Celebrating a child’s birthday can sometimes feel like planning a wedding. There’s the party, the food, the special “actual” birthday breakfast-lunch-snack-dinner, the special treats for their classroom, and — of course — the presents. It can be overwhelming and expensive. By the time the adult birthdays roll around, we’re often so done with celebrating that we tend to ignore them. I’m frugal to a fault but love to celebrate birthdays (including my own!) with gusto, and I’m here to tell you those two inclinations don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Thanks to all the birthday freebies and discounts offered by local businesses, anyone’s birthday can feel absolutely lavish without breaking the bank. Pick out your favorites from the list below, and plan a birthday freebie scavenger hunt. As a bonus, the special person will get lots of extra “Happy Birthday!” greetings when you pick up the goods.
A Few Tips
- If the birthday honoree is a grown-up, don’t forget to bring ID. Nothing’s worse than expecting free donuts and having to leave empty-handed.
- Many of these offers require trading your email for the freebies, usually one birthday entry per e-mail address.
- Offerings are always subject to change, so maybe call it a “birthday surprise” until you’re sure it’s still a free meal and not a free mint, if you know what I mean.
Dutch Bros. Coffee – Free drink on your birthday when you sign up for their app.
Elmer’s Restaurant – Free German pancake on your birthday when you sign up for their e-club.
IHOP – Free pancakes on your birthday, when you join MY IHOP.
Krispy Kreme – Free food on your birthday (varies) when you sign up for Friends of Krispy Kreme.
Peet’s Coffee – Free complimentary beverage of your choice on your birthday when signed up for the Peetnik Reward Program.
Pip’s Donuts – Head over to Pip’s on the big day and pick up not one, not two, but a DOZEN completely free donuts on the birthday or up to seven days after.
Starbucks – Free drink on your birthday with My Starbucks Rewards.
The Waffle Window – Sign up for their Waffle Club email list and get a voucher for a free waffle on your birthday.
Abby’s Legendary Pizza – Sign up for e-club and get a surprise on your birthday (in the past this has been a mini pizza). You can add your whole family with one email address, too!
Baja Fresh – Special offer on your birthday when you sign up for Club Baja.
Black Bear Diner – Sign up for their e-club and get a free meal now and another on your birthday.
Firehouse Subs – Free medium sub on your birthday when you sign up for Firehouse Rewards.
Jersey Mike’s – Free sub on your birthday when signed up for MyMikes rewards.
Old Spaghetti Factory – Join their birthday kids’ club and get a free kids’ meal on your child’s birthday, and a free treat on their half-birthday! 12 and under only.
P.F. Chang’s – Free food (varies) during your birthday month when you are signed up for the Preferred Rewards program.
Pietro’s Pizza – Free birthday meal (they also do anniversary gifts!) when you sign up for their VIP club.
Red Robin – Register and receive a free birthday burger on your child’s birthday.
Barre3 – Add your birthday to the Mindbody scheduling app, and get a free class on your birthday (schedule as “unpaid” and the studio will credit you when you come to class and let them know it’s your birthday).
Build-a-Bear Workshop – Sign up for their Bonus Club, and bring your child in during their birthday month to “count their candles,” and “pay their age” for a birthday stuffed animal. Not free, but this means your three-year-old will only pay $3.00 for a new stuffy.
Everett House – Free 60-minute spa session within four days of your birthday, before or after (This is temporarily suspended, but may be back by the time your birthday rolls around; check their website for the latest!).
Float On – Enjoy a half-priced sensory deprivation float within one week of your birthday.
Glowing Greens – Free round of indoor blacklight miniature golf for the birthday person.
Helium Comedy Club – Free ticket during your birthday month on any non-special event.
Mud Puddles Toys and Books – Sign up for their Birthday Club in store, and your child (12 and under) will receive a postcard gift card worth $5 for in-store shopping.
Redbox – Free movie rental on your birthday with Redbox Perks.
Sweets and Sips
A&W -Free Root Beer Float when you join the Mug Club.
Baskin Robbins – Free ice cream scoop on your birthday when you sign up for the birthday club.
Ben & Jerry’s – free scoop on your birthday month when signed up as a Flavor Fanatic.
Burgerville – Download their app and get a free 12oz. shake on your birthday.
Cloud City Ice Cream – Get a free scoop on your birthday, ID required.
Fat Cupcake – Free full-size cupcake on your birthday.
La Provence & Petite Provence – Free birthday dessert with dine-in purchase.
Panera Bread – Surprise on your birthday, when you are signed up for MyPanera (this has been a free pastry in the past).
Pastini – Free slice of tiramisu on your birthday (pre-pandemic this was a free entree; this entree offer may return again by the time your birthday rolls around).
Rogue – Free birthday beer when you join Rogue Nation.
Shari’s – Free pie on your birthday; bonus points if your birthday is on a Tuesday, because kids eat free on Tuesdays all year long (with purchase of one adult meal per free kid’s meal).
Subway – Free surprise on your birthday, when signed up for rewards.
Happy treat hunting!