Seniors saving money: How to have fun without breaking the bank

Nov 16, 2019
Having fun with family and friends doesn't have to cost you heaps. There are many budget ideas. Source: Getty

Planning a fun day out with family or friends can be a tricky task in retirement, particularly if you have a set budget in place to ensure you don’t overspend. But enjoying yourself doesn’t have to be expensive and there are plenty of ways to get out and about for a reasonable cost.

From Seniors Cards and Entertainment Cards, to free events in your local district, with a little bit of homework and careful planning, your wallet will remain as full as your schedule.

Purchase an Entertainment Card

Entertainment Cards have been around for some time now and give anyone in Australia access to discounts through an annual membership. For the price of $60 – $70 a year, depending on which state you live in, you’ll have access to 2-for-1 offers, special rates and up to 50 per cent off certain activities, dining experiences, shopping, travel and leisure activities.

Whether you’re a thrill seeker or prefer a more relaxed day out, there’s something for everyone. You could visit the zoo, go bowling with the grandkids, treat yourself to a massage or even go skydiving – if that’s your thing – all at a discounted rate.

Make the most of Senior Card discounts

While your parents might’ve had to hunt around for the best deals when they first entered retirement, nowadays things are much easier thanks to free Seniors Cards issued by the government which give you access to a whole host of offers. With one of these in your purse, sticking to your retirement budget will be a breeze.

Each state and territory has its own Seniors Card scheme and there are arrangements in place that allow you to use your card in other states, too. Some of the discounts you’ll have access to include movie tickets for just $7, offers at cafes such as Gloria Jeans Coffee and the Coffee Club, as well as discounted tickets for tourist attractions including the Melbourne Aquarium and Canberra’s Telstra Tower.

Try out cheap council events

Most councils across Australia have set activities and events for senior members of the community, ranging from fitness classes to dance lessons and craft groups. And the good thing is, you’ll only have to hand over a few dollars for hours of fun.

For example, the Brisbane City Council has its 50 Plus Centre which offers a variety of activities, such as art classes and Bridge sessions, for South East Queenslanders who are seniors, pensioners or benefit receivers (excluding unemployment benefits). The events are held from Monday to Friday, generally in the morning and there is a small cost involved.

Similarly, the City of Melbourne has a range of free events, and others for a small charge of around $3, in different locations. Some are health and fitness based with tai chi and yoga, while others are informative, such as basic home maintenance skills sessions.

Sign up for museum memberships

Museums host a range of exhibitions based around science, nature and culture. The general area is free to access, however, there is usually a special exhibition showing as well, which usually costs around $20. If you regularly visit the museum, it may be a smart idea to purchase a membership.

Prices sit around $50 for the year for the big museums in capital cities, which gives you access to all exhibitions throughout the year, plus discounts at the museum shop and cafe.

Visit free art gallery exhibitions

A visit to the art gallery can be relaxing and informative, as you browse through the many creative pieces, and as an added bonus the main gallery is generally free. While for special exhibitions there is a charge, the main area is open to all, so you can stroll on in and wander around at your leisure.

Some of the bigger city galleries also have a children’s centre with fun activities during the week and through school holidays. There is usually a cafe or restaurant situated within the gallery precinct as well, with light meals, coffee and cake available before or after your visit inside.

Get yourself a library card

If you’re a lover of books then getting a library card could be a great idea. It’s generally free to sign up and will give you the freedom to borrow books at your leisure without having to pay a cent.

While you’re there, you could also take your grandkids to one of the library’s free events. They’re generally held during the week and include craft activities, movie sessions and karaoke.

But they aren’t the only benefits a visit to the library can bring. If you’re still catching up with the latest technology, libraries occasionally hold free or discounted information sessions on computer skills, especially for the over-60 group. You can then try out these newly learnt skills by using one of the computers in the library for free.

To find out more, pop into your local library and speak to one of the friendly staff members, or search for your library online, where you can find information on cards and any upcoming events.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.

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What are some cheap and fun activities you have experienced in retirement? How do you save money on entertainment?

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