With much of the last year spend in lockdown, birthday celebrations have not been particularly exciting this year.
Many people have spent their big day stuck at home, banned from the pub, and unable to see their friends and family (at least not in the flesh).
It's definitely a good excuse to make next year's birthday extra special.
The financial gurus over at MoneySavingExpert.com have compiled a list of items that you can nab on your birthday for no extra cost.
Most of these items are accessible by simply signing up to newsletters or boasting a loyalty card, so from doughnuts to cocktails, here are all the things you can use to celebrate your big day – free of charge.
1. Free Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
By downloading the 'Krispy Kreme Rewards' app for Apple and Android and using it to register for the free loyalty scheme, you can get a voucher to show in a Krispy Kreme store for one free doughnut of your choice for your birthday – these range in price from £1.35 to £1.75. You can also get a free glazed doughnut for your children or partner via the app on their birthdays.
Up to three children aged under 12 can be registered for their birthday doughnut. Unfortunately, these offers are only valid in Krispy Kreme stores and not concessions, eg, in Tesco. You will even receive a free doughnut just for signing up. The free birthday doughnut is valid for two months from the moment you receive the offer – see full T&Cs.
You can actually sign up without even downloading the app, joining the 'Krispy Kreme Rewards' loyalty scheme via email will mean you can still receive your doughnut.
2. Free sweet treat from Greggs
This voucher is valid in all Greggs stores other than ones situated in Scotland. Downloading the Greggs app for Apple or Android will help you register for the free 'Greggs Rewards' loyalty scheme, which will provide you with a voucher on the app to show in a store for one free cupcake, cream cake or doughnut for your birthday.
The voucher is valid for one month from your birthday.
3. Free £5ish Crepe from Crepeaffaire
Download the Crêpeaffaire Club app to access a free crêpe worth £5 on your birthday, this includes all dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options. The app can also be used to start collecting stamps, which can in turn result in another free crêpe.
The dessert chain boasts 16 UK locations (find your nearest) that are open for takeaway during lockdown and the voucher will automatically appear in the app on your birthday.
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Crêpeaffaire told MoneySavingExpert.com that "all users with a birthday during lockdown have [vouchers with] an indefinite use by date".
4. Free Muffin Break Muffin
By visiting a Muffin Break you can pick up a rewards card, before then registering it online in time to be eligible for a free muffin on your birthday.
You can also collect stamps for each hot drink you buy before getting your sixth hot drink free. You'll also get an extra free coffee just for joining the scheme.
5. £5 off Hotel Chocolat
Downloading the Hotel Chocolat app will allow you to register for its VIP club to access a 'surprise gift' – usually £5 off a £5+ spend – for your birthday.
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Due to lockdown restrictions forcing all Hotel Chocolat stores to close – the voucher will have to be used via an online delivery.
The voucher is valid for the month of your birthday, unless you sign up during that month, then it will be valid from the following month. See full T&Cs.
Signing up to the loyalty app will also see you gain access to a code for 15% off all online products (as stores are still closed). After stores reopen, you can also show your card or app in-store to get 20% off drinks, ice lollies, or ice creams.
6. Frankie & Benny's FREE birthday main meal OR one bottle of Prosecco for £10
This voucher is only applicable when you buy one other main meal.
Registering with the Frankie & Bennie's rewards scheme will allow you to choose between one free main meal (when another main has been purchased) or a bottle of Prosecco for just £10.
A voucher will be emailed to you 10 days prior to your birthday (so be sure to sign up in advance), which you can print or show on your smartphone, and will be valid for 50 days from the date of the email.
This offer is valid at all Frankie & Benny’s or Little Frankie’s restaurants, barring ones at airports, but isn't valid with any other offer or discount.
7. A Beefeater 'free' birthday main meal
This is one that will have to wait until restaurants reopen, but when they do – grab a loyalty card and register with the Beefeater 'Reward Club' to get one free meal (usually between £9ish-£21ish) around your birthday when at least one other main meal is purchased from the main menu.
Though it is valid at most Beefeater restaurants, it is not valid when used alongside other vouchers.
Every person that joins the 'Reward Club' is greeted with a £5 welcome bonus. From there, you can collect five points per £1 spent, and when you've reached 500 points you can exchange them for £5 off your bill, a free bottle of wine, or two free starters or desserts.
If your birthday arrives before lockdown restrictions are lifted, fear not – Beefeater says that "any points, converted vouchers, or celebration vouchers that are due to expire while we are closed will be honoured once we re-open, so you won't miss out".
8. Pizza Express 'free' bottle of Prosecco (when you buy two main meals)
All you have to do is sign up to the Pizza Express Newsletter and you can get a 'free' bottle of prosecco to drink with your food when you purchase two main meals.
As it is an alcoholic beverage, you'll need to remember to bring proof of ID.
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You are unable to get more than one bottle per table or group, and must use the offer within two weeks before or after your birthday. Much like many of the previously mentioned offers, it can not be used alongside any other voucher.
9. All Bar One 'free' sharing cocktail
This voucher can be cashed in alongside the purchase of two main meals.
Simply sign up to the All Bar One newsletter via the app and you'll receive a voucher for a birthday treat, a 'Blossom Birdcage' sharing cocktail when you have already bought two main meals.
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If cocktails are not your beverage of choice, you can ask for four bottles of Peroni, draught soft drinks or 'Twisted Tonics' as an alternative. The offer is only available for those above the age of 18, and not valid in airport locations.
All Bar One have taken the liberty of extending birthday deals for a month as bars are still closed due to lockdown.
10. Miller & Carter 'free' champagne
Providing you have purchased four steaks and are already signed up to Miller & Carter's newsletter, you are eligible for a free bottle of champagne or prosecco.
You have to sign up at least two weeks in advance to get your birthday voucher.
11. Fridays 'free' birthday drinks
Download the free Fridays UK rewards app to your phone to get up to six free cocktails or mocktails. You can get one free drink with every main meal you buy, though this doesn't include 'ultimate' cocktails.
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The voucher will be waiting in the app for you seven days before your birthday, and must be used on or before the expiry date shown in the app.
This offer is not available in Northern Island.
12. Free Boost birthday drink
Register a Boost 'VIBE' loyalty card to receive one free drink (between £3-£5) up to three days prior to, or up to three days after, your birthday.
This is another voucher that will have to wait until lockdown measures are eased.
Once you are part of the Boost 'VIBE' loyalty scheme, you can collect one point for every drink you buy, which can be exchanged for a free drink when you have nine points.
13. FREE £5 spend at Body Shop
By signing up to the Body Shop 'Love Your Body' loyalty card, you can get a free £5 to spend online on your birthday. Traditionally, the voucher was also valid in-store, but lockdown rules means all non-essential retail stores are closed.
The voucher is valid for up to one month after your birthday. There's no change from the £5, and you have to have made at least one purchase using the card previously within the past 12 months to be eligible.
14. Triple points at Superdrug
Signing up to the free Superdrug 'Health & Beautycard' loyalty card will make you eligible for triple points on purchases with no minimum spend. The offer is valid for 14 days from your birthday.
15. 25% off of one item at H&M
To receive a 25% discount on any item at H&M, you must sign up as a member via H&M's app or website.
You will be sent a unique code which will unlock your discount, which is valid for two weeks after your birthday.
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