NEW YORK (
) -- One of the best parts of being retired is leveraging all the discounts that restaurants, travel groups and amusement parks have to offer. Unfortunately, the economic downturn has threatened a lot of these senior perks.
"Some companies are doing away with their discounts because they are finding they can't afford to have them anymore," Erin Huffstetler,
, tells MainStreet. Many fast-food restaurants, she explains, are shying away from offering seniors cheaper eats, though "other places are starting to add them because they are trying to bring in business any way they can."
The desire to generate business during off-peak hours has led many companies to start offering deals, so no matter what you're looking to buy, it's always smart to ask if your age can get you a discount.
"A lot of these businesses don't advertise," David Schmidt, president of SeniorDiscounts.com, points out.
Read on to find out what type of non-traditional senior discounts are out there.
1. Motorcycle Insurance
Huffstetler points out that senior motorcycle enthusiasts can get
, so long as they have a safe driving record and at least a year of riding experience. Those with less than stellar driving records may be able to net 10% off their policy if they take an AARP-approved motorcycle safety course. And if your retired spouse has his or her own hog, you could get up to 35% off a multiple bike policy.
2. Belly-Dancing Lessons
Cooking lessons have long been
a popular retirement hobby
, as local community centers are known to offer discounted or even free culinary classes from time to time. Now Huffstetler says that many of these discounted classes are starting to get more exotic. "Belly-dancing lessons are starting to be offered with senior discounts," she says. "Instructors are looking to bring in people during the week when everyone else is at work."
We found discount belly-dancing classes
, but Huffstetler suggests that those who are interested in taking a discount class in their area call up their local community or senior center to see what lessons are being offered.
3. Wedding Planners
Schmidt has noticed more wedding and/or event planners are looking to advertise discounts to senior couples on his website. Perhaps it's because senior weddings tend to be smaller and require a lot less planning.
"Typically, they offer the standard 10% discount," he says.
4. Thrift Stores
Thrift stores are already known for affordable prices, but according to Huffstetler, seniors who like to shop secondhand can save even more on these items.
"Both Goodwill and the Salvation Army have been known to give senior discounts," she says, adding that discounts tend to vary by date and location. For example,
gave seniors 62 and over 20% off in April while
gives 20% off to those ages 55 and up every Wednesday.
"The discount can be anywhere from 10%-50%," Huffstetler says.
More from MainStreet
11 Great Restaurant Deals for Seniors
5. Liquor Stores
Local liquor stores are also embracing the senior discount. A store in Wichita, Kan.,
one in Minnesota
offers 10% off to seniors looking to get soused Monday through Thursday.
Again, discounts vary by location, but Huffstetler says 10% is pretty much the going standard.
6. Skydiving Lessons
As MainStreet has reported,
skydiving is a growing trend among seniors
, thanks in part to George H.W. Bush taking a celebratory leap on his 85th birthday.
Many local companies give discounts to senior daredevils. Skydive Greensburg in Indianapolis, for instance, has had specials where
seniors 65 and over can jump for $99
, a great deal since Skydive's tandem jump normally costs $269.
, meanwhile, offers a $20 discount to seniors who buy a video package with their dive, and
in Ohio also advertises senior discounts on its website, though it doesn't specify how much you'll save.
If you've got a termite problem, you'll be happy to know that you won't have to pay full price to deal with it.
and U.S. Pest Control were just some of the exterminating companies we found that offer a 5%-10% senior discount.
And exterminators aren't the only home maintenance companies offering deals to seniors, either.
"Handymen, plumbers and electricians are all very negotiable about their pricing," Schmidt says. He recommends asking for a deal after you get the initial quote. "Otherwise, they might just inflate the cost and say they are giving you a discount."
-- Written by Jeanine Skowronski of MainStreet.