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You’re probably aware that if you tell the server at your favorite restaurant it’s your birthday, you’ll get a free dessert or something similar. But did you know there are ways to get free birthday goodies without having to dine-in or spend any money?
There are a handful of national restaurant chains and retailers that give out free things for birthdays just by signing up for their email list or rewards program — many with no purchase necessary.
In the weeks leading up to my birthday this year, I signed up for every restaurant or store that seemed like they might offer a freebie. On my birthday, I then drove around picking up everything I could to see which places offer the best freebies and which ones missed the mark a bit.
A quick word of advice before digging into the freebies: You’ll need to make sure you sign up the month before your birthday, as most emails will arrive the first day of your birthday month. Once your emails arrive, you want to check use-by dates and organize them to know when you need to get certain things. Some are only good on your birthday, while some others don’t expire for an entire month, so you can space them out.
Now, on to the freebies!
You can get a free McDonald’s bakery item just for downloading the app and making an account. There is no purchase necessary and you can even choose curbside pick-up, which I did. My (seriously delicious) apple fritter was delivered right to my car!
Panera also offers a free bakery item, no purchase necessary. Simply sign up ahead of time, download the app, place your order and pick it up either in-restaurant or via drive-thru.
Starbucks’ birthday freebie is a free drink or food item of your choice. If choosing a drink, it can be any size and include any extras, so it’s the time to go all out and add the extra whipped cream and chocolate curls.
It’s important to note that this deal is only good on your birthday, and you do have to make a purchase to get the drink, but that purchase can be made anytime within the year. That means you can score your free drink on your birthday without having to make a purchase that day, so it’s still a great freebie.
Jersey Mike’s birthday deal is one of the best: a free sandwich of your choice, no purchase necessary! Simply sign up for their rewards program, order through the app and your free sandwich will be waiting when you arrive.
Ulta Beauty’s birthday gift changes each month, but is definitely worth signing up for, as it’s completely free. Simply go to your local store, show them your email and you’ll get a gift. Mine was a free mascara.
(It’s also worth noting that Sephora gives out a birthday gift as well, so if you have one near you, you’ll want to sign up.)
Subway offers a free cookie for your birthday, and while not the best deal considering some places offer full sandwiches, it’s still worth signing up for if you plan on going to Subway at some point during your birthday month.
Cinnabon’s birthday freebie is a free 16-ounce iced coffee in either vanilla or cinnamon roll. Simply sign up, download the app, then head to your local mall and you’ll get the coffee for free, no purchase necessary.
While at the mall for your Cinnabon, you can also pick up a free pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. Choose from any flavor for free — no other pretzel or drink purchase required.
If you have a Firehouse Subs near you, you’ll definitely want to sign up for the rewards program. Starting around your birthday and for about a week afterward, you’ll be able to score a free medium sub and pickle, no purchase necessary.
Yet another free sandwich on the list is from Jimmy John’s. Simply sign up for their rewards and your free sandwich will appear in your account. The coupon is good for about a month, so you have plenty of time to get this freebie.
While not nationwide, if you have a Biggby coffee near you, you’ll get a free drink beginning on your birthday. The coupon includes any size and any kind of drink (hot, iced or frozen) and is good for a few weeks, so you don’t need to double up on the caffeine and get it the same day you grab Starbucks.
While a free Blizzard is a decent freebie, I put Dairy Queen last on my list because you also have to buy one at the same time. That means you’ll either need to go to Dairy Queen with someone else, or end up with two Blizzards (which isn’t really a bad thing, I suppose).
Other freebies that seem to be great deals but either aren’t in my area, or I chose not to get include Marco’s Pizza, where you’ll get a free small one-topping pizza, iHop, where you’ll get free pancakes, and Buffalo Wild Wings, who give you a free 6-piece order of wings.
More deals include $5 to spend on anything you want from Kohl’s, a free movie from Redbox, a free body care item from Bath & Body Works, doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and a free scoop of ice cream from Baskin Robbins.
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