Next time you have a birthday, wish for a month of gifts before you blow out that candle. Then get it, girlfriend: Plano woman Nicole Ido did.
Leading up to her 30th birthday, she started getting birthday freebies via email. It sparked an idea: Why not celebrate her 30th birthday by nabbing 30 days of freebie deals (plus one to grow on)?From her favorite coffee joint to her favorite sushi spot, Ido tallied that her 20 hours of researching netted her about $200 worth of stuff in 30 days. All for nothing!
Her friends got in on it, too, and soon she had enough freebies to last all month.
"It was so much fun when the salesperson would get excited for me and wish me a happy birthday," Ido says. "I thought places might be annoyed with the coupons, but almost all of them were so nice about it."
What's more, she says there are "probably hundreds of deals out there I missed," she says. Some of her favorite freebies included bareMinerals eye makeup, a smoothie from Jamba Juice and a scoop of ice cream from Baskin-Robbins.
"I had such a nice experience with the majority of the brands, that I know I'll choose them over other places in the future," Ido said. "I barely shopped with bareMinerals before, but they got me into the store to pick up my freebie and I ended up finding other things I liked."
As an associate creative director at Golin, an integrated PR agency, Ido says the 30-day experiment was especially interesting from a branding perspective.
Coupon clippers, want to test out her 30 days of deals? We've rounded them up:
1. Sephora — free Tarte lipstick and blush (worth $10)
2. Auntie Anne's — free pretzel (worth $3.79)
3. Sprinkles — free cupcake (worth $3.75)
4. Nothing Bundt Cakes — free Bundtlet (worth $3.99)
5. Coffee House Cafe — free entrée (worth $10.99)
6. Dickey's — free drink (worth $2.50)
7. IHOP — free Rooty Tooty stack of pancakes (worth $7.49)
8. Ulta — free NYX Cosmetics eye shadow palette (worth $16)
9. Benihana — free $30 gift certificate; can only use with purchase of another entrée (worth $30)
10. Jamba Juice — free smoothie (worth $4.69)
11. Starbucks — free drink (worth ~ $4.50)
12. Corner Bakery — free sweet treat (worth $2.69)
13. Cinnabon — free Minibon (worth $2.83)
14. Sbarro — free slice with purchase of a drink (worth $3.79)
15. WingStop — free large fries (worth $3.19)
16. Kona Grill — $15 gift certificate (worth $15)
17. bareMinerals — free eye color (worth $15)
18. La Madeleine — free pastry (worth $2)
19. Yogurtland — free 3 ounces of froyo (worth $1)
20. Dunkin Donuts — free drink (worth $1.07)
21. Boston Market — free side or dessert (worth $2.39)
22. Steak 'n Shake — free burger and fries, and they threw in a drink (worth $3.99)
23. Taco Bueno — free cheesecake chimichangas (worth $2.69)
24. Which Wich — free 7-inch sandwich (worth $6)
25. Zoe's Kitchen — free dessert (worth $2.39)
26. Kohl's — $5 birthday reward (worth $5)
27. Sonic — small classic milkshake (worth $2.79)
28. Jersey Mike's — free regular sub and drink (worth $10.06)
29. Baskin-Robbins — free scoop of ice cream (worth $3.07)
30. Alamo Drafthouse — free movie ticket for being a Victory Member (worth $10.16)
And one to grow on: Panera — free muffin