Confessions of a penny-pincher: I’m allllll about that #budgettravel life. I’m also pretty frugal in my regular, non-travel life.
(I mean, duh. That’s how I save money to go cool places. By not spending it on other stuff.)
So when my birthday rolled around this year, I decided to sign up for ALL THE BIRTHDAY FREEBIES.
Here were my guidelines:
1) I signed up for companies that were relatively close to me, so I could swing by when it was convenient. Freebies are nice, but it’s not worth wasting a ton of time/gas.
2) I only got the things that were 100% free, so I didn’t have to spend any money. (There were lots of “buy one, get one free” deals, or “with any purchase” coupons. Um yeah, no.)
3) I split everything with Michael. This was partially because I am a wonderful and generous human being. Also because I wanted to continue to fit into all of my pants. And… if I’m being honest, it was so he’ll be more inclined to share with me when he gets his birthday freebies in December.
Y’all, I did the math, and I ended up getting $85.55 worth of food FO’ FREE! How ridiculous is that?!?
Here’s a breakdown of my birthday swag. (Click on the links to sign up for your own birthday treats!)
|A&W||Root beer float||Probably the least exciting, but whatevs|
|Amy’s Ice Creams||Small ice cream with crush’n||Only in Austin, Houston, San Antonio|
|Auntie Anne’s||Pretzel||Must use Auntie Anne’s app to redeem|
|Baskin Robbins||Single scoop or soft serve swirl||Excludes waffle cones|
|Corner Bakery Cafe||Pastry||Any pastry!|
|Culver’s||1 scoop sundae||Includes 2 toppings|
|Dunkin’ Donuts||Medium beverage||Emailed to me 20 days after my birthday??|
|Firehouse Subs||Medium sub||Must use Firehouse Subs app to redeem|
|Jamba Juice||Small smoothie or 12 oz juice||Use phone number associated with your account|
|Jason’s Deli||$5 off any food item||Works even if your order is less than $5|
|Jersey Mike’s||Regular sub + fountain drink||Coupon doesn’t expire for an entire year!|
|Krispy Kreme||Any donut + small coffee or fountain drink||They allowed me to do an iced coffee 🙂|
|La Madeleine||Pastry||Any pastry!|
|Nothing Bundt Cakes||Bundtlet||THESE ARE SO GOOD.|
|Panera||Pastry||Must use Panera app|
|Schlotzsky’s||Small sandwich||Good for “The Original”|
|Starbucks||Any drink or food item||Must use Starbucks app & sign up 30 days before bday|
|Taco Cabana||Flauta plate||Soooo much food|
|Which Wich||7” sandwich||Sandwiches are custom, build-your-own|
|Zoë’s Kitchen||Any dessert||The chocolate chip cookies here are AMAZING and the size of your face|
Birthday Club Awards, as judged by Bri
MOST BANG FOR YOUR ZERO BUCKS
The winner is… Taco Cabana! You get a free flauta plate, which includes 3 chicken flautas, rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and 2 flour tortillas.
The winner is… Dunkin’ Donuts! For some reason, they emailed my birthday freebie (any medium beverage) 20 days *after* my birthday. I double checked that I entered my birthday correctly on their website, and yeah. Basically there’s no reason this should have happened. But I love iced coffee and I’m not complaining!
BEST FOR HOOKING UP FAMILY/FRIENDS
The winner is… Baskin Robbins! When you sign up, you can add family members to your birthday account. You don’t have to give BR any extra email addresses, but they will send you birthday coupons for friends/family on their birthdays too.
The winner is… Jason’s Deli! They send you a $5 off any food item coupon. This works even if your order is less than $5, so it still follows my guideline #2. If you want to make it totally free, you can get a soup ($3.49-4.49), a kid’s meal ($3.49-$4.59), or a couple of desserts ($1.19-$3.29).
The winner is… A three way tie! Amy’s Ice Creams, Jason’s Deli, and Panera. It’s been a month so far, and I haven’t gotten a single email from them except the birthday freebies.
The winner is… Jersey Mike’s! Their birthday treat (a free regular sub and fountain drink) doesn’t expire for an entire year after your birthday.
A few other tips:
• I would recommend creating a junk email account specifically for this purpose. You will get LOTS of emails, ads, and offers from these companies. If you create a separate account, you can log in exactly once per year – your birthday. (Feel free to shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – chances are, I won’t see it until next June.)
• However, if you have the time/patience to sort through a gazillion emails, you might get some other treats! I signed up for the Great American Cookie birthday club, but then didn’t use my treat because it was a free slice of cookie cake with purchase of a regular soda (see guideline #2 above). BUT – I did open up another one of their promotional emails, and ended up getting a FREE 16″ cookie cake.
• When signing up for all of the birthday clubs (this takes time!), be sure to have your email address copied, so you can just paste it into each box. This will save you from having to write it out a kajillion times.
• Print out your coupons as you get them, and put them in order by date of expiration. That way you can see which coupons you should use first. Some treats are good only on your birthday, others are good for 1-2 weeks, and some are valid for your entire birthday month.
Okay, so I didn’t exactly save $85.55, because I rarely go out to eat. TBH, I never would have bought 99% of this stuff – not even the pastries, y’all. (Remember the part about saving money for travel?) But nobody is going to keep me from *free* cookies, cakes, donuts, coffees, sandwiches, smoothies, and ice-cream.
Plus, I still fit into my pants (well, my sweatpants anyway), and I’m totally ready for Round 2 in December.