Celebrate for free on your birthday

HOUSTON Free food and entertainment, gift certificates and discount cards... Great birthday gifts, right? But they're not from your friends. They're from retailers hoping to get you in the door.

"You can get so many things on your birthday," said Super Saver Erin Libranda. "From free Blue Bell to Coldstone, Marble Slab, kids eat free places."

But anyone can take advantage of the offers. Want a free birthday latte or cappuccino at Starbucks? Just register online and you'll receive a postcard in the mail.

How about a free lunch? If you join the Firehouse Subs birthday club online, you'll get a postcard in the mail good for a free eight inch sub. That's a savings of up to $5.79.

"In today's economy, it's actually nice to walk into a place and get something for free, especially on your birthday," said Jeff Lepow with Firehouse Subs.

If shopping is your thing, shoe lovers may want to take advantage of the DSW free loyalty program. Not only do you get advance notice of sales and clearance items, but you also get a five dollar gift certificate to spend in the store any day of your birthday month. You can sign up in the store or online.

A lot of clothing stores are doing the same thing, like White House Black Market. By joining the store's Black Book Club, you'll be the first to know about new collections, sales and offers. Once you spend $300 in the store, on your birthday you'll receive a $10 gift card -- no strings attached, it's just like cash.

Libranda explained, "The key is getting signed up on those websites. You get the email and get the snail mail coupon printed and take it to the place and get your free item."

If you want to spend your birthday on the sofa, you might want to hit Hollywood Video. Here you get a free rental on your birthday. It includes everyone who is on the membership account and that can add up to several free movies a year.

Keep in mind, most businesses that offer birthday bargains require you to sign up at the store or online. It may mean more emails in your box, but the savings can really add up.

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