottom lines suffer.

This article was published by the Globe and Mail on March 25th, 2014. To see this article and other related articles on their website, click here.  

Its best to make hay while the sun is shining, and here are some tips to help.

1. You dont have to be 65 to qualify for a seniors discount.

In some cases, the ripe young age of 50 can qualify you as a senior. While you may be decades away from retirement, and it might feel defeatist to search for a senior discounts so soon, your purse will thank you. In an extreme example, by signing up for a membership with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), you can get an annual gym membership to GoodLife for $400 per year (plus tax) as long as you are 45 years or older. My membership was $520 (plus tax) in 2013. The cheapest CARP membership I could find was $14.95 per year.

2. Many companies have a day of the month or week for seniors savings. has a list of fast food restaurants, pharmacies, hotels, big box stores, and more, that offer discounts averaging 10 to 20 per cent on certain days. For example, Shoppers Drug Mart offers 20 per cent off on the last Thursday of every month for those who are 65 and older. According to some readers, the eligible age can be as low as 55, depending on the store, so it never hurts to ask.

3. Always ask about a senior discount.

Speaking of it never hurting to ask about the age eligibility, sometimes the seniors discount policies arent widely advertised at all. I imagine some cashiers may be shy to suggest it for fear of offending customers . Any chance to save money is well worth the two seconds it takes to ask. So whenever you are at a register, get into the habit of asking if there is a seniors discount.

There are many resources available on the web to learn about saving money for seniors. Savings on goods and services you normally spend money on is great, but some discounts are big enough they could help shape your retirement altogether. York University has a waiver for academic fees for certain courses for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are 60 or older. Although it is considered a taxable benefit and there are other fees associated with taking courses at universities, personally I would love to return to school in my golden years at a price like that.

© The Globe and Mail