How to save money when you’re 60-plus

Claim deals in restaurants and pubs, in cinemas and theatres and when travelling by train or coach

Eating out and entertainment

The soaring cost of living makes it more important than ever to ensure your money stretches as far as possible.

Fortunately, if you are 60-plus, you can benefit from a wide range of deals and discounts and save plenty of cash.

Some pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres offer discounts to people over 60, particularly during weekdays when people are at work.

Check with your local pub, as they often offer discounted lunches on certain days of the week. Some Greene King pubs offer seniors loyalty schemes, providing a 50% discount off every fourth meal, and seniors menus every day, with one or perhaps two courses for £4.49.

The Odeon cinema chain offers reduced tickets for over-60s through its Silver Cinema initiative, with tickets from £3.50, and tea, coffee and biscuits served before the film.

Similarly, Empire’s Seniors scheme for over-60s offers tickets for £3.75 every Wednesday, with tea or coffee again included.

Turning to theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company offers discounted tickets to the over-65s on selected performances, with a 20% discount available on all seats for Monday and Tuesday evening performances and all midweek matinees.

The over-60s can save on midweek matinees at London’s National Theatre, with £66 seats reduced to £46 and £56 seats reduced to £36 in its two biggest venues.

Gardens, museums and attractions

The National Trust’s senior membership offers over-60s who have been a member of the organisation for at least five out of the last 10 years a 25% discount off adult rates. It is £57.60 for individual senior membership, or £95.40 for joint senior membership.

English Heritage offers reduced-price senior membership for people over 65, at £59 a year compared with £66 (or £92 a year for joint membership if you are both over 65). This gives you access to more than 400 historic sites, free entry for up to six children, and free or reduced entry to events.

You can buy a discounted lifetime membership for the Royal Horticultural Society if you are over 60. It’s certainly not cheap but the discount is substantial: £935 compared with £1,495.

Other sites that offer discounts to the over-60s include Longleat safari park, house and gardens and Beamish open air museum.

The National Trust-owned Ickworth House and gardens in Suffolk.
The National Trust-owned Ickworth House and gardens in Suffolk. Photograph: Chris Dorney/Alamy

Energy and bills

Most people born before 25 September 1956 are entitled to a winter fuel payment of between £250 and £600 to help pay their heating bills. The amount includes a one-off “pensioner cost of living payment” this winter of between £150 and £300. You should receive this automatically by 13 January 2023 if you get the state pension, but if you don’t, you may need to make a claim.

A blue flame emits from a gas cooker.
You may be entitled to a free gas safety check from your energy supplier or local authority if you are over 60. Photograph: Norrie3699/Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you receive certain benefits such as pension credit, you can also claim the cold weather payment. This is worth £25 for every seven-day period of “very cold weather” between 1 November and 31 March. The money should be paid into your bank account automatically but if you don’t receive it, contact your pension centre or jobcentre to claim.

Check whether you are entitled to a free gas safety check from your energy supplier or local authority if you are over 60. Remember that if you are struggling to pay your bills, your provider should do whatever it can to help elderly or vulnerable people. This could include free or discounted home insulation or boiler installation, or an energy grant if you are in debt, for example.

Shopping

As the cost of food rockets, you will want to do what you can to save on your grocery shop.

The supermarket chain Iceland offers those aged 60-plus a 10% discount in-store every Tuesday, with no minimum spend. You will need to show proof of age to claim your discount.

Many retailers also offer loyalty scheme bonuses for this age group. For example, if you are 60 or over and have a Boots Advantage card, you can earn eight points (compared with four) for every £1 spent on Boots-branded products. You can also receive 20% off glasses at Boots Opticians.

Maltese dog
The charity Dogs Trust offers half-price membership for the over-60s. Photograph: Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Meanwhile, Specsavers offers 20% off glasses in its £69 range or above for the over-60s.

You can also get free NHS prescriptions if you are over 60, provided you complete the back of the prescription form, and you may be asked for proof of age.

Home and pets

Rest Less, the digital community for those in their 50s, 60s and beyond, offers a wide range of discounts to its members. These include 50% off a year’s membership with TrustedHousesitters (usually £99 for the basic package), a website that matches homeowners with pet sitters.

The charity Dogs Trust offers half-price membership for the over-60s (£12.50 a year instead of £25). Membership gives you 24-hour access to a phone line for advice from qualified vets, and third-party insurance if your dog causes damage or injury to another person, their property or pets.

If you are on a low income and over 60, you may be able to use charity Age UK’s “handyperson” scheme. This gives you access to free or discounted repairs and other services.

Travel

If you have reached state pension age, which is now 66 for both men and women, you are entitled to free off-peak travel on local buses in England. Check the government website to see if you qualify and to apply for an older person’s bus pass. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you are entitled to a free bus pass when you reach 60.

If you travel by train, you can apply for a senior railcard once you turn 60. This costs £30 for a year or £70 for three years, and entitles you to third off standard or first-class fares.

Abigail Yearley, a spokesperson for the website TopCashback, says: “On top of this, there are some great offers to help save on the railcard itself, as we’re currently offering up to 31% in cashback to new customers of Trainline, meaning a three-year senior railcard would cost you just under £50.”

A train on the viaduct over the River Tamar that links Devon and Cornwall
You can apply for a senior railcard once you turn 60. Photograph: Marc Hill/Alamy

If you are over 60, not yet eligible for a Freedom Pass and live in London, the 60+ Oyster pass allows free travel on buses, tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in the capital. Meanwhile, the older person’s Freedom Pass gives you free travel across London and free local bus journeys nationally. You must meet the age criteria, which you can check on the website. The eligibility age is rising in line with the women’s state pension age.

If you travel by coach, you can get a National Express senior coachcard for £15 a year (£12.50 plus £2.50 p&p) to save a third off standard and fully flexible fares.

Harriet Meyer

The GuardianTramp

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