May 022009

The good thing about being an old fart is that I now get a senior citizen discount just about every time I go to a fast food restaurant. The kids working behind the counter don’t even ask my age any more, they just knock a few cents off my bill.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It bruises my ego just a tiny bit when some cute little thing thinks I’m old enough to be her Grandpa, but then I remember that I am old enough to be her Grandpa! Or at least the dirty old man who lives next door. On the other hand, my budget sure does appreciate the savings, and I’ve reached that age where I can use the money more than I can use the fantasies of young women (but over age 18, I’m not a complete pervert!) falling in love with me for my vast experience and maturity.

I’m all for saving money wherever and whenever I can. And yesterday longtime reader Peter Genereaux gave me a tip that can really save some bucks. If you are a veteran and use Verizon telephone service, if you take your DD 214 (discharge) to any Verizon company store (not a franchise store), and ask for discount code #117818, you will get a 15% discount off your Verizon bill, before taxes. We have two Verizon cell phones and a Verizon air card, so that will save me about $20 a month, which is nothing to sneeze at. Heck, I could take that $20 to a fast food restaurant, and get yet another discount there! Where does it end?

There are discounts everywhere you look, if you just keep your eyes and ears open. Most national chain restaurants offer senior discounts, just do a Google search and you’ll be amazed at how many places want to save you money!

Most RVers know that they can get a 1 cent per gallon discount on diesel, gasoline, and propane at Flying J truck stops with their free RV RealValue Club.

If you are age 62 or over, for $10 the National Parks Service will issue you a National Parks Senior Pass, which will admit the cardholder and up to three others in a non-commercial vehicle free into Federal recreation sites that charge a fee, and 50% off Expanded Amenity Fees, such as camping and boat rental. The discount does not apply to services offered by private contractors. The pass is good for life, and is a great way to save money.

Handicapped citizens can get a free National Access Pass with the same benefits as the Senior Pass, and you do not have to be 100% disabled to qualify. Anyone with a permanent disability, who can prove it with documentation (a letter from a physician, or documentation from the Veterans Administration or Social Security) qualifies for the pass.

Discounts also extend to Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds and National Historic sites, with some National Pass cards. Some states also extend discounts to holders of National Access and National Senior cards at their state parks.

As fulltimers, we have stayed in a lot of casino parking lots across the country. We always sign up for their Players Club type cards, because they usually come with discounts for their restaurants, and while we’re not big gamblers, we do like to eat! Many offer two-for-one buffets for first time visitors. A good guide to RV friendly casinos is the Casino Camper website.

Never hesitate to ask what kind of a discount a business can offer. When we were building our bus conversion, we were shopping for a house style refrigerator. Miss Terry found a nice Maytag unit she wanted, and noticed that the floor model had a small scratch on the side. She asked for the store’s manager, and told him she wanted a discount. By the time she got done negotiating with him, she bought a $700+ dollar refrigerator for only $400!

Like my old Aunt Peggy used to say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”

Thought For The Day – Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your children.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  10 Responses to “Discounts To Save You Money”

  1. has a free newsletter that highlights various discounts for the gray-haired crowd. They also have a $15 book that you can buy (from them, or from Amazon) that lists a lot of nationwide and regional discounts for us “experienced” folks.

  2. Nick,

    Thanks for the Verizon tip. We will be going to their store today to make our claim for that discount. I have found that most fast food places like Wendy’s, McD’s, Taco Bell etc. you usually have to ask for the discount and not all give it. It think it is up to management. Some Taco Bell’s offer a senior discount but others do not. Anyway, we usually ask. We also eat out quite a bit and try to make it in time for the lunch specials which are always cheaper that at night. We love the meat and threes! I knew if I kept reading your blog I’d find something I could use – LOL (just kidding).

    Janice & Dean Schultz

  3. If you are a member of AARP, there are lots of major discounts available, and you don’t even have be a very old “old fart” to qualify. Nobody really even knows any more what the letters “AARP” even stand for. My membership card simply says AARP. Their monthly magazine, “AARP The Magazine,” doesn’t even tell us! Maybe it’s “Aging Activists Really Provoke” or something like that! At any rate, there are some nice discounts.

  4. Thanks Nick,

  5. Thanks Nick, fot the verizon tip. How about sharing what states you know of that honor the federal passes, besides Louisiana. You may have started something here. Thanks again, love your blog.

  6. As I understand it, Maryland State Parks honor them for free access, and give 1/2 price camping Sunday-Thursday. The Florida State Parks website says they honor them with a 50% discount at parks not oeprated by a concessionaire.

    I have also been told that Arkansas State Parks honor them, though I have not stayed in one personally. I have also read on the web that some South Carolin State Parks honor them, but not all.

    Curently we are staying at a city owned campground in Show Low, Arizona operated by Recreation Resource Management of America, and we got a 50% discount with my Golden Access card. We have also used the card for a discount at BLM, NPS, FS, and Corps of Engineers facilities.

    Just ask, you never know. Even if it is not officual policy, sometimes they will give you a discount.

  7. Nick

    I owe you great meal someday for the tip regarding the National Access Pass. A couple of years ago I read your comment regarding the pas and your knowledge regarding the pass requirements. I have a lifetime disability rating from VA not 100% which in fact qualified for the pass. I wrote down the amount saved on a three month trip out west which was $360.00. This was for entry and camping at National Parks and historic sites. I would not kn own this if I had not been reading your daily blogs. I also discovered the VA disability qualified for a free State of Oregon pass which was similar to the Federal pass. I simply sent Oregon officials a comp of my VA ID card which clearly states, “Service Connected” regarding the disability. Like you, this was from my extended camping experience in Vietnam.

    I hope this info helps other service rated vets.


  8. What a timely subject. We just completed our twice yearly trip between California & Montana, visiting relatives on the way. We noticed Oklahoma State Parks honor the national parks pass, but here in Montana they do not. From Oklahoma to Three Forks, MT (between Bozeman & Butte off I 90) we spent a total of $43 for 8 nights camping. We spent 3 nights in our friends’ driveway in MO (you all have RV friends somewhere!), then to Sloan, IA where we stayed at the Winna Vegas Casino for $7, w&e. In Mitchell, SD & Rapid City, SD, we spent the night in the Cabela’s parking lots (they have rv parking & a dump), we would have spent the night in the Cabela’s in Billings, MT but they don’t open til May 15 (new store). We had to pay $36 for a just ok park in Billings, visiting a niece in college. We couldn’t get over the Bozeman pass the next day due to snow so we stayed in Riverside City Park in Laurel. They actually weren’t open for the season and no place to pay (usually $10 or $15). That’s the cheapest we’ve ever traveled and it was great.

  9. Nick, nice tip for cutting 15% off the Verizon bill through that code for veterans. I thought I’d mention there are also ways to use the internet to cut your cell bill and achieve similar savings. In particular, there’s one great new blog called that constantly tracks new ways to cut wireless costs and exposes shady billing practices utilized by the cell phone companies. Also, check out the consumer advocacy website where I (admittedly) work,, that slashes the average cell bill by 22 percent. Through the site, we have currently audited over 26,000 cell lines and have saved consumers nearly $5 million off their wireless bills. You can see in the national news media, most recently on Good Morning America at

    Good luck to everyone reading on cutting expenses in the recession.


  10. I am a former ALLTel Customer. Verizon bought ALLTel. I went in and asked for my Vets Discount. They said NO.. Former ALLTel Customers are Not Entitled to it.!
    How do you like that for discrimination???

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