MONEY freebies

Free Smoothies at White Castle on Sunday

White Castle restaurant sign
K. L. Howard—Alamy

Who knew White Castles had smoothies?

White Castle wants you know it’s come a long way from its days as a beloved late-night greasy burger hangout for Harold and Kumar, the Beastie Boys, and their legions of followers. White Castle now has restaurants in the West—Las Vegas, where a location on the Strip has generated record-setting sales—and the menu has been expanded to include new flavors (Sriracha sliders) and even some healthy(ish) options.

The “Original Slider” chain introduced veggie sliders to the menu late last year, and in recent weeks it rolled out a choice of two new fruit smoothies: Peach and Strawberry Banana. Both flavors are made with Dole fruit and Yoplait low-fat yogurt.

And here’s your excuse to give the chain’s smoothies a taste: On Sunday, May 24, customers who present this coupon at participating White Castle locations are welcomed to their choice of smoothie in a 10-oz. size.

MONEY freebies

Score Free Rides From Uber, Lyft and Sidecar

Lyft pink mustache
Paul Bersebach—The Orange County Register/Zuma Lyft

Hint: tell a friend

The story of Blake Jareds acts as both travel hack inspiration and a cautionary tale. Last year, the Long Island native was able to rack up $50,000 in Uber credit via referral codes, but that reward was reduced to $500 when Uber took notice of his exorbitant earnings. However, the way he went about it is pretty savvy — first he created his own legit-looking custom promo code (“UBER$20FREERIDE”) to help with search engine optimization, and then he posted that code to Reddit’s eFreebies section, where it picked up viral steam.

Although Uber now has rules in place about making codes available to the general public (beyond your own network reach) or paying to advertise them, we can all take a few tips from Jareds’ approach to snagging free rides on services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. (After all, even celebs like Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg, and Neil Patrick Harris have gotten in on the action, referring their massive Twitter followers.) And even if you don’t have quite the large fan base that Lohan, Snoop, and Harris do, you can still earn valuable coin toward free rides.

Here’s how each company’s referral program works:


As an Uber user, both you and the new user you refer will receive a $20 credit in your respective accounts. You can even create your own personalized promo code so that it’s easier to remember and share with others. (Here’s a useful primer on referral codes, although it’s written from a driver’s perspective rather than a rider; the advice still works, though.) As of now, there’s no ceiling to the amount of credit you can earn — although it must be earned legitimately.


Like Uber, both referrer and referee get a $20 credit, and a unique personalized referral code can be created. Unlike Uber, Lyft has a lifetime referral ceiling of $15,000 maximum. However, Lyft is currently sweetening the deal with a promotion in 19 of its markets: Refer three friends and get $60 in referral credits, plus $25 in bonus credits. Refer five friends, and get a $100 credit, plus $50 in bonus credits. Refer 10 friends, and get $200 in referral credits, plus $100 in bonus credits.


Through its “Refer-a-Friend” program, new users get $20 in ride credit, while the referring user gets $10 to use toward future Sidecar rides. Currently, Sidecar is only available in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C. Users can also save up to 50% off by taking advantage of its unique ride-sharing program.

Extending Your Referral Reach

These amounts are often in flux, as each company often runs promotions or adjusts the current amount of credit given. Consider subscribing to the Uber Blog, Lyft Blog, and Sidecar Blog to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest savings.

Also, think about ways you can pump up your earning prospects by reaching out to your greater network. Are you a blogger? Share your referral code with your readers. Have a lot of Facebook friends? Let them know about your unique code — and reap the rewards! Work at a place that gets a lot of foot traffic? Put out referral cards on your desk or another common area, and watch the referrals roll in. (Here’s more information on how to order snazzy-looking Lyft referral cards and Uber referral cards.)

And if you’re in a market where Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar is relatively new, take advantage of your early adapter savvy by making others the wiser. (Here’s a great blog post from someone who snagged $1,500 in Uber credits by spreading the word when the service came to State College, Pennsylvania.) Unlike some programs, it’s a win-win situation for people on either side of the referral — and you might be surprised at how quickly the credits stack up.

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MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Memorial Day Sales Are On!

You don't have to wait for the weekend to snag Memorial Day sales.

It’s a good week to save on home goods and sporting equipment during Memorial Day sales, plus a big sale on iPads and free jazz album downloads.

Here are our top choices for bargains this week:

Shop Early Memorial Day Sales

Memorial Day isn’t until next week, but the sales have already begun. Sears, Overstock, and Cymax all offer savings on home goods like mattresses, furniture, and tools, while Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods are slashing prices on outdoors and sporting equipment. Overall the discounts amount to up to 60% to 70% off, but your total savings could be even higher at other stores through some special holiday coupon codes; while you wait for additional sales to be unveiled, brush up on what the best deals will be with our Memorial Day sales guide.

Expand Your Musical Knowledge for Free

If you’ve been meaning to learn more about the classic jazz musicians that continue to inspire generations of singers and instrumentalists, now is the time. Google Play is offering several MP3 album downloads for free, starting with a “best of” record for the legend Miles Davis. There’s also a free compilation for the equally renowned Billie Holiday, as well as a “Jazz Pioneers” primer featuring talents like Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and Eartha Kitt. Normally, these albums would sell for about $28 total.

Fitness Equipment for the Home

The arrival of Memorial Day signals the unofficial start to the summer beach season, which in turn might elicit some groans about one’s personal fitness. There’s still time to tone for the season though, especially as Walmart offers stellar savings on some home fitness equipment. Snag either the Bowflex PR1000 for $349 or the Bowflex PR3000 for $649, both at the lowest price we could find by at least $112. The best part? Shipping is free, so you can avoid store pickup and save the heavy lifting for after the equipment is in your home.

The Cheapest iPad You Can Get

At this point, many American households already own one tablet, and consumers are now starting to add second and third tablets to their device lineup. This 16GB Apple iPad mini — in white/silver or space gray/black — for $199.99 is ideal as a secondary slate, because it’s the cheapest Apple tablet you can get without resorting to refurbs. Sure, it’s the first generation model, but that’s why the savings are so strong. (Apple still sells the original mini for $249, whereas the mini 2 sells for $299.) This deal is also good for anyone who is cautiously considering giving the tablet trend a try.

Amazing bargains pop up at any given moment, so consider signing up for a daily email digest from DealNews to have the best offers sent directly to your inbox.

MONEY freebies

Get Two Free Sliders at White Castle on Friday

White Castle sliders
Najlah Feanny—Corbis White Castle sliders

What, you didn't know that Friday was National Slider Day?

Friday, May 15, is being celebrated as the first-ever National Slider Day at White Castle, the home of the original slider—named by TIME as the Most Influential Burger ever for its role in fostering the fast food burger movement.

To celebrate this totally fake, made-up “holiday,” White Castle plans on giving away 10,000 burgers in “Random Acts of Crave” giveaways to customers on Friday, one 10-pack of sliders at a time. Customers who bring in this coupon on Friday at participating White Castle locations are also entitled to their choice of two sliders, free of charge.

Somewhere, Harold and Kumar, the <a href=”http://Beastie Boys” target=”_blank”>Beastie Boys, and other White Castle lovers are smiling.

MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Cheapest China Trip, Free Target Gift Card

Chinese Ethnic Culture Park and Olympic Stadium, Beijing, China
José Fuste Raga—agefotostock Chinese Ethnic Culture Park and Olympic Stadium, Beijing, China

A special promotion brings a seven-night package to Beijing and Shanghai down to the lowest price we've seen in years. Or stay put and score a free $20 gift card at Target, or a (mostly) free desktop calendar from Walgreens.

Here are our top choices for bargains this week:

It Pays to Do Back-to-School Shopping Early

It’s just about time to start thinking about all the necessities your college-bound student will need before heading off for some higher learning, and Target is making it easier on your wallet. The first 50,000 people to create an online college registry with Target worth $500 or more before May 16 will receive a free $20 Target gift card. (It will be mailed to you within three weeks.) Plus, the next time a family member asks how they can help out, you can just direct them to the registry. Any way you can save money for college will help!

A Freebie That’s Ideal for Father’s Day

Another fantastic freebie this week comes from Walgreens. Normally this personalized desktop calendar costs $9.99, but coupon code “TOPOFDESK” cuts it to $0. Unfortunately you’ll have to shell out $5.95 for shipping, but that’s exceptionally cheap for a custom-made calendar. Mother’s Day has passed, but consider loading up some pictures for a nice Father’s Day treat. Deal ends May 13.

A Lot of Luxury at a Little Price

It’s rare for luxury brands to offer steep discounts, which is why this clearance sale from Cole Haan is so juicy. Predominantly known for high-end leather goods, the store is taking an extra 40% off both men’s and women’s clearance shoes, handbags, and accessories via coupon code “EXTRA40.” That’s the best discount we’ve seen from Cole Haan this year, knocking many items to exceptionally low prices. We recommend stocking up on some quintessential ballet flats while the shopping is hot. Deal ends May 13.

The Cheapest Way to Visit China

Smart travelers know that in order to save mucho dinero on a trip, you have to be flexible with your vacation dates. Case in point: If you don’t mind waiting until January 2016 to embark on this Beijing and Shanghai 7-night vacation package for two people, then you’ll pay only $2,198 total, which is the best price we’ve seen for anyweek-long Chinese vacation. You’ll save up to $1,580, which is no small chunk of change. The trip includes round-trip airfare from the U.S., hotels in Beijing and Shanghai, flights between the two cities, meals, and sightseeing tours, so it’s perfect for a traveler who gets overwhelmed by choice. Book this travel deal by May 27.

Amazing bargains pop up at any given moment, so consider signing up for a daily email digest from DealNews to have the best offers sent directly to your inbox.

MONEY freebies

Haagen-Dazs Gives Away Free Ice Cream on Tuesday, May 12

Franziska Krug—Getty Images for Haagen-Dazs

Hit up Haagen-Dazs on Tuesday for a free cone or cup of ice cream in whatever flavor you want.

Following on the heels of recent ice cream giveaways from Carvel, Ben & Jerry’s, and Dairy Queen, Haagen-Dazs is hosting a Free Cone Day on Tuesday, May 12. That may be a slight misnomer because freebies are not available for the whole day. Instead, the giveaways are limited to 4 p.m. through 8 p.m. at participating Haagen-Dazs locations.

But “Free Cone Day” sounds a lot better than something like “Free Ice Cream for Four Hours Day.” Here are the rest of the pertinent details explained in the promotion’s fine print:

Stop by any participating U.S. store and get one free kiddie size ice cream in either a cup, sugar cone, or cake cone… Limit 1 kiddie scoop per guest. All other menu items are regular price.

In any event, free ice cream! Enjoy Free Cone Day—or whatever you want to call it—at Haagen-Dazs on Tuesday afternoon or evening.

MONEY Transportation

It’s Bike to Work Week! Commuter Freebies and 4 Tips for First-Timers

Bicycle commuters crossing the Hawthorne Bridge.
Diane Cook & Len Jenshel—Getty Images/National Geographic

Riding a bike to work is a great way to save money and get exercise at the same time. And if ever there was a time you'd consider commuting by bicycle, it's Bike to Work Week, May 11 to 15.

May is National Bike Month, and in 2015, May 11 to 15 is Bike to Work Week, wrapping up with another self-explanatory event, Bike to Work Day, on Friday, May 15. Proponents of commuting by bicycle point out that more than half the U.S. population lives within five miles of where they work. So basically there’s a 50-50 chance you have no good excuse for not participating.

Then again, data cited recently by FiveThirtyEight pointed out that 51% of Americans say they never ride bikes, and 6% don’t even know how to ride bikes. Folks in the Northeast are particularly likely to be clueless on bikes—sadly, 12% say they don’t know how to ride, compared with just 3% in Midwest.

If ever there was a time to give bicycle commuting a try, it’s Bike to Work Week. It always takes place in May, when the days should pleasantly be neither too hot nor too cold pretty much everywhere in the country. Most big and mid-size cities offer promotions and host special events for Bike to Work Week, including free bike repair tutorials and free public transportation for those who want to ride bikes for only part of their commutes. Here are some of the details, as well as a few tips for riders pedaling along on Bike to Work Week (or Day) for the first time.

Take advantage of freebies. To get more commuters off the road and onto bikes, many communities around the country offer perks during Bike to Work Week. Metrolink train rides in Los Angeles will be free all week for passengers commuting with a bike, as will public transportation in places like Quad Cities around southeastern Iowa and Springfield, Mo., where local businesses and community centers are also welcoming bicycle commuters to use their facility’s hot showers, free of charge. Along the New Hampshire seacoast, meanwhile, a string of restaurants are providing bike commuters with free breakfasts, and several free clinics are being conducted to teach newbies how to fix flat tires.

Don’t get overwhelmed with tons of gear. It’s a good idea for anyone who rides a bike to know how to patch a tire. But let’s be honest: If you get a flat on your way to or from work, you’re going to whip out your phone and call somebody and beg to get picked up. Or you’ll order an Uber ride or hook up with the nearest public transportation option. The point is that it’s not necessary to get bogged down loading up with gear in anticipation of every potential pitfall during a cycling commute. Yes, it’s wise to have a patch kit, multi-tool, pump, and spare tube—which don’t take up much space—any time you’re on a bike. But above all, don’t use your lack of fancy gear as the excuse you’re not pedaling to work.

Forget cycling apparel. Wear a helmet. Other than that, no other bikewear is necessary, assuming your commute isn’t 30 miles of windy hills—and assuming you don’t have to wear a skirt or a suit and tie at work. “You don’t have to wear special cycling gear in order to ride a bike, everyday clothes work just fine,” advises the League of American Bicyclists, a nonprofit whose mission is fostering safe, bike-friendly communities. “If your bike doesn’t have a chain guard, you can keep your pants away from the chain by rolling up your pant leg or using a leg band.”

Plot the most sensible route. If your bicycling commute route isn’t obvious, do a little research. The shortest ride by distance is not necessarily the easiest or smartest way to go. It’s often worth it to go a bit out of your way to hook up with rail trails and other paths reserved for non-automobile traffic, or at least to ride on roads with dedicated bike lines or extra-wide shoulders. Map My Ride will not only find bike-friendly options, it’ll detail elevation changes on any given route. (In general, beginners want the flattest trip possible.) Google Maps has a bicycling route search option too, and most metro areas (Boston, as one example) publish maps highlighting bike-friendly terrain. Your local bike shop will have good advice too—not just for commuter routes, but pretty much everything having to do with cycling.

Scope out the basics ahead of time. Get a good lock and know where you’re going to stash your bike during the work day. Figure out the options for grabbing a shower, or at least washing up after the commute—if this is your first-ever time riding to work, you’ll probably be sweatier than you imagine. Perhaps your gym is nearby, or there are showers in the office. Check the weather too. Riding in the rain can be misery. If you get soaked on your first bike commute, it may wind up being your last bike commute.

MONEY deals

10 Best Mother’s Day Freebies & Deals (and an Unsolicited Warning)

TGI Friday's
Chris Ison—AP

For Mother's Day, restaurants ranging from TGI Friday's to Hooters are going all out to honor moms with free desserts and entrées and half-price wine. But first, before biting, a quick word of caution.

Taking mom somewhere she doesn’t want to go—Hooters, we’re looking at you—is bad enough on Mother’s Day. And taking her somewhere she hates solely because there’s a deal is doubly bad: It demonstrates you’re not only insensitive but unabashedly cheap as well.

Then again, surveys show that moms teach us a lot about money, and hopefully that includes advice on how to use it wisely in appreciation of the ones we love. If you know your mother well, you should have a good idea of what her reaction would be to being “treated” to a free meal on Mother’s Day. For that matter, bear in mind that what moms seem to want most for Mother’s Day may not cost you a dime.

In any event, here are the top 10 Mother’s Day food freebies and deals we’ve spotted:

Beef O’Brady’s: Moms get a complimentary meal (max $10 value) on Mother’s Day.

Brickhouse Tavern & Tap: Get one free brunch entrée from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the purchase of one at the regular price on Sunday.

Church’s Chicken: Order any family meal purchase from May 8 to May 10 and Church’s will throw in a 20-piece of Oreo Biscuit Bites at no extra charge.

Corner Bakery: Use the linked coupon for a free six-pack of Bottoms Up Bundts with the purchase of any lunch or entrée, valid now through May 11.

Hooters: Let’s hope you know your mom well enough to accurately gauge whether she’d think going to Hooters on Mother’s Day would be a hoot—or be horrified and never forgive you. Some 35,000 moms have reportedly taken advantage of Hooters’ freebies on previous Mother’s Days, and this Sunday, moms get a free meal (up to $10.99 value) with any drink purchase.

Orange Leaf Yogurt: Moms are welcomed to an 8 oz. frozen yogurt on the house on Mother’s Day.

PDQ: Moms get a free combo meal with the purchase of any kids’ combo meal on Sunday.

Shoney’s: All moms get a free slice of strawberry pie on Sunday with the purchase of an entrée or the Mother’s Day buffet.

TGI Friday’s: Half-price bottles of wine for all customers, from May 5 through May 10.

Tijuana Flats: Moms are welcomed to a free entrée at this Tex-Mex chain on Mother’s Day.

MONEY deals

5 Hot Cinco de Mayo Food & Drink Deals

The taco sauce bar at Tijuana Flats restaurant, Palm Beach Gardens
Gary Coronado—The Palm Beach Post/Zuma Press, The taco sauce bar at Tijuana Flats restaurant, Palm Beach Gardens

To help us all enjoy Cinco de Mayo with gusto, bars and restaurants around the country are offering free food and cheap deals on tacos, burritos, beer, sangria, and more on Tuesday.

Independent Mexican restaurants and cantinas all over the country will be hosting parties, drink specials, and food deals for Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday—here are some roundups of the options in Washington, D.C., Miami, Denver,Houston, Las Vegas, and Boston, to name just a few cities. National chains are celebrating Cinco de Mayo with discounts and freebies as well. Here are five that jumped out to us as worthwhile:

Taco Bell: The day starts off with free breakfast—specifically, one free biscuit taco per customer—at Taco Bell from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Moe’s Southwest Grill: All day on May 5, locations participating in “Cinco de Moe’s” have a deal that includes a burrito, chips, and salsa for $5. Depending on the location, the first 50 to 200 customers get free T-shirts too.

TacoTime: Crisp Tacos are on the menu for just 69¢ apiece on Cinco de Mayo at this chain with nearly 400 locations in North America.

Tijuana Flats: This Tex-Mex chain with 100+ locations (mainly in the Southeast) wraps up five days of Cinco de Mayo deals with $5.49 combo covering two tacos, chips, and a drink, plus draft beer costs only $1, sangria is $2, and a glass of wine is $3.

Baja Fresh: If you’re ordering for a party—or perhaps, lunch for the office—Baja Fresh has a special catering deal for Cinco de Mayo week. Any order of $100 or more comes with free guacamole and free churros. The offer is valid through May 11.

MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Super Cheap Flights and a Free Samsung Galaxy S6

Vigin America Airbus 320
Herb Lingl— Vigin America Airbus 320

Flights on Virgin America are available for as little as $38 each way, and if you book a hotel package with Expedia, you can get airfare totally for free.

Here are our top choices for bargains this week:

A Flagship Android Phone for Free

With all due respect to iPhone fans, Android is where it’s at when it comes to quick deals on high-end phones. The Samsung Galaxy S6 was released just a month ago, and already Sprint is offering the well-reviewed handset for free. Of course, there’s a catch, as there always is when buying subsidized phones: You must activate a new two-year Unlimited Plus Plan contract in the process. However, if you don’t want to pay the full, unsubsidized price for a smartphone, you’ll likely always have to sign a two-year contract. And, considering this 32GB phone also comes with a monthly $20 bill credit, this hardly seems like a downside. Overall you’ll save $200.

Become a Jetsetter for Less

The best way to travel cheaply is to be flexible about where you go and when. That is, you have to be ready to strike while the iron is hot — and it doesn’t get much hotter than this Virgin America airfare sale. The promo is listed as having one-way flights for as low as $69, but we even found routes going for less than that. Las Vegas to San Francisco, for example, checks in at $38.10 on June 2. That translates into the cheapest rates we’ve ever seen from Virgin America, an airline that consistently ranks highly in industry and user reviews. Of course, you’ll have to be willing to take to the skies soon, as this sale is only valid for flights from May 16 through June 10. Sale ends May 31.

If none of the dates or locations in that sale appeal to your needs, consider booking a full vacation through Expedia while the site offers the flight portion of your trip for free. Since all you’ll have to pay for is the hotel, this is understandably one of the best sales we’ve ever seen from Expedia, and it’ll save you hundreds on your next vacation. The sale includes hotel stays in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C., and more, but be sure to check out our list of the top five budget friendly cities to visit in 2015 for some inspiration. Naturally, some exclusions and blackout dates apply.

Save Big on the Latest From Apple

Although it’s become more common to see discounts on Apple products from resellers, it’s still an exciting week when we find a Mac on sale! DigJungle via eBay — a very reputable seller with more than 11,000 positive reviews in the past year — is currently selling the diminutive 11.6″ Apple MacBook Air for $749.99. Not only is that a great discount — it’s $150 less than what Apple charges — but it’s especially noteworthy since this model is barely a month old, having just been released in March of this year. If this deal has piqued your interest though, don’t delay in buying it; Apple deals rarely stick around for very long.

Get Ready for Patio Parties

If you’re not able to take a trip this summer, the least you can do is find the time to relax with a staycation — and nothing gets a summer afternoon going quite like frozen treats. At $159.99, this Margaritaville Key West Frozen Concoction Maker is an astounding $140 off, which leaves you plenty of cash leftover to splurge on the “ingredients” to make said drinks.

Amazing bargains pop up at any given moment, so consider signing up for a daily email digest from DealNews to have the best offers sent directly to your inbox.

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