Summary

  • There are many small things you can do to reduce your shopping budget on food and retail.
  • If you're out and about, your Seniors Card will provide you with many discounts at attractions and events.

Shopping

If you’re a Seniors Card holder take advantage of the thousands of discount opportunities available through Victorian retailers.

Food and drink

Here are some ideas to make your food budget go further.

  • Buy fruit and vegetables in season – they are more affordable and tastier. Many greengrocers and supermarkets provide this information in store or visit the Market Fresh website.
  • Supermarkets now provide ‘price per 100g’ on the price tag – this is a useful tool when comparing prices.
  • Shop at fresh food markets to save money and get the freshest food possible. Your local council or newspaper often has details about your closest market.
  • Make a few meals at once and freeze the leftovers for another day or share meals with a neighbour.
  • Buy food that lasts a long time. Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables are nutritious options (just choose cans with no added salt). Long-life milk can be kept in the pantry until you’re ready to use it (but keep it in the fridge after opening).
  • Cheaper cuts of meat like chuck steak or gravy beef are fine for a stew or casserole, and these types of meals freeze well. Use less meat and add a can of beans (white, kidney beans or lentil) to boost your vegetable and fibre intake and cut down on cost.
  • Check the produce section for ‘just passed peak’ fresh fruits and vegetables. Over-ripe bananas are great in muffins or smoothies. Over-ripe stone fruits, apples or pears can be stewed and frozen. Over-ripe tomatoes can be used in casseroles and pasta sauce.
  • Many restaurants offer lunch specials. Consider dining out at lunch instead of dinner.

Why not suggest that your local retailer join the Seniors Card program? One Card holder suggested her local florist join and now all her friends buy flowers at the same place.

My friends and I share food all the time. Sometimes I take over an extra meal and they give me fresh vegies from their garden.
- Xiaomei

We use our Seniors Card when we eat out. Two or three times a week we go to a local cafe for a coffee where our Seniors Card is welcome.
- Bill

Retail shopping

Hundreds of shops offer discounts to Seniors Card  holders. Look out for the ‘Seniors Card Welcome Here’ sign in shopfront windows, or if you’re on Seniors Online, visit the Discount Directory and use the search function.

Other tips include:

  • Outlet stores offer year-round bargains. Make a day of it with a friend or relative, or go on an organised tour.
  • Stock up on items when they’re on special, such as toiletries, pet food or laundry powder. Ask friends and neighbours to share or exchange.
  • Online shopping is a great way to find specials and have items delivered. If you don’t have a computer, visit your local library or ask a friend or relative to help.

Remember to present your Seniors Card or number when you book or make a purchase. Businesses are not obliged to give a discount once a transaction is complete.

We have seven children, 19 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. We’re constantly buying birthday cards and our local news agency gives us a Seniors Card discount.
- Bill

Some tips for shopping online

Shopping online can save time and money, but it’s useful to take a few common sense precautions.

  • Unless you’re sure you are in a secure payment environment, avoid revealing your date of birth, your name, your address or your phone number.
  • For extra security, change your internet and mobile phone passwords regularly.
  • Financial institutions do not send emails to customers asking for passwords or other personal information. Ignore these emails. Don’t open them. Delete them right away.
  • Don’t open emails from unfamiliar senders with offers to enter competitions or receive prizes. Clicking links in these emails can damage your computer or give others access to your private information.
  • After buying something online check your bank statement and report issues immediately to your bank.
  • Minimise the use of your credit or debit card on the internet. If you are making an online purchase, look to see if PayPal – a safer option – is offered.
  • Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it generally is.

Great advice about shopping online can be found on the Consumer Affairs Victoriawebsite. You can also learn more about protecting yourself online from the Department of Justice and Regulation website, and by visiting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website.

Local libraries, neighbourhood houses and local community groups sometimes run online safety courses as well.

Recreation

There are many ways you can reduce your expenses when you’re out – with or without your Seniors Card!

Recreation, sports and attractions

  • Enjoy the Victorian Seniors Festival held across Victoria in October each year.
  • Seniors Card holders enjoy free entry to the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks.
  • Seniors Card holders don’t need a fishing licence to fish in Victorian waters.
  • Explore Victoria’s parks – whether in the heart of the city or a remote part of the state. Go with friends or take an organised tour. Visit Parks Victoria website or call 13 19 63.
  • Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary offer discounted rates to Seniors Card holders. Visit Zoos Victoria website or phone 1300 966 784 for more information.
  • The National Gallery of Victoria International provides Seniors Card shop and catering purchasing discounts on Wednesdays. Call 8620 2222 from 9am–5pm seven days a week. Alternately, visit the Discount Directory. Select the sub-category ‘Art Galleries and Museums’ under ‘Tourist Attractions and Activities’.
  • Guided and self-guided walks are another great way to see the sights. Go online to the Visit Victoria website.
  • The National Trust operates historic sites such as the Old Melbourne Gaol, The Heights in Geelong and Portarlington Mill. Your Seniors Card entitles you to concession entry to these sites. Phone 9656 9800 or visit the National Trust website to find out about additional discounts for Seniors Card holders.

Visiting other parts of Victoria? There’s always something exciting happening in regional Victoria. Visit the Visit Victoria website or scroll through the Victorian event calendar. You could also drop in to one of the many visitor information centres across Victoria.

We start planning for the Victorian Seniors Festival as soon as the dates are confirmed. We spend the week in Melbourne and our first action is to book accommodation. The Seniors Card program helps here. We compare prices, location and public transport accessibility.
- Frank

Interested in technology?

If you’re keen on learning a few computer basics, options are available:

  • Broadband for Seniors offers senior Australians, aged 50 years and over, free access to computers, internet and basic training to help build their confidence in using new technology. Phone 1300 795 897 or visit Broadband for Seniors.
  • Your local neighbourhood house, learning centre or library may  also offer a free or low-cost beginner computer course.
  • If you’re already online, consider using Telstra’s easy-to-follow self-teach videos, worksheets and other training content. Visit Telstra's website to access the material.

In the community

There are many great community activities available free or at heavily discounted rates.

Learn a new skill

  • Learn Local organisations run training programs from basic computer skills to certificates and diplomas in business, community and trades. See the courses and locations on the Learn Local website or email info@learnlocal.org.au.
  • Local council sporting facilities also offer programs for older people such as strength training and water aerobics. Phone your local council for details.
  • Life Activities Clubs provide physical, social and recreational activities as well as education and motivational support for people approaching, or in retirement. Clubs are located in metropolitan and regional areas. Visit Life Activities Clubs website, phone 9662 2930 or email life@life.org.au.
  • University of the Third Age (U3A) offers courses that keep you mentally alert and healthy. There are more than 100 U3As in metropolitan and regional Victoria. Courses offered range from current affairs, languages, exercise and fitness, craft and music. Courses are for retired or semi-retired members of the seniors community and only limited by the availability of volunteer leaders. To find a U3A near you phone 9670 3659, email info@u3avictoria.com.au or visit U3A Victoria website.

Learning a new language? Jump online and see if a local U3A offers a course in the language you’d like to learn.

Local councils, libraries, neighbourhood houses and learning centres

  • Your local council is a fantastic source of information about what’s happening in your local community, as is your local paper.
  • If you are interested in social, educational and recreational activities in a welcoming and supportive environment, visit one of 395 neighbourhood houses and learning centres across Victoria. Go to Neighbourhood Houses Victoria to find one close to you.
  • Many local libraries provide courses and activities. Visit Find your local library or contact your local council to find out more.
  • Men’s shed programs provide a welcoming atmosphere for men to socialise. Most aim to ease the transition from full-time work to retirement, helping to connect men with their local community and improve their wellbeing. To find a men’s shed in your area, start by phoning your local council or visit the Victorian Men's Shed Association.
  • There are many options for volunteering in Victoria. Find out more at Volunteering Victoria.