Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Want to save money, get free stuff? Turn the page

By the time we reach 50, most of us have heard of the discounts on such items as movies, meals and motels for senior citizens. Free Stuff & Good Deals for Folks Over 50, by Linda Bowman, opens the door to more money savers than even the most dedicated bargain hunter can think of.

Whether advertised or not, to get the best deals, Bowman writes, always ask two questions:

• Do you have discounts for seniors?

• What is the lowest available rate?

The book's 239 pages are liberally sprinkled with URLs, mainly for Web sites of national organizations. For instance, under travel, the longest of seven chapters, Bowman writes of AARP discounts in hotel chains such as Best Western, Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn.

Variations to hotel stays that are often cheaper include home exchanges, house sitting, hostels and truck stops, as well as camping. Want to travel for free? Possibilities include becoming a tour escort or arranging a group tour of your own.

Other chapters cover unexpected subjects: freebies from banks, the IRS, and countless publications on retirement planning, Medicare, auto insurance, education, etc.

Another chapter is devoted to sports, fitness and exercise. One nonprofit organization called Volkssporting ( offers noncompetitive events in walking, biking, swimming and cross country skiing. Largo and Inverness have groups in this organization.

Despite much practical information on good deals, Bowman has missed a few:

• The chapter on travel did not mention AAA, which often offers the same discount as the major chains provide to seniors.

• Neither the chapters on Fitness nor Health mentioned Silver Sneakers, an exercise program developed especially for older adults. Yet at least one HMO, Humana, pays all the charges for Silver Sneakers.

Then there's food. What's put on the table has become one of the highest dollar amounts in the budget for the average older adult, but only restaurants are mentioned in the book. Nothing is written about the farmers' markets and pick-it-yourself farms that have joined sales, coupon clipping and bulk purchases as ways to save a buck.

There's even a national volunteer-two-hours-a-month for a frozen meat and fresh produce program that beats Wal-Mart prices. For more information on this, Floridians can click on or call toll-free 1-800-536-3379.

Because the author focuses on the whole country, little here is specific to Florida — and some of what is mentioned is incorrect (Cypress Gardens is in Winter Haven, not Tampa, and Sea Escape Cruise Line left the bay area years ago).

Freelance writer Adele Woodyard lives in Tarpon Springs.

Bay area discounts

For more discount options, check the St. Petersburg Times' Weekend magazine, as well as the tourist-oriented coupon magazines placed in many retail locations and restaurants. These publications typically note or have coupons for free or low-cost attractions such as museums, gardens, etc.

Check the phone book for the nearest senior center, community center or library, for free movies and other events. Many of these are not restricted to those over 50; for example:

• Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tarpon Springs. Free dance and opera videos, 1:30 p.m. Sat. and Sun. respectively.

• Tarpon Springs Community Center shows free movies at 1 p.m. two Tuesdays a month during tourist season. (727) 942-5628 for dates.

• Downtown Art Walk, St. Petersburg; one Saturday evening a month. (727) 821-6767.

• D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery, Tampa. Free tours, weekdays. (813) 972-8500.


Free Stuff & Good Deals for Folks Over 50, third edition; Linda Bowman; Santa Monica Press; 239 pages. $12.95.

There are at least two other current books on this topic. Check the major bookstores or online sellers for such titles.

Want to save money, get free stuff? Turn the page 03/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 24, 2008 4:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  2. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.

  3. Analysis: Bannon is out, but his agenda may live on


    WASHINGTON — In his West Wing office, Stephen Bannon kept a chart listing trade actions — on China, steel and autos — that the Trump White House planned to roll out, week by week, through the fall. Now that Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has been pushed out, the question is whether his …

    Steve Bannon thinks he could be more effective influencing policy from outside the White House.
  4. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  5. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times