Hurray! Annual Freebie Calendar

Photo: Jayel Aheram

Don't you hate it when you find out today was free ice cream day by seeing photos on Facebook of your friends chowing down? Print out this calendar of the freebies that tend to come up year after year, and you'll never be caught unawares. (See also: How to Watch Movies in the Theater for Free)


New Year's Day freebies on Jan. 1 have included free coffee at Sheetz (seriously, this is the name of a store chain), and in a few areas, a whole box of Dunkin' Donuts for the first few customers of the morning.


IHOP usually gives away short stacks of pancakes once a year, on or near "Pancake Day," or Shrove Tuesday. In 2012, this was Feb. 28.

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day comes between late March and early May.


Every year a number of businesses offer something free on Tax Day, on or around April 15. Past Tax Day offers have included coffee at Starbucks and food at Panda Express, Cinnabon, and Arby's. Also watch for local Tax Day promotions, like special happy hours.

In the past, Baskin Robbins has offered its cones for 31 cents apiece in April — not free but almost. In 2012 they didn't host this event.


The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day — check to see if your local shop is participating.

Haagen-Dazs usually chooses a day in May to give out free cones.

May 8 is Teacher Appreciation Day, and Buca di Beppo, OfficeMax, and others have offered teachers goodies around then. Homeschooling parents can sometimes collect those freebies as well.

National Nurse's Week falls in May, and certain chains such as Cinnabon and Buca di Beppo like to treat healthcare workers to a little sumpin-sumpin.

For the Mommas has a nice list of Mother's Day freebies that were offered this year, including a free cone at TCBY and some buy one, get one free offers.


The first Friday in June is National Donut Day. Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts, and other shops have offered a free donut on this day in recent years, sometimes requiring a purchase.

A lesser-known freebie day, Free Roll-Playing Game Day, was celebrated on June 16 in 2012.

Free Fishing Days (PDF), when you can fish without a license, are locally scheduled by individual states, but most of them fall in June.

Dads can usually snag some freebies on Father's Day, such as free breakfast at Ikea and buy one, get one free coffee at Caribou.


Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has been known to give out free Slurpees to celebrate its "birthday" on July 11.


Whether you have kids in school or not, you should pay attention to the ads at office supply stores as summer winds down. As they compete to bring in back-to-school shoppers, OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples often offer a few items for free. Sometimes the goods are free upfront — usually smaller things like a pack of crayons or pencils. More expensive items, like backpacks, may be offered free or for a penny after rebate.


In honor of Make-a-Wish Month, Cold Stone Creamery usually holds The World's Largest Ice Cream Social during September, where you get a free creation and are invited to donate to Make-a-Wish. Last year, this happened on Sept. 27.


Walgreens often offers free photo collages around Halloween.

Chipotle used to give away a free burrito to kids who dressed like one on Halloween, but in recent years they've charged $2 for it — still a frightfully good deal.


On Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving), you can often find department store coupons for $10 off any purchase, which can lead to a free $10 item. Sometimes restaurants offer free coffee and other treats to tired shoppers.

Your Birthday

This is the best freebie day of the year! You can sign up for everything from free ice cream to free meals — and many, many local bars will give you a free drink as well. You can also check out our Big List of Birthday Freebies.

What did we miss? Leave your own favorite annual freebie in the comments.

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Guest's picture

Good to know. I can put these on my calendar. Even though some events reoccur, it's hard to keep track.