When I was a kid, Coca-Cola had a promotion where certain bottle caps had free offers from local businesses underneath them. This was before the days of “promo codes” that you enter online…before the days even of plastic 20 oz. bottles. Each week, my mom would buy two 8-packs of Coke in glass bottles and we would eagerly wait to see what treasure our cap would hold. Our favorites were the free Whoppers from Burger King and free game tokens from the arcade. Once we had accumulated enough caps to cover us all, my mom would take my sister and me out for lunch and to play video games. The entire day cost her no more than the gas to get us there.
Seems my love of freebies has been lifelong 🙂
My childhood memory of “freebie fun days” with my mom and our renewed commitment to frugality (and fun) in 2017 prompted me to explore what other opportunities were out there for freebies – and to plan what I hope to be the first of many freebie fun days of our own.
This month is easy – it’s my birth month so we’re rolling in free food from a variety of restaurants where I signed up for their “birthday clubs” last year, including:
- Zaxby’s – I got a free meal for signing up and a free birthday gift.
- Panera Bread – Angie and I both signed up and received a free treat of our choice.
- Fazoli’s – We love Fazoli’s for cheap, quick Italian and have found their e-club to be outstanding. We both got a free meal for signing up and periodically get other freebies via email, including a free meal with purchase of a drink, BOGO meals, and $3 off coupons.
- Steak ‘n Shake – A free birthday meal.
- IHOP – Yet another free birthday meal.
- Starbucks – I always look forward to my free beverage every year. It’s one of the few times I get a drink from Starbucks. We usually only buy their bagged coffee to take home.
- Culver’s – Both Angie and I got a free meal basket with drink AND a free custard.
The good thing about all of these offers is that they don’t require a purchase. The bad thing is that each of the e-club coupons expires within two weeks (there’s only so much casual/fast food a person can eat in such a short time frame) so it’s probably best to space out the sign ups.
In addition to free food, there are a lot of free things to do in our community. Some major cities (like Denver and Chicago) offer free days at area museums and zoos. As far as I can tell, Nashville doesn’t offer this but they do have discounted admission during certain hours at some museums – like the Adventure Science Center. I’m going to do a bit more digging on this one but so far I have a couple of museums and festivals in our freebie queue for this year.
For our first Freebie Fun Date though, we went to Holder Family Fun Center for 4 free games of bowling (we already have shoes so there’s no added cost there).
We had lunch at Fazoli’s. We each had a free spaghetti coupon with the purchase of a drink.
Afterwards, we went for a walk on a new greenway we found on Monday. Despite the brisk weather and the partially flooded trail, we managed to get in 3.1 miles today.
The whole day cost $4.76. Well…technically…the whole day cost $2.74. On the way back to our car, we found $2.02 on the ground. A gift from the Universe, perhaps? I don’t know but we’ll take it!
What freebies do you and your family enjoy?