The College Kid’s Guide to Eating for Free on Your Birthday
For 22 years, I was completely unaware of all the free food you could get on your birthday. My childhood friend came into town for my 22nd birthday a few years ago and asked me what I had planned. I told her we would get dinner and go to Midtown, nothing fancy.
She stopped me and said, “You’re not getting any free food?” Seemingly confused by that statement, I asked her what she meant. She told me that you can get a bunch of free food around town simply because it’s your birthday.
I love food, so I was beyond thrilled. I changed my plans and spent the day with her driving around town to get free food and drinks.
We’ve complied a list of places that offer freebies on your birthday and what exactly is involved. Several places require you sign up for their rewards program and others you just need to show your ID.
If you plan it out right, your tummy and wallet will be full. I mean, who doesn’t want free food on their birthday?
Essentials to know beforehand:
- Most places require you to sign up for their rewards program a month in advance, so I’d suggest signing up for them at least a week or two in advance so it can process the coupon for you.
- Make sure you have a list of places you want to go to because unless you wake up early, you’re not going to be able to hit every stop.
- Bring a cooler with you and place it in your car, so the food doesn’t go bad.
- Bring a friend with you. Chances are, your going to get full sooner than you think and you’ll have a bunch of leftovers, so don’t hesitate to share.
- Starbucks: Sign up for My Starbucks Rewards in order to receive a free drink any size. Start your birthday morning off the right way—with a caffeine kick.
- Dunkin’ Donuts: If you sign up for DD Perks, you can receive a free drink of any size. This is similar to the Starbucks deal, but you can get a coffee from Starbucks in the a.m. and then one from Dunkin’ in the p.m.
- IHOP: After getting your morning coffee, head on over to IHOP to receive a stack of free pancakes. Just sign up for IHOP’s rewards program.
- Panera Bread Company: After you’ve woken up with your cup of coffee and stack of pancakes, head on over to Panera for a free pastry. This also requires signing up for the rewards program.
- Planet Smoothie and Tropical Smoothie Café: If you sign up for each reward program, you’ll receive a free smoothie from each place. Sometimes the rewards programs don’t work for these places though, so bring your ID in case.
- Firehouse Subs, Which Wich, Jersey Mikes and Larry’s Giant Subs: How about getting four subs for lunch, all for free on your birthday? These four sandwich shops each offer a free sub as long as you sign up for their rewards program.
- Moes: Do you want to save the subs for later? Head over to Moe’s for a free burrito with queso, as long as you’ve signed up for their reward program.
- Hyppo: Feeling full yet? If you still got some room left in your stomach, head to Hyppo. As long as you show your ID, you can receive a free pop. No sign up needed. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go to both locations (Archer and downtown) for double the trouble.
- Red Robin: If you sign up for the rewards program, you’ll receive a free burger.
- Ballyhoo: If you sign up for their reward program, you’ll receive a free lobster. This kinda deal is what college kids’ dreams are made of.
- Yamato: In the mood for hibachi? Yamato offers a buy one get one free meal. So, bring a few friends for a fun hibachi dinner and get your whole meal covered.
- Chik-Fil-A: You can get a free meal as long as you show your ID. No sign up required. Best part? You can replace your drink for a frosty and go to multiple locations to order more than one meal. This can be done for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just keep in mind locations on campus do not apply to this deal.
Dessert and Sweet Treats
After a long day of food splurging, you’ve probably got lunch for the next week planned out. But what kind of birthday would it be if you skipped out on dessert?
- Dairy Queen: If you sign up for their rewards, you’ll receive a free blizzard.
- Baskin Robbins: Sign up for their rewards and get a 2.5 oz. scoop of ice cream.
- BJ’s: Sign up for their rewards to receive a free mini piezookie.