I recently turned 60 and I suppose like many of us reflected as to where all the time had gone – Time really does go faster the older you get!
I sort of do know where the time goes as I am still fully engaged in full-time work, my wife works 3 days a week and as part of the so called ‘’sandwich crew’’ we spend most of our down time enjoying and helping out with members of our pretty large family at both ends of the age spectrum.
Music runs through my family’s genes and our less senior members of the family who arrange the mandatory outings to concerts and yes, festivals, certainly do keep us current……and out of pocket! We have been much entertained and our lives enriched over the last year at some memorable concerts from Parcels to Foals to Jungle to Bonobo to Toots and the Maytals with the virtuosos of GoGo Penguin at the Albert Hall bringing me to tears!
The trouble is this is all becoming more and more expensive so now that I have reached the beginning of another more ‘’senior’’ decade, I have been looking out for ways to save some money. Sadly, I have not been able to find any discounts for glamping at Glastonbury nor Elton John’s farewell concerts! Less enjoying yourself, I hear you say…… and you’re probably right.
If you live in a London borough, free bus and tube travel arrives on your 60th birthday – alas I do not qualify but as some may be aware the Senior Railcard is available to all over-60s and for regular rail users this is a snip at just £70 for a 3 year card that gives a third off most rail fares. The 60+ Oyster Card also offers big discounts and the two can be linked.
But cheaper rail fares can also be accessed outside the UK with discounts available in most European countries too – Michael Portillo will be pleased – Senior railcards can be purchased (around 60Euros) on the French SNCF/TGV/TER and Spanish RENFE train networks as well as InterRail with up to 25% discount available on train travel throughout most European countries. The website, Trainline, also allows you to book rail and bus tickets throughout Europe and seeks out the best fares for over 60s.
There are many shopping discount cards and online voucher schemes around although these can be confusing and in some cases poor value – Topcashback.com seems to be very popular. However, there are some discounts that are worthwhile exploring such as Boots Advantage card, Wyevale Garden Club, Abakhan Crafts, ATS Euromaster Club 60 and Boots and Specsavers for good discounts on eye tests and glasses.
Entertainment and Dining Out can also become a little less expensive with cheaper cinema tickets available from most movie outlets – Try Everyman & Picturehouse cinemas or BFI Southbank for some interesting screenings. Many theatres also run over 60 clubs and both the Royal Shakespeare Company and certain productions at the National Theatre offer worthwhile discounts. You can enjoy a concessionary tour of the Royal Albert Hall followed by afternoon tea in the Hall’s Verdi restaurant.
For over 65s English Heritage offer discounts to over 400 historic places of interest throughout the UK and the National Trust offer a conditional discount for over 60s membership if you have had a membership for 5 of the last 10 years. For perhaps a more thrilling and stomach churning experience you can get a 50% entrance reduction to Alton Towers.
Significant discounts are also available for many overseas sites and attractions and it is worth checking out the local tourist offices for details. ‘’When in Rome’’ for example, entrance is free for the over 65s to almost all the museums and monuments
Discounted dining is fairly widespread with many schemes, restaurants and pubs offering cheaper dining throughout the UK. Offers are also available through a number of websites including The Gourmet Society, Taste Card, Hungry Horse and Dobbies Garden Centre lunch clubs.
Finally, deals on Health and Wellbeing are hard to come by with the premiums for private medical and travel insurances tending to escalate way above inflation from year to year. In some cases, a saving may be made by electing for a higher excess or by some means of self insurance but it is always essential to check the terms and conditions when entering into any such arrangement.
Discounts are available in some Sports Centres – check with your local authority – and DW Fitness Clubs, Better Health & Fitness and the Ramblers Association all offer discount schemes. Or something a little different why not try Tai Chi. The Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain offers discounted membership rates for the over 60s including unlimited classes.
On a bit of a tangent, don’t forget that most fire services provide a free home fire risk assessment including free smoke alarms for over 60 households – well worth checking out with your local authority or fire station.
Finally, it would be great if we could spread the word of any worthwhile and interesting discounts that you know about – please send a brief email and details to email@example.com and we will aim to feature these in our monthly newsletter.