Aug. 10, 2013 -- intro:
Don't you hate it when you realize after your birthday that you missed out on loads of freebies that could have helped you celebrate your big day even more? Here's a list of national deals that you should note ahead of your next birthday.
Gone are the days when companies would give you a break just by showing them your ID with date of birth. Most of the companies in this list, with the exception of retailers like fast-food chain Jack in the Box, require customers to sign up ahead of time for the special treatment.
Make sure to read the fine print, and don't give out any more personal information than you have to. Of note, most of these companies require registrants to be 18 years or older and a couple deals require showing an ID at the business, even after you've signed up for their customer loyalty program online.
quicklist: title: Aveda category: skincare sample or offer text: Provide an email address on Aveda.com and "get an exclusive offer on your birthday every year."
quicklist: title: Applebee's category: "Birthday special" text: Sign up for Applebee's email club and get a "birthday special."
quicklist: title: Au Bon Pain category: free sandwich or salad text: Au Bon Pain eClub members have in the past reported a free sandwich or salad on their birthday. Must be 18 years or older to join.
quicklist: title: Baskin Robbins category: ice cream text: The national ice cream chain invites people to join its birthday club and "Get a free ice cream email on your birthday and a special discount on a birthday cake."
quicklist: title: Ben and Jerry's category: ice cream text: Become a ChunkSpelunker and get a free scoop of ice cream when you sign up, plus free ice cream on your birthday. There's also a monthly drawing for a chance to win a year's supply of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Ben and Jerry's is one of the few companies that promises to limit the number of emails to about once a month.
quicklist: title: Benihana category: Free $30 certificate for Japanese cooking text: During the month of your birthday, Benihana will email you a $30 certificate.
quicklist: title: BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse category: Free Pizookie dessert text: BJ's restaurants in 15 states offered a complimentary mini-Pizookie dessert, a smaller version of their signature dessert: a giant cookie topped with ice cream in a deep dish.
quicklist: title: Buca De Beppo category: free appetizer text: The Italian restaurant chain offers a free appetizer or specialty bread when you sign up for its e-club, plus a free appetizer on your birthday.
quicklist: title: Caribou Coffee category: free drink text: Bring an email from Caribou plus your photo ID on your birthday to a Caribou Coffee for a free drink.
quicklist: title: Chevy's category: free entree text: Tex-Mex restaurant Chevy's offers birthday and anniversary gifts, such as a free entree.
quicklist: title: Chili's category: free dessert text: Though Chili's email club doesn't specify what you can get, birthday customers have received free desserts in the past. Signing up for the email list yields free chips and salsa, guacamole or skillet queso with an adult entree purchase.
quicklist: title: Del Taco category: free premium shake text: Join Del Taco's Raving Fan Club and get a vanilla, chocolate or strawberry premium shake on your birthday. You can also get two free grilled chicken tacos after you first sign up.
quicklist: title: Denny's category: free Grand Slam breakfast text: Get a free Grand Slam breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage) on the day of your birthday with a valid ID.
quicklist: title: Dippin' Dots category: free cup of Dippin' Dots text: Sign up for "the coolest club on the planet," according to ice cream maker Dippin' Dots, and get a free cup of the bite-size ice cream dessert.
quicklist: title: Hooters category: 10 free wings text: Sign up for Hooters' eClub and get 10 free wings.
quicklist: title: IHOP category: Free Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity text: On your birthday, the International House of Pancakes will email you an offer for a free Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity -- two eggs, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links and two buttermilk pancakes -- or a menu item of equal or lesser value. You'll also get a free meal on the anniversary of your first signing up with the restaurant chain.
quicklist: title: Jack in the Box category: free dessert text: Just print a coupon from Jackinthebox.com and bring a valid ID for a free chocolate overload cake or New York cheesecake.
quicklist: title: Krispy Kreme category: free doughnut and small coffee or fountain drink text: Sign up to become a friend of Krispy Kreme and get a free doughnut and small coffee or soft drink on your birthday, plus a coupon for a free doughnut, which expires two weeks after registering.
quicklist: title: LongHorn Steakhouse category: free dessert text: Though it's not stated on the website, LongHorn Steakhouse has offered a free dessert to past birthday customers who sign up for the LongHorn Hospitality Club. For joining, you get a free appetizer.
quicklist: title: Rita's Italian Ice category: free birthday treat text: Birthday customers who sign up for Rita's birthday club get a "free birthday treat," which in the past has been a free regular Italian ice.
quicklist: title: Sephora category: free makeup text: Cosmetics retailer Sephora's Birthday Insiders get free samples of makeup, such as lip gloss or mascara, but customers typically have to make an online purchase.
quicklist: title: Sonic category: free birthday treat text: Sonic Cruisers Club members get a free "birthday treat," which have included in the past free tator tots, drinks or creamslush.
quicklist: title: Starbucks category: free drink text: Sign up for a Starbucks account, load a $5 gift card and get a free drink on your birthday loaded onto your card, which usually expires at least a month after your day of birth.
Share your tips in the comments below for the best birthday freebies in your neighborhood or at national retailers.