Category Archives: Party

Birthday Freebies: 105 Places to Get Free Stuff for Your Birthday

105 Places to Get Free Stuff for Your Brithday

 

We just celebrated our second-born son’s birthday this week—the big 7!  Of course the advent of a birthday in our house is a big deal for the kids.  They even get excited about my birthday and my husband’s birthday.  As adults, we are sort of lackluster about our own birthdays, because, well, we are just getting older.  But the kids are excited because they get to eat cake (which we really don’t have expect for birthdays).  And, of course, they still talk about how fun it was the year that daddy chose to go to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday—an obvious choice for an awesome dad.  THE. KIDS. LOVED. IT.  High-five to my hubby for that one.

 

Many retailers also join in the birthday fun.  If you sign up for that particular store or restaurant’s birthday club, or even if you have a store credit card, you can get free offers for your birthday.

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Bob Evans: free kid’s meal for your child, when you enroll your child in the birthday club
  • Kohl’s: $10 to spend on a $10 purchase
  • Express: $10 to spend on a $10 purchase
  • The Limited: Discount offer during your birthday month
  • Ann Taylor: $15 to spend on a $15 purchase

 

In addition to my favorite birthday freebies, The Penny Hoarder has put together the ultimate list of 100 Places That Will Give You Free Stuff on Your Birthday. Check out their list for more great opportunities to get freebies for your birthday:

 

  1. A&W All American Food – Get a free root beer float on your birthday by joining the Mug Club.
  2. Ace Hardware – Receive a free $5 off coupon when you join Ace Rewards.
  3. AMF Bowling – Get xsome free bowling by signing up with the AMF Pinsiders Club.
  4. Applebees –  Sign up for their Email Club and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  5. Arby’s – Get a free milkshake on your birthday when you register with Arby’s.
  6. Atlanta Bread Company – Get a free cookie on your birthday when you join their Loyalty Program.
  7. Au Bon Pain – Join their eClub and get a free birthday lunch.
  8. Auntie Anne’s – Sign up for Pretzel Perks and get a free pretzel on your birthday.
  9. Aveda – Receive a birthday gift valued at $20 when you  join Aveda’s Rewards Program.
  10. Bare Escentuals – Join the Friends and Benefits Program and they’ll send you a gift on your birthday.
  11. Barnes and Noble (Kids) – Sign up for the B&N Kids’ Club and your child gets a free cupcake on his/her birthday.
  12. Baskin Robbins – Join their Birthday Club and get free ice cream on your birthday.
  13. BD’s Mongolian Grill – Get a free entree on your birthday when you join Club Mongo.
  14. Benihana’s – Register for the Chef’s Table and they’ll send you a $30 birthday certificate.
  15. Bennigan’s – Receive a BOGO entree as well as a free dessert when you sign up for their  E-Club.
  16. Big Boy – Join their Email Club and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  17. Bonefish Grill – Become a  BFG Insider and get special offers on your birthday.
  18. Boston Market – Join the VIP Club and get a special birthday surprise.
  19. Buca di Beppo – You’ll receive a free pasta on your next visit as well as a $20 birthday gift for joining their eClub.
  20. Buffalo Wild Wings – Get a free birthday dessert when you join the Buffalo Circle.
  21. Captain D’s – Get a special offer on your birthday when you join  D’s Club.
  22. Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Join Carrabba’s Amici Club and get a free appetizer as well as a coupon for a BOGO Free entree.
  23. Chick fil a – Become an Email Insider and get a special birthday offer.
  24. Chili’s – Get free chips and guacamole when you join their  Email Club.
  25. Chuck E. Cheese – Join the Chuck E. Cheese Club and get free tokens to help celebrate your child’s birthday.
  26. Cinnabon – Subscribe to Club Cinnabon and get a special gift on your birthday.
  27. Cold Stone Creamery – Get a BOGO coupon for your birthday by signing up for the My Cold Stone Club.
  28. Country Buffet – Sign your child up for the  Birthday Kids Club and they’ll receive a free meal on their big day.
  29. Cracker Barrel – Go to Cracker Barrel on your birthday and get a free dessert.
  30. Culvers – Enjoy a free birthday treat when you sign up for the Culver’s eClub.
  31. CVS – Join the Beauty Club and get $3 Extracare bucks on your birthday.
  32. Dairy Queen – Receive a free Blizzard on your birthday by signing up for the Blizzard Fan Club.
  33. Dave & Busters – Sign up for Dave & Buster’s Rewards and get $10 in free game play.
  34. Denny’s- Stop by Denny’s and get a free Grand Slam on your birthday (with ID)!
  35. Disney Movie – Get 100 free points for your birthday when you sign up for Disney Movie Rewards.
  36. Don Pablo’s – Get a $10 gift card on your birthday when you become a Habaneros Member.
  37. Dunkin’ Donuts – Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program.
  38. Einstein Bros. Bagels – Get a free bagel on your birthday when you join the club.
  39. Firehouse Subs – Show up on your birthday and show ID for a free medium sub!
  40. First Watch – Get a free entree when you sign up for the Sun eClub.
  41. Friendly’s – When you become a Best Friends of Friendly’s  member, you’ll receive a free Happy Ending Sundae on your birthday.
  42. Fuddruckers – Get a special birthday offer when you join the Fudds Club.
  43. Great American Cookies – Join CookiE-mail and get a free cookie on your birthday.
  44. Hallmark – Get a free card and a coupon for 20% off one item when you become a Hallmark Crown Rewards member.
  45. Hard Rock Cafe – Sign up for Hard Rock Rewards are get free dessert on your birthday.
  46. Helzberg Diamonds – Request a catalog and sign up for email updates to receive a birthday surprise.
  47. Hooters –Join the Club and get free wings on your birthday.
  48. IHOP –  Sign up and receive a free stack of pancakes on your birthday!
  49. Jack in the Box –Register and receive a special offer on your birthday.
  50. Jersey Mike’s Subs – Get a free sub and drink when you sign up for their Email Club.
  51. Joe’s Crab Shack –  Register with Joe’s Crab Shack and receive a birthday treat.
  52. Kmart – When you sign your child up for the Birthday Club, they will receive a special gift pack as well as $5 in Birthday Bucks.
  53. Krispy Kreme – Join the e-Club and receive a free donut on your birthday.
  54. Longhorn Steakhouse – Create a My Longhorn account and get a free birthday treat.
  55. Macaroni Grill – Sign up for the Email Club and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  56. Maggie Moo’s – Sign up for MaggiE-mail and get a free birthday surprise.
  57. Marie Callender’s- Join the E-Club and get a free slice of pie and $5 off your check on your birthday.
  58. Medieval Times – Receive free admission when you join the Birthday Fellowship and the King’s Court
  59. The Melting Pot – Join Club Fondue and get a voucher for free chocolate fondue for two on your birthday.
  60. Moe’s Southwest Grill – Get a coupon for a free birthday burrito when you join their eWorld.
  61. Noodles & Company – Get a free dish on your birthday by joining their EClub.
  62. Not Your Average Joe’s – Get a free birthday surprise when you sign up for their Email Club.
  63. Olive Garden – Get a complimentary appetizer or dessert on your birthday by signing up for their eClub
  64. On the Border – Get a special birthday offer when you sign up for Club Cantina.
  65. Panda Express – Register to receive emails and get an exclusive offer on your birthday.
  66. Panera – Join MyPanera and get a free pastry on your birthday.
  67. Perkins – Get a free slice of pie on your birthday when you sign up for their E-club.
  68. P.F. Chang’s – Sign up for the Email List and get a free slice of cheesecake on your birthday.
  69. Pinkberry – Sign up for a Pinkcard and receive a free small yogurt on your birthday.
  70. Qdoba – Receive a special birthday gift when you register for their Rewards Program.
  71. RedBox – Get the Redbox Play Pass and receive a free birthday rental.
  72. Red Lobster – Receive a birthday surprise when you Join the Club.
  73. Red Robin – Register for their Rewards Program and get a free birthday burger.
  74. Rita’s Italian Ice – Sign up for their Birthday Club and get a free birthday treat.
  75. Ruby Tuesday –Sign up with Ruby Tuesday and score a free burger on your birthday.
  76. Sbarro – Get free pizza on your birthday by joining their e-Club.
  77. Sephora –Register with Sephora and receive a free gift on your birthday!
  78. Smashbox – Register for the Pretty Points Program and receive a free gift during your birthday month.
  79. Sonic – Create a My Sonic Profile and receive a special treat on your birthday.
  80. Sonny’s BBQ – Get a free Big Deal Meal on your big day by joining the ‘Q Crew.
  81. Souper Salad – Register for Souper Perks and get a free meal during your birthday week.
  82. The Spaghetti Warehouse – Join the Warehouse Club and get a free meal on your birthday.
  83. Starbucks – Get a free birthday drink by signing up for Starbucks Rewards.
  84. Steak ‘n Shake – Join the eClub and get a free menu item on your birthday.
  85. Subway – You’ll receive a free 6 inch sub and drink on your birthday when you join the Subway Eat Fresh Club.
  86. Swagbucks – Get 50 free Swagbucks on your birthday.
  87. TCBY – Join the TCBY eClub and receive special offers on your birthday.
  88. Texas Roadhouse – Sign up for their Email Club and get a birthday gift.
  89. TGI Friday’s – Join their Give Me More Stripes program and get a free dessert on your birthday.
  90. Tony Roma’s – Join the Roma Rib Expert Club and get a free entree on your birthday.
  91. Toys R Us – Join Rewards R Us and your child will receive a free card and gift every year until his/her 10th birthday.
  92. Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Join Club Tropical and get a special birthday offer.
  93. ULTA – Receive a free CK One mascara by signing up for their Loyalty Rewards Program.
  94. Uno Pizzeria & Grill – Join their Email Club and get a free entree on your birthday.
  95. Victoria’s Secret – Sign up for an Angel Card and get a birthday gift worth $10.
  96. Waffle House – Become a member of the Waffle House Regulars Club and receive a free waffle on your birthday.
  97. Wienerschnitzel – Join the Wiener Lovers Club and get a free coupon each year on your birthday.
  98. Wingstop – Get a free order of seasoned fries on your birthday when you sign up for their Email Club.
  99. Yogurt Mountain – Join the YOMO Club and get free yogurt on your birthday.
  100. Zaxby’s – Get a free Nibbler on your birthday by signing up for the Zaxby’s Email Club.

 

Valentine’s Day the SUPER-hero way

Make beautiful, gourmet chocolates for Valentine's Day

Make beautiful, gourmet chocolates for Valentine’s Day

 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Whether you are looking to make a homemade treat for your love or trying to figure out what treat to send to school for you kids, chocolate covered pretzels and heart-shaped rice crispy treats dipped in chocolate can make the perfect indulgence!

 

Valentine heart rice krispie

 

These homemade treats look festive and delicious. The best part is that they look fancy, but you won’t have to pay the expensive price tag that comes along with buying them from a gourmet shop. Here’s what you will need:
• Chocolate candy wafers
• Pretzel rods
• Rice crispy treats
• Assorted sprinkles
• Double broiler (or similar set up)
• Wax paper

Heart-shaped Rice Krispie Treats

Making a heart-shaped rice crispy treat is not as hard as it looks:

  1. Cut larger corners off one side to form the point at the bottom of the heart
  2. Cut very small corners off the other side to round the top edges of the heart
  3. Cut a small “V” in the middle of the top
  4. Use your hands to mold the rough edges

heart krispie collage

Set the heart-shaped krispie treats aside.  Once the chocolate is melted, you can dip the top in or drizzle with the melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles.

 

Melting the Chocolate

You don’t need to buy a double broiler to melt chocolate properly. All you need is a regular pot; fill it about 3/4 full with water and boil. Make sure you have a large, glass bowl that will sit on top of the pot without falling in, but the bottom of the bowl needs to fit down in far enough to touch the water as it boils. Pour the chocolate melts into the bowl. The boiling water will do most of the work, but you can stir occasionally to keep the chocolate melting evenly.

*You can also melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave at 50% power, in 30 second increments.

 

Valentine's choc
Once melted, the chocolate should look smooth and shiny. It should be free of any lumps and pour freely. Pour out onto a piece of wax paper. Roll pretzel rods in the chocolate until fully coated. Dip the heart shaped rice crispy treats in the chocolate or drizzle with a fork. Sprinkle with festive Valentine’s Day colors before the chocolate starts to harden.
I decided to get creative with some of the leftover chocolate and make a heart-shaped chocolate wafer. Start with a small circle of chocolate and use a butter knife or toothpick to move it around into the shape of a heart. When the chocolate hardens and dries, it will peel off the wax paper easily.

 

Chocolate Pops

Another fun and easy treat to make for your kids’ Valentine’s Day parties are chocolate pops.  Having boys, they definitely DO NOT allow me to make pink ones, but they like the red ones, white chocolate, or milk chocolate.  Attach a Valentine with a ribbon ad your treat is ready to go!  I can make these chocolate pops for about $0.10 each!  That is a huge savings from any ready-made candy that you might buy for your kids to hand out.

 

choc heart

 

Valentine Cards
Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like Captain America! I knew that my boys would like these Valentine’s Day cards when I bought them… last year, after Valentine’s Day. I got them on clearance, 90% off! So instead of paying $3.00 for the box of 27 valentines, I got it for $0.30! I also bought a few other boxes that I thought they might like since they were such a good deal. So instead of paying $12.00 for the 4 boxes of valentines that I bought, I only paid $1.20.

Valentine Cards
Time to put it all together!

Place two pretzel rods and one heart-shaped rice crispy treat in a treat bag, tie a ribbon around the top, and attach the valentine card! Great treat bags for my boys to hand out at their school parties, all for about $0.30 per bag!  Money Savvy and Delicious!

Treat Bag 2

Treat Bag

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hors D’oeuvre: Salami, Horseradish Cheese, and Sweet Oatmeal Crackers

Salami & Horseradish cheese

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is only a couple weeks away and the New Year is coming soon. Undoubtedly, you have been invited to several holiday parties; between family gatherings, work parties, neighborhood events, and your best friend’s annual Christmas party, your calendar is probably booked solid for the next few weeks.

It seems if you attend enough holiday parties, you start to notice a trend with the appetizers. First of all, there is a cheeseball at every party. EVERY PARTY. Nothing wrong with cheeseballs. In fact, they are pretty good, but it seems that around Christmas is the only time of year that you see them at parties. There are also the stand-by veggie and fruit trays, maybe even some sweet & sour meatballs and cocktail wieners– if you’re lucky. All of these things are great, but sometimes, you just want something different.

So here is an interesting spin on a traditional meat and cheese tray: dry salami bites & small wedges of horseradish cheese, served with sweet oatmeal crackers. The tang of the salami goes so well with the slightly hot horseradish cheese and is well-rounded out with a sweet oatmeal cracker. I arranged them on one tray in sections, but could be just as good stacking the salami and cheese on individual crackers. This is kind of a nice change of pace on its own, but it would work well served along with hummus.

Most grocery stores have a large cheese section and also have several gourmet-style crackers there as well. Get creative and pick some different cheeses. If you don’t know what something will taste like, ask for a sample.

Remember, if you are going to several holiday parties, you may want to buy a larger block of cheese that can be used for more than one event (**Money Savvy Tip: typically, the larger blocks of cheese are less expensive, if pre-packaged)

Here are some other great appetizer ideas for New Year’s Eve:

NYEAppCollage

1- Snowman Cheese Ball

2- Sausage & Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

3- Teriyaki Shrimp, Steak & Chicken Kabobs

4- Pimento Cheese

5- Cranberry Salsa

6- Pomegranate Pork Belly Crostini

7- Salami, Horseradish & Cheese Hors D’Oeuvre

8- Basil & Olive Oil Caprese Bites

9- Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Ball

10- Hot Cheesy Spinach & Red Pepper Artichoke Dip

11- Crockpot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Homemade Gourmet Chocolate

gourmet choc

Chocolate covered pretzels and marshmallows are always a big hit. By using different colors and toppings, these made a great take-home treat for my son’s birthday party! Not to mention that it was so much cheaper than buying party favor toys (which never seem to work or break easily) or having the bags of candy made at the bakery. Even buying just one chocolate covered pretzel stick at the grocery store is $1. Each goodie bag cost less than $0.40! Get creative with the colors and toppings and these can be delicious treats for birthdays, showers, or holiday parties!

So easy to make. Just melt the chocolate in the microwave, half power, in 30 second increments. Make sure you stir it between each 30 second heating stint to keep it melting equally throughout. If you don’t stir it each 30 seconds, it may get too hot on the edges and not be melted at all in the middle. You could also use a double boiler if you have one, but if you don’t, no worries… the microwave works just fine!

Once your chocolate is melted, dip your pretzels or marshmallows in the chocolate, let the excess drip off. Place on wax paper. Sprinkle with any decorative topping you want: sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed candy… You can also use a contrasting color of chocolate to drizzle across the top. Just dip a fork into the chocolate and gently move it back and forth over the top. So many ways to decorate!

Cake Pop Christmas Tree

Cake Pop Christmas Tree | Money Savvy Living

 

Are you looking for a centerpiece that is more than just pretty… look no further! This Christmas cake pop tree would make a great centerpiece for your holiday table. Not only is it festive for a holiday celebration, but the cake pops are sure to be a big hit too. And by the way, you can make it for less than $10 ($4 for the actual cake pops and about $6 for the Styrofoam display)! The recipe I use makes approximately 36 cake pops, so when you think about how much it would cost to buy 3 dozen cake pops at $1.50 per pop… well, you can see that you are make this for only a fraction of what it would cost to buy it ready-made.

 

Making the Cake Pops
There is no perfect science to making these, unless you buy a kit. I just made a spice cake, cooled it, and crumbled it up finely into a large mixing bowl. This is where you just kind of need to add spoonful by spoonful until you get to the right consistency. I ended up adding about 1/2 of a 16 oz. container of icing. Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands and mix it. You know it is ready when it can be rolled into cake balls about 1″ and they keep their form without falling apart.

 

Christmas Cake Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

Next you will put the sticks in for the cake pops. To do this, melt a small amount of chocolate wafers. You will dip the stick in the melted chocolate about 1/2 in then put into the cake ball. After these are all in, put in refrigerator to solidify the sticks so they hold.

 

Christmas Cake Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

After the chocolate has dried on the sticks and they are solidly in place, melt more chocolate wafers in a bowl. I melt them in the microwave at 50% power, in 30 second increments. Of course, you can use a double broiler as well. Just use whatever colors and flavors you want. Dip the pop in, swirl around until coated on all sides, let the excess drip off and then poke into a large piece of floral foam for the chocolate coating to dry. If you are going to decorate with sprinkles, nuts or any other candy crumbles, you will need to do this immediately because the chocolate will dry very quickly once on the cake pop.

 

Christmas Cake Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

Presentation is Everything!
I like to wrap each cake pop in it’s own individual candy bag and close it with a twist-tie or ribbon. From here, you can poke them into a decorated foam stand, lay them on a plate or pedestal, or whatever creative way you can think of!

For the Christmas Tree look:

  • I made a special cake pop for the star on top… just covered in white chocolate and then covered with yellow/gold sprinkles.
  • Each ornament cake pop is covered with different sprinkles and multi-colored tie twisties.
  • Spray paint a foam craft cone and glue it to a small cardboard cake plate.
  • Decorate with greenery, poinsettias, ribbons, berries…
fun, festive, and delicious!

fun, festive, and delicious!

Cookie Pops!

Cookie Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

Instead of making cookies for your child’s next birthday party or school party, add a fun twist with cookie pops.

All you have to do is:

  • make your favorite sugar cookie recipe
  • roll dough into 1 inch balls
  • insert a new popsicle stick (or cookie stick) in middle of ball
  • flatten slightly when you place on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for 1 minute before removing (otherwise the cookie will lose shape and the stick may fall out).

Let cool, frost, and decorate as desired.

I made these for my son’s birthday treat at school and the kids loved them… what a fun way to make a regular cookie new and exciting! It’s a pretty good deal when you consider this fun, homemade treat can be made for less than $0.10 each!  Very money savvy!

 

* Baking Tip: Soak popsicle stick or cookie stick in water before baking.  This will keep the stick from discoloring or burning.

Birthday Party Fun

Cupcakes make for a fun and festive kid birthday party… and they will save you a lot of money too! I made 24 cupcakes for less than $5. To buy a cake (or decorated cupcakes) for that many people would cost around $20. Use food coloring in white frosting to make several different colors and decorate with any sprinkles you like for cupcakes that match any birthday party theme!

Derek's 1st Birthday 003

I love to buy decorations to match the birthday party theme, but that can get expensive. A pack of 8 count charachter plates is usually around $2. I can get a pack of 60 solid color red plates, which will compliment the theme, for about $3. By mixing the the red plates, every-other-one, it becomes part of the theme, and saves money! Do the same with napkins to save even more.

Curious George Theme

Curious George Theme

When having a party in a smaller space or at home, it is a lot of fun to hang decorations from the ceiling. Instead of paying to have helium balloons floating near the ceiling, I use ribbon to hand balloon and theme decorations. The balloons are only a few cents each, while the theme ceiling decorations are nearly $1 each. Adding in the balloons gives nice color, makes the room festive, and again, saves money!

Decorative, fun parties don’t have to break the bank. Happy, savvy birthday party planning!