Lifehacks: How to Get Lots of Freebies For Your Birthday
If you’re looking to have the best birthday ever, then you’ve come to the right place. Look no further:
Alright, alright. In all seriousness, when your birthday rolls around it is absolutely astonishing how many services, restaurants, and stores will offer you at least some kind of discount, BOGO (Buy One Get One) deal, or best of all—FREEBIES! If you’re like me, then you look scornfully down upon those “20% off purchase of a used item” (*cough* I’m looking at YOU Gamestop), the bogus BOGO’s at a whole slew of restaurants, and worst of all: the free dessert when you pay for an entree. It’s not exactly a “gift” when you get fraction of a discount for your birthday, now is it!?!? Get angry.
While it can certainly be helpful if you’re looking to score a used copy of Titanfall at $40 instead of $50 when you’d like to buy it anyway, you and I both know that we’d much rather spend a couple days wandering around reaping the maximum benefits of your special day. While it might benefit you best to go to BirthdayFreebies.com and search by your zip code in addition to the other myriad of website available in that above Google search, here’s what I did and what you need to do in order to reap the maximum benefit:
At Least One Month Before
Register for as many food-related memberships as you can. You don’t even have to carry all of the membership cards. Just get the Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and Boloco apps along with many others and you don’t even have to worry about cards on your keychain or in your wallet. And for those that DO require cards, just get an app like Cardstar that can carry all of your accounts on one app. The app can even queue up your unique account barcode that the folks at CVS can just scan (Note: the bonus card scanning coupon spewers at CVS do not work with the screen on your phone for some reason, BUT you can still manually punch in your membership number for the same effect). Or, the app can store your membership numbers for places like D’Angelo, which doesn’t use barcodes for their members.
Why do all this at least a month before? Some membership rewards programs are onto you, and if you try and register the day before your birthday, they’ll know exactly why you suddenly made this decision to “support them”, and they won’t let you get that freebie until next year. Wouldn’t you prefer to get as many freebies as possible?
In addition to offering routine frequency rewards points, programs like that of Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Boloco will straight up give you a Coffee, Any Sized Beverage, and Burrito, respectively, just for being born on a specific day that you decided to tell them about.
The Day Before
Do your research on the above sites and plan out your attack. Make a schedule. Get on Google Maps or something, or maybe just go to a mall and wander around wearing an IT’s MY BIRTHDAY sash. Coffee, snack, lunch, snack, and some sort of dinner deal can all be within your grasp.
A lot of places (Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Boloco included) will send your freebie directly into your account up to a week before your birthday, and you can use it as soon as they send it. They might even last well beyond your birthday as well. Turn that birthDAY into a birthMONTH by milking it for all that it’s worth.
What Did I Do with this Power?
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14
I woke up like it was any other day during my transition between full-time student and summer employment (a.k.a., unemployment). After my morning smoothie and coffee, I settled in to do the aforementioned research in between intermittent bouts of laundry and half-hearted job-hunting. The game was afoot.
I arrived at Starbucks, where I’ve had a membership for several years. Each purchase earns you a star and with enough stars you can get free beverages or snacks and even upgrade to a “Gold Status” that allows you things like free flavor shots and other Starbucks novelties. Regardless of your membership level — so long as you have one — you get a free beverage on your birthday. Whereas the comparable free medium beverage at Dunkin Donuts has its limitations, I decided to really test Starbucks with one of my personal favorites: large Green Tea Soy Frappuccino, hold the whip. Frappuccino’s rank as some of the most expensive drinks on the menu at Starbucks. To top it off, they charge extra for soy milk substitutions for lactose intolerant people like myself, which I find highly offensive and a clear instance of persecution against my peoples. But boy oh boy are these things delicious. If you’ve ever had green tea matcha or deep fried green tea ice cream (a popular Asian dessert at some restaurants), then you’ll be familiar with the flavor profile here. Don’t let the look of the pseudo guacamole smoothie fool you.
Normally, this drink would come in at a whopping, devilish $6.66 for the large (or venti or whatever the heck they call it) yet Starbucks was willing to comp it just because it was the day before my birthday. Nice.
Another champion in the realm of freebies is D’Angelo, which offer up a free small sandwich sent right to your account. This is by no meals a small gesture, however, as the large sandwiches are huge! Much like Starbucks, they attach this freebie to your existing account so all you need to do is swipe or scan your card. And, much like I did at Starbucks, I pushed this freebie to the limits. As it turns out, you can use this coupon for a full-sized wrap! Even with my personal favorite: Buffalo Chicken Wrap! (granted, they cost only slightly more than a small sandwich, but hey, a win is a win! Even when it’s only 20 cents…)
This tasty treat is just hot enough to make your face burn if you eat it fast enough, which I most certainly did. It’s pretty standard with the chicken, lettuce, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese, but the real kicker are the crunchy croutons they stuff in there to take things to the next level.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15 (Happy Birthday to me!)
Straight to Dunkin’ Donuts for a “FREE MEDIUM BEVERAGE” which includes everything from a plain ole coffee to a Coolatta, tea, latte, or hot chocolate. Not bad at all. How can you beat a free medium iced french vanilla with skim and one sugar?
The one confusing albeit minor drawback to this bonus offer is that despite having one of the most robust rewards program apps out there, Dunkin’ chooses to send their birthday coupon via email. You have to print it out and hand it to your cashier, which is no big deal. But for a program that constantly has around 3 rewards ranging from bonus points offers for purchasing specific items to a straight up BOGO on Wake-Up Wraps, you gotta wonder why they don’t make it that much simpler for everybody and just ship it to your app. I mean come on Dunks, Starbs does that!
Decisions, decisions! As long as you’re a rewards member, UNO Pizzeria and Grill will email you a printable coupon for “One FREE Entree”! It may be dine-in only but that means you can get a free Individual Deep Dish Pizza, Flatbread Pizza, or other Entree.
The Final Verdict
Sign up for anything and everything, particularly any place that asks for your birthday because they want to toss you those freebies and discounts for promotional purposes. Always say yes, ESPECIALLY if it’s food-related.
Now I’ve got to let you go. I have dinner reservations in a couple hours at Mediterraneo, where they’ve already promised to furnish me with a free dessert because it’s my birthday even after I toss my Groupon at them for $30 off. Cha-ching!
Let’s hope that I can recreate the famous scene from my 2nd birthday. You know, the one where I dumped a bowl of spaghetti on my own head just for kicks.