9 Things You Can Get for Free on Your Birthday
By Kristin Wong
The older you get, the less momentous your birthday seems to be. But it's still a day worth celebrating, and many retailers, restaurants, and establishments want to help you do so by offering some sweet birthday deals. Of course, some deals are better than others.
“There are tons of retail discounts, typically coupons ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent off or $5 to $15 off. I'm not as excited about these, personally,” Kendal Perez of CouponSherpa.com tells mental_floss. “I find they only tempt me to buy when I wasn't planning to make a purchase. But free food? That's where it's at.”
Perez says you can take advantage of these deals and treat yourself to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert on your birthday. Another deal-hunting expert, Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping, agrees. “Plus, many of these let you take advantage at any time during the week (or even month) of your birthday, which lets you spread out the awesomeness,” he says.
We asked both Perez and James to give us the scoop on the birthday freebies that are actually worth celebrating.
If you like your brew, you might as well kick off your birthday with a cuppa. Starbucks offers a free signature drink or food item on your birthday, but you do have to join their rewards program. “Note that many of these offers require consumers to be members of email clubs, so simply having a birthday and walking into one of these establishments doesn't guarantee a free or discounted offer,” says Perez. “Some places will also ask for an ID.”
Perez says Caribou Coffee offers a similar deal. While they don’t advertise the freebie on their site, they send a birthday coupon for a free medium drink to email subscribers.
Not a coffee person? Get a root beer float instead. A&W sends email subscribers a free coupon on their birthday. And, as Perez points out, even if they don’t advertise, many local establishments offer a celebratory drink or shot on your birthday, too.
3. BURGERS AND SANDWICHES
“My thought on birthday freebies is if you're going to dine out on your birthday anyway, you might as well get a free meal or treat out of it,” says James.
He says Red Robin has one of the best deals around. You can get a free burger or chicken sandwich on the week of your birthday when you sign up for their loyalty card. “I use this three times a year with my kids,” James says.
Steak ‘n Shake offers a similar deal: Perez says that on your birthday, you can get a free double burger with fries. The chain's website also says that the restaurant will send you freebies on other special dates (like anniversaries), too—just tell them when.
Au Bon Pain will give you a free birthday lunch if you sign up for their eClub, which Perez says consists of a free sandwich or salad.
As for breakfast, you can get a complimentary Grand Slam meal at Denny’s on your birthday. You don’t have to sign up for anything, either. Just drop in and show your ID. (But don’t forget to tip! Gratuity is not included in the special offer.)
5. ICE CREAM
Cold Stone offers a free ice cream coupon on your birthday, and while Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t advertise the deal on their website, many deal sites, including Coupon Sherpa, point out that you can get a free scoop on your birthday when you sign up for Chunkmail.
6. LOCAL TREATS
“You should also ask about birthday offers from local restaurants and retailers,” Perez says. “This year, I had my choice between free coconut macaroons or a free cookie from this vegan/vegetarian restaurant in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado. I love their cookies, so I was more than happy to take them up on their offer.”
Birthday freebies go beyond munching. For example, you can score a free round of bowling at AMF. “Sign-up for The Pinsiders Loyalty Club and you’ll receive a free bowling game to use on your birthday,” James says.
8. DINNER AND A SHOW
Medieval Times also offers visitors free admission on their birthday. Again, to nab the deal, you have to sign up for their email list.
9. BEAUTY PRODUCTS
According to Perez, Ulta Beauty will give you a free surprise on your birthday when you join their rewards program. “The product is different every time,” she says. “I've only taken advantage of this once and received a free full-size tube of Calvin Klein mascara.”
Sephora offers a similar deal. When you sign up for their list, you’ll get a free gift you can redeem at any time during the month of your birthday. The gift varies, but the retailer currently offers a free makeup or skincare set.