Frugal NationFrugal Nation

Get freebies on your birthday

Want a burrito, a coffee or some pretty underwear? You can get these (and other) things just for being born.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 11, 2012 1:52PM

Logo: Birthday (Simon Jarratt/Corbis/Corbis)I just had a free lunch at Red Robin. Waiting in the wings are a free breakfast at IHOP, buy-one-get-one coupons from Dairy Queen and Qdoba, a bag of Cinemark Theatres popcorn, a coupon for 25% off at, a coupon for 30% off at the domain company and 50 free points from the Swagbucks reward site.

Happy birthday to me, indeed.

If I'd put my mind to it I could have gotten a whole lot of other free stuff: ice cream, burritos, shampoo, coffee, sandwiches, e-book credits, even lingerie.

So can you. Getting birthday freebies is as simple as signing up -- and the treats can stretch beyond your natal day.

Companies hand out free stuff to reward loyal customers, or maybe to get them through the door in the first place. Some freebies are for little kids but there are plenty for frugal adults.

An Internet search for "birthday freebies" will lead to 4 or 5 million hits, some of which are out of date or were never true in the first place. (Hint: AutoZone does not do oil changes on your birthday or at any other time.)

Instead, start with these sites: 

Note: There's a fair amount of overlap, i.e., all of them are going to know about the free ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. But some sites have deals others don't. The only way to find out is to browse.

How to maximize your fun

Sign up for every offer you can find. You don't have to use them all the same day, since many are good for a week or more past your actual birthday.

Make sure the birthday freebie is accepted locally. Not every franchisee participates in national promotions. Start a new email address for your birthday promos. You don't think these businesses are going to drop a line just once a year, do you?

Be sure to bring a photo ID and a printout of the offer.

Let the server know before you order, and base your tip on what the bill would have been if you didn't have the freebie.

All free offers are not created equal. As mentioned, some are BOGOs or require some other kind of purchase (e.g., a free dessert if you buy dinner). As for that lingerie,, which specializes in plus-size pretties, gives free thigh-high stockings or underwear with birthday-month orders of more than $25.

It's up to you whether the initial buy-in is worth it. If not, then just choose from among the no-purchase-required offers. And for the BOGOs, try lining up friends who don’t mind being the buy-one half of the equation.

More on MSN Money:

Dec 13, 2012 8:53PM
Some retail stores do this too.  I have a Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy credit card which sends me a coupon that I have to use in my birthday month.  If I go to the sale rack, there have been many times I have walked out with something free!
Dec 13, 2012 3:32PM

if you live in or around Ann Arbor, Michigan check out this birthday deal list!


search "birthday deals ann arbor"  you'll end up on dubyadubyadubya dot arborwiki dot org slash birthday underscore deals


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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.


Donna Freedman

Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.