It’s your birthday. You should be treated like the prince/princess you are – and, conglomerates agree. Here’s how I spent my birthday in NYC last month receiving free goods, services, food/drink, and how you can as well!
First things first, coffee. I had 2 options: Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. Both of whom required me to pick up a rewards card in-store and register online in order to become a member. Spoiler: your email (read: soul) in-exchange for a freebies is how most of this works, but this in-store part wasn’t feasible for good ol’ Canadian inhabitant me.
Dunkin Donuts did have an option to download an app, which I couldn’t do either as it seems it’s only available in the U.S. iTunes Store. I had read that you needed to register your Starbucks card 30 days before your birthday, but I tried my luck registering my Dunkin Donuts card the day of my birthday. Turns out you need to top it up with a minimum of $2, which I again couldn’t do as the address associated with your credit card has to be a U.S. address. Yet I somehow still received a welcome email with a free beverage (not my free birthday beverage) so, success!
Next I swung by IHOP in Gramercy. I sat down, was served water, and when I was about to order the waiter informed me that I had to have my coupon/email printed out… I popped into a FedEx and started to use the computer when I overheard another customer ask how much a copy was, with a staff replying 10 cents. I went ahead and printed my coupon, all in under 30 seconds. Brought it to the cash to then be informed that my total was $4+. US$. (The Canadian $ is very weak now #sadface) Turns out it was $3 to use the computer for up to 3 minutes + 50 cents a copy. What? Tried to bargain. Tried using the it’s my birthday card. Manager brought down my total to $3.80. Thanks.
Proceeded back to IHOP where I enjoyed 2 fluffy pancakes with glazed strawberries (#fat), and took 2 to go for a fellow breakfast-seeker that I was to meet on the way to… Yoga.
I picked an all-levels class for my free birthday class at Integral Yoga Institute which turned out to be much more spiritual and much less athletic than I would have liked, than I’m used to. But hey, free yoga class. + I got tons of birthday wishes & good vibes. P.s. They provide mats for free, it’s a $5 deposit for a lock, and you can even bring a friend for free!
Next I proceeded to Hooter’s near Times Square for a free birthday lunch of 10 wings. I didn’t think that would be enough and planned to cash in at least one of my two other free lunches from Au Bon Pain or Ruby Tuesday, but I couldn’t even finish the 10 wings! I had only signed up for Hooter’s eClub 2 days before my birthday so I hadn’t received a birthday email/coupon, but I decided to try my luck anyway. I showed my waitress the welcome email and offered to show her my ID proving it’s my birthday, but she quickly glanced at the email and deemed it ok. Woohoo!
Then it was time to get pretty. Benefit was less than a block away, in the flagship Macy’s Herald Square. My free birthday brow service was a generous, comprehensive one – it included a custom brow mapping consultation (to give you the right brow shape for your face), a wax, trim, and tweeze. No member sign up to boot!
Brows: check. Next: rest of my face. Sephora gives their Beauty Insiders a different free gift every year, and this year it was NARS’ lip pencils in pink and red. (Which are pretty damn good I must say) Since I was there, I took advantage of the free 15 minute makeup sesh that they offer and had the option between eyes or lips.
All happy and dolled up, I headed down the block to Sprinkles for a midday snack: a free birthday cupcake – man those little devils were good! That was enough to tide me over to dinner, which I also got for free. Hint: get a loved one to buy it for you. There are tons of other free things I wish I had done and didn’t:
- Argo Tea
- Aunty Annie
- Baskin Robbins
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.
- Jamba Juice
- Haru Sushi
And, if you happen to share your birthday with a famous dead author (I do! Anne Sexton!) The Dead Poet lets you drink for free.
With a bit of planning in advance and signing up for shizz, you can spend $0 on your birthday like I did, pretty much anywhere in the U.S. For more freebies and for not entirely free, but discounted goods, services, food/drink, click on over to The Penny Hoarder for 100 options. And for those in Montreal, my friends at MTL Blog have local versions too:
Note some deals apply not just on the day of your birthday, but for a couple of days/weeks before/after, or even your whole birthday month, so you can go on feeling like a prince/princess longer! The freebies in this post apply to all/most U.S. cities with these chains, but if you’re in NYC on your birthday and want to follow the trek I did, here is a handy Google map for your companionship. Go forth and be cheap.