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Freebies for Your Birthday

You say it's your birthday? Adults, kids and even pets can get a little something extra on their special day by signing up for retailers' birthday clubs. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, explains what you can get, and how to take advantage of the programs.

First, check with your favorite food establishments to see if they offer a birthday club. Coldstone Creamery, Baskin Robbins and Dairy Queen all offer free ice cream for consumers of all ages. Starbucks customers get a free coffee, and Firehouse Subs offers a free sandwich. Usually this signs you up for sale emails year round, so set up a separate address so you don't get buried. And bring your wallet too because you're usually on the hook for the sales tax.

Dinner deals are also available. Benihana and McCormick & Schmicks both offer a $30 birthday dining credit for loyalty club members. Restaurants are hoping, of course, that you're going to bring paying friends and family with you. There are a lot of restaurant promotions out there right now, so check for ongoing specials to make sure you're not missing a better deal.

You might even get apparel discounts. Express, Old Navy and New York & Company are among the retailers offering extra discounts during your birthday month. Old Navy, for example, offers $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. But to get the deal, you usually need to pay with your store credit card account. Rates can be as high as 30%, so don't take the deal if it means carrying a balance.

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Some retailers also offer beauty freebies. Aveda and Sephora both offer beauty products to consumers who sign up for their free birthday clubs. Usually, the deals are sample-size items. This year, Sephora's is a set of eye shadow, liner and mascara. It's a nice freebie to redeem at the register.

And you're pet can even get birthday freebies. Petco offers a birthday club for your pets, with a 10% discount during their birth month. Not sure of the exact day? Use their adoption date, or a day of your choosing.

For more tips on how to get birthday deals and other personal finance topics, please click here.
by Kelli Grant and Jenn Eaker

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