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Easy ways to save money

Easy ways to save money

There are many benefits to getting a little bit older. Kids flying the nest, working fewer hours (if you’re lucky), feeling a little bit wiser and caring much less about what others think. Today we live longer than our grandparents and enjoy better health. And with any luck, most of us are a little more financially secure, giving us the freedom to enjoy our leisure time. That’s a lot to be thankful for.

However, there may be even more rewards there for the taking that you’re not taking advantage of. Discounts and concessions can make a huge difference to your budget, freedom and enjoyment of life. It’s important to be aware of exactly what you’re entitled to at every stage of life, to ensure you’re not missing out on what’s due to you.

Perhaps the most important concession is the Australian Seniors Card. This piece of handy plastic can save you money on everything from travel to energy bills. Registration is free, and each state has its own card scheme, with a published list of participating businesses from which you can claim a discount, whether you’re eating in a restaurant or buying a new fridge.

You’ll find you can get money off insurance costs, new cars, legal fees, medical and dental treatments, taxi fares, even beauty products. You name it, there’s probably a discount for it. Not all states are equal – for instance, in Queensland you can get a concession for your boat registration, while in the Northern Territory, hot-air balloon across the outback will cost you less if you hold a Seniors Card.

Most cards will be accepted interstate, and it’s also worth taking your card with you when you travel overseas – many international businesses accept cards, particularly in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA, Canada and the UK. All you have to do is ask.

We’ve listed below all the information you need to get the best out of this handy card in each Australian state.

Australian Capital Territory
Eligibility: You must be over 60, a permanent resident of the ACT and working no more than 20 paid hours per week. Up to 300 Government and non-Government organisations participate in this discount scheme. For a full directory of participating outlets click here.

There is no online application process. To apply for an ACT Seniors Card, you have to visit a Government shopfront in person. A list of participating outlets can be found here.

New South Wales
Eligibility: You must be 60 or over and a permanent resident of NSW working no more than 20 hours of paid work per week. You must also be the holder of a valid Medicare card. Thousands of outlets are signed up to the scheme in NSW. For a full directory, click here.

Apply for a NSW Seniors card here.

Hot tip: the Senior Shopper helpline 1300 366 265 can find you the best deals on a wide range of products. Just call them and tell them what you want, and an agent will do all the legwork, then call you back with the best price.

Northern Territory
Eligibility: You must be over 60 and a permanent resident. More than 200 businesses support the scheme providing discounts on goods and services all over the territory. A directory can be found here.

There is no online application process. Download the application form here, and apply by post, or call 1800 441 489.

Queensland
Eligibility: You must be a permanent resident of Queensland , 65 years or older and working less than 35 paid hours per week or 60-64 and working less than 35 paid hours per week and holder of one of four Commonwealth concession cards. See the website here for more information.

Queensland has thousands of participating businesses and services, which can be found in an online searchable directory here. 

Apply for a Queensland Seniors Card here.

Hot tip: The state also has a free telephone Senior Shopper service (1300 366 265) in which a consultant will shop around for the best deal on your behalf.

South Australia
Eligibility: You must be aged 60 or over, and a permanent South Australia resident working not more than 20 hours paid employment per week. For the full directory of participating businesses click here

Apply for your South Australia Seniors Card here.

Tasmania
Eligibility: You must be a resident of the state, aged 60 or over and not working more than 20 paid hours per week. More than 730 businesses take part in Tassie. For a directory of services, take a look here. 

There is no online application process. You can download the application form here.

Then take your completed form to a Government shopfront, along with three original pieces of identification. For the full list of outlets click here.

Victoria
Eligibility: You must be aged 60 or over, a permanent resident of Australia, residing in Victoria, working less than 35 paid hours per week. Thousands of outlets participate in Victoria. For a full directory click here.

To apply for a Victorian Seniors Card click here

Western Australia
Age eligibility will change soon. Until 30 June 2015 you have to be:
60 years and a permanent resident of WA, working 25 paid hours or less per week.

Apply before 30 June with application form including statutory declaration to confirm eligibility, signed by an approved witness. From 1 July, the eligible age will increase by a year, every two years to 65 by 2023-24. You’ll still need to be permanent resident working 25 paid hours or less. You’ll also need to provide 100 points of identification to be approved for a WA Seniors Card.

For the WA directory of discounts click here.

Apply for your WA Seniors Card here.

Did you know the Australian Government have pledged $1.3 million to supply free access to computers and internet training for 97,000 senior Australians? Read all about it here

Other handy resources
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to self-funded retirees only.
It provides discounts on prescription medicines and Government-funded medical appointments and treatments. You must be at least 65, but not qualify for the Age Pension. For more information, click here.

If you work past retirement age, you may be entitled to a Work Bonus for remaining in the workforce. The payment is calculated automatically by the Government. You do not need to apply. Visit the Department of Human Services to make sure you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled.

See also
ASIC’s Money Smart - for over 55's.
National Seniors Australia – membership scheme providing an independent voice for over 50s.

Written by Ali Wright. Republished with permission of Wyza.com.au.