MONEY freebies

How to Get Free Pancakes on Tuesday, Courtesy of IHOP

Maple syrup runs down the side of a short stack of three pancakes at the International House of Pancakes.
Torin Halsey—AP These handsome fellows can be all yours on March 3 for the extremely reasonable price of free.

National Pancake Day, yet another made-up food holiday, is Tuesday, March 3. That means IHOP customers get a free short stack of pancakes.

Tuesday marks the tenth anniversary of National Pancake Day, an annual event in which IHOP customers get free pancakes and millions of dollars are raised for charity. This magic combo easily makes Pancake Day one of our favorite fake holidays of the year.

Getting free pancakes is simple enough. All you have to do is head to a participating IHOP—the vast majority play along—and ask for a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. Easy as that.

In exchange for your free breakfast, IHOP will ask you to consider giving a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or another designated local charity. For the 2015 edition of its National Pancake Day giveaway, IHOP hopes to raise $3.5 million for charity. The flapjack franchise has raised nearly $16 million in Pancake Day-related charitable donations since 2006, when the marketing stunt began.

TIME Spending & Saving

How to Get Free Krispy Kreme Donuts Today

Krispy Kreme donut production line
Lightworks Media—Alamy Krispy Kreme donut production line

The chain is celebrating with free treats. Here's how to get yours

If you are one of the first 1,000 customers at a Krispy Kreme donut shop on Feb. 24, you can lay claim to one glazed donut, free of charge. The promotion is being held to celebrate the opening of a new Krispy Kreme location in Kansas City, which will be the chain’s 1,000th location.

If you’re near Kansas City, that location opened at 6AM. The first person in that particular line will get one dozen donuts for free, once a week for a year. The next 99 people in line will receive a dozen free donuts once a month for 12 months. Elsewhere, all participating stores are giving away 1,000 donuts to the first 1,000 customers.


MONEY freebies

Krispy Kreme Is Giving Away 1 Million Free Donuts on Tuesday

Krispy Kreme donut production line
Lightworks Media—Alamy Krispy Kreme donut production line

To celebrate the opening of its 1,000th shop on Tuesday, Krispy Kreme is giving away one glazed donut to the first 1,000 customers in each location.

Tuesday is not the deliciously wonderful fake holiday known as National Donut Day (which takes place in June). But it’s a pretty good runner up. If you’re one of the first 1,000 customers at a participating Krispy Kreme donut shop on Tuesday, you’ll be rewarded with one glazed donut, free of charge.

The promotion is being held to celebrate the opening of a new Krispy Kreme location in Kansas City, which will be the donut chain’s 1,000th location around the globe. The Kansas City location will open at 6 a.m., and there is sure to be quite a long line well before dawn. That’s because the first person in line will get one dozen donuts for free, once a week for a year. The next 99 people in line, meanwhile, receive a dozen free donuts once a month for 12 months. The first 150 folks in line get commemorative T-shirts as well.

Krispy Kreme isn’t limiting the celebration to Kansas City, however. The company has 1,000 locations in 24 countries around the world, and all participating stores are giving away 1,000 donuts to the first 1,000 customers. A thousand locations multiplied by 1,000 donuts equals a Dr. Evil-ish 1 million donuts.

The promotion is not valid in grocery stores, and as the Consumerist pointed out, some locations might decide not to participate because of “stingy or joyless managers who chose to not take part.” But surely most Krispy Kremes will play along, and collectively they’ll give out something close to a cool 1 million donuts. If you want to score your free donut, it’s probably best to hit your nearby Krispy Kreme early on Tuesday morning.

MONEY freebies

5 Great Food Freebies for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

IHOP Restaurants celebrate National Pancake Day with free buttermilk pancakes on March 3!
IHOP IHOP Restaurants celebrate National Pancake Day with free buttermilk pancakes on March 3!

The celebrations start today.

Mark your calendar: Free burritos, free pancakes, and even free babysitting for a child-free parents’ dinner are available this weekend and in the near future.

Free Chips & Nutella: February 12

California Tortilla, which has dozens of locations in the Mid-Atlantic region (but none in California or the West), is hosting an early Valentine’s special two days before the actual holiday. On Thursday, February 12, with any purchase, customers also get a free order of “Love Chips”—tortilla chips dusted with cinnamon and sugar—with some Nutella for dipping.

Free Burrito: February 14
The Mexican restaurant chain Qdoba has a buy-one-get-one-free smothered burrito deal to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, though only once a certain romantic—or perhaps icky—requirement is met. To take advantage of the deal, you must kiss someone at the time the order is placed. Could be your spouse, could be a first date, could be a total stranger, but the rule is: No kiss, no free burrito.

In other news related to public displays of affection being used to get free food, McDonald’s announced plans to run its “Pay With Lovin'” promotion, which was popularized during its Super Bowl commercial, in select locations around the country on February 14. If selected, McDonald’s customers will be allowed to use “lovin'” in the form of a hug, fist bump, a phone call to mom, or some other demonstration of love, to cover their bill. A representative for McDonald’s said that the company anticipates that more than 1 million customers will be asked to “perform an act of lovin’ as payment in restaurants” on Saturday. [UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that the “Pay With Lovin'” promotion was only taking place in Pittsburgh, when in fact the promotion is occurring at select McDonald’s restaurants all over the country.]

Free Babysitting: February 20
On Friday, February 20, participating Olive Garden restaurants are hosting “Parents Night Out” evenings. Couples can drop children off at partner My Gym locations, where staff will lead kids in games, songs, and gymnastics. After dinner, parents who present a receipt from Olive Garden get their gym deposit refunded.

Free Pancakes: March 3
Tuesday, March 3, 2015, is when the 10th anniversary of IHOP National Pancake Day will be celebrated. As is always the case, IHOP marks the event by giving away one short stack of buttermilk pancakes free of charge to each customer. In lieu of a bill for the pancakes, customers are asked to consider making a donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or another charity.

Free Breakfast, Dessert, Shopping Bag: March 7
IKEA somehow decided that Saturday, March 7, should be BYOF (Bring Your Own Friends) Day. We’re not sure what that really means. In any event, there’s no need to bring a friend to take advantage of the freebies offered that day: With a printout from the link above, anyone visiting a participating IKEA can get a free breakfast platter with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and home fries until 11 a.m., a free reusable IKEA blue shopping bag all day long, and a free dessert with each dessert purchased from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

TIME Fast Food

Why Cinnabon Is Proud to Employ Saul Goodman

ÒLocalÓ: The After-School All-Stars Atlanta program extended its services to City of Refuge, a transitional living center for previously homeless women and children.Walt ThompsonElgin
Meg Buscema—Georgia State University/Chanell Kat Cole has been President of Cinnabon since 2010 (Photo courtesy of Kat Cole)

The pastry chain is embracing its star turn on the new Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul

In the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, bus-bench lawyer Saul Goodman, in fear for his life, prepares to change his identity and go into hiding. “If I’m lucky, a month from now, best-case scenario, I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha,” he says, dejectedly.

And that’s exactly what happened, as revealed by last night’s premiere episode of the spin-off, Better Call Saul. Given that this is supposed to be a depressing development for Saul, and is meant to reveal how low he’s sunk (even lower than chasing ambulances), you might think Cinnabon would try to distance itself from the show as much as possible. Instead, it’s doing the opposite.

The chain is giving away one free “mini-bon” per person, packaged in boxes depicting the pathetic Saul, on Monday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at all 704 of its stores. Also, starting Monday, customers who tweet in-store selfies with the hashstag #SaulSelfie will have a chance to win a year’s worth of Cinnabon treats. (Who wants to lay odds that the winner will be an Omaha resident?)

Cinnabon had already proved itself more than willing leverage unflattering mentions of itself. Back when Saul first uttered what was a throwaway line on Breaking Bad, sixteen months ago, a Cinnabon manager in Omaha, with the backing of corporate HQ, hung a sign bearing the quote in his store window. And Cinnabon published a tweet directing Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul, to its careers page.

Kate Cole, the president of Focus Brands, the affiliate of Roark Capital Group that owns Cinnabon and several other chains including Schlotzsky’s and Carvel, spent part of her Monday morning retweeting mentions of Cinnabon and Saul. The impressively young Cole (she’s 36), who was elevated in December from her position as Cinnabon president, clearly didn’t care that some of those tweets didn’t necessarily put Cinnabon in the best light. “You really need to screen your employees better” one tweeter advised Cinnabon, attaching a picture of a sinister-looking Saul Goodman manhandling a fistful of dough behind the counter.

MONEY freebies

Free Coffee at Chick-fil-A for Entire Month of February

Chick-fil-A restaurant, Naples, Florida.
Jeff G—Alamy Chick-fil-A restaurant, Naples, Florida.

Restaurants are pouring free coffee for the whole month, no purchase required.

The new year kicked off with dueling free coffee promotions from McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts in some parts of the country, and now another fast food player is entering the coffee wars with an even bigger, broader, no-strings-attached giveaway.

On Friday, Chick-fil-A announced that throughout February, restaurants nationwide will pour customers free cups of hot or iced THRIVE Farmers Coffee—all day long, no purchase required.

Chick-fil-A launched a partnership with THRIVE, a Georgia-based company that networks with family-owned coffee producers in Central America and reportedly allows them to earn up to 10 times the norm, in August 2014. Now the push is on to win over customers by giving the coffee away, with only a very little amount of fine print to worry about:

This offer includes 12 ounce hot or 16 ounce iced sizes and is available while supplies last. The offer is available anytime during regular restaurant hours and is limited to one cup of coffee per customer, per visit. No additional purchase is necessary and no substitutions are available.

The coffee giveaway especially makes sense in light of how important breakfast has become to fast food restaurants. Breakfast is the only meal of the day that has experienced consistent growth in sales in recent years, which explains why more competitors are entering or expanding into the space—notably Taco Bell. Another factor explaining the fresh coffee push: Consumers are more prone to grabbing a cup of Joe at Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald’s, or at convenience stores such as Cumberland Farms and 7-Eleven, not just for breakfast but at any hour of the day. Chick-fil-A clearly wants to be thought of as a great spot for a quick anytime coffee as well.

In all cases, the hope is that when folks swing by for coffee, they’ll also pick up a scone, donut, hot dog, Egg McMuffin, Slim Jim, chicken biscuit, or some other specialty of the house.

TIME Brands

There’s Still Time to Get Your Free Burrito from Chipotle Today

Restaurant Chain Chipotle Warns Climate Change Could Force Guacamole Off The Menu
Joe Raedle—Getty Images A Chipotle restaurant is seen on March 5, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

But you have to order their "sofritas" first

Chipotle really, really wants you to try its new tofu.

On Monday, Jan. 26th, the Mexican chain is offering free food for customers who order their new organic tofu Sofritas. Here’s the deal: All you have to do is buy one of their entrees made with the vegan-friendly protein today, bring your receipt back to any Chipotle location from Jan. 27 through Feb. 15 and you’ll get a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad or tacos.

It’s basically a buy-one, get-one-free kind of thing — but, hey, a free burrito is a free burrito no matter when you redeem it.

So what exactly are you buying in order to get that free size-of-a-small-baby burrito? In Chipotle’s own words, Sofritas are made “organic tofu from Hodo Soy that we shred and then braise with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. The result is a delicious, spicy tofu that will give vegans and carnivores something they both will love.”

Keep in mind that should you dislike Sofritas, you can use your next-time “freebie” for anything on the menu — if supplies are still in store. (Those deliciously spicy carnitas are still off the menu at about a third of Chipotle’s locations.)

This article originally appeared on

MONEY deals

Free ‘Transparent’ Streaming, Cheap Amazon Prime on Saturday

Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent
Beth Dubber—© Amazon/Courtesy Everett Colle Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent

Amazon already has tens of millions of subscribers to Amazon Prime. But Amazon wants more, and it's using a Transparent-Golden Globes-themed promotion on Saturday to win them over.

A report surfaced last autumn estimating that as many as 50 million people were members of Amazon Prime, the $99-per-year subscription service that includes two-day shipping on most purchases and unlimited streaming of video and music content. Mind you, that was before the 2014 holiday shopping season, during which Amazon reported some 10 million new members had signed up for Prime.

Previous studies have indicated that Amazon actually loses money on Prime due to all the shipping costs incurred by frequent shoppers. Yet Prime is undeniably a powerful revenue driver for the world’s largest retailer, because of the tendency of subscribers to make nearly all of their online purchases at Amazon once they’ve paid for a membership. Hence Amazon’s relentless push to boost Prime subscriptions at any and every opportunity.

And hence the latest Amazon promotion, which on Saturday grants everyone with an Internet connection free streaming of Transparent, the ground-breaking Golden Globe-winning comedy normally only available to Prime subscribers. Besides celebrating the success of Transparent and lead actor Jeffrey Tambor at the Golden Globes, the idea of airing the show for all to see is surely also a pitch to snag more Prime members. The implicit sales pitch being: Just look at the kinds of things you’d get to watch regularly if you were a Prime member!

What’s more, Amazon is giving Prime extra appeal by knocking the usual $99 price of a subscription down to $72 on Saturday, January 24. Why 72? Again, it has to do with the Golden Globes—the most recent awards were the 72nd in history.


275,000+ Free Tickets to Selma Available for Students

SELMA, from left: Colman Domingo, David Oyelowo, as Martin Luther King Jr., Andre Holland, Stephan James, 2014.
Atsushi Nishijima—Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection From left: Colman Domingo, David Oyelowo (as Martin Luther King, Jr.), Andre Holland and Stephan James in a scene from Selma.

A "Selma for Students" campaign has raised enough money to allow hundreds of thousands of American middle and high school students to see the Martin Luther King, Jr., biopic Selma for free.

The critically acclaimed civil rights drama Selma may not have gotten quite the recognition some feel it deserved by the Academy of Motion Pictures, but a nationwide movement called “Selma for Students” is ensuring that the movie isn’t overlooked at theaters.

The program allows 7th, 8th, and 9th graders to receive free tickets to Selma at participating theaters around the country, including four apiece in cities like Baltimore, Nashville, and New Orleans, and at 11 movie houses in the San Francisco Bay area. The requirements differ slightly from city to city—some give free admission for high school students no matter what the grade—but in general, all you need to do to get a complimentary ticket is to show a student ID, report card, or some other proof of being a student at a participating theater’s box office.

As the Washington Post reported, the idea for “Selma for Students” was born in New York City, where African-American business leaders joined together in early January to create a fund allowing some 27,000 students in the city to view Selma for free. Roughly two dozen other cities have since joined the cause.

In St. Louis, for instance, local efforts are making it possible for some 6,250 teenagers to see the film for free. “It is important that St. Louis students are informed about this moment in history and its connections to the challenges they face today,” Reverend Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a partner in the “Selma for Students” campaign in the city, said via press release. “We believe this experience will nurture civic engagement among young people and give them hope that systemic change is possible through cooperative, intentional, and well-planned efforts.”

Altogether, it’s being estimated that more than 275,000 American students around the country will be able to get free admission to the movie, with most attending over the long Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend.

A limited number of tickets are being given away for each theater, and as of Friday afternoon several locations were already “sold out,” including all of New York City and Philadelphia, and all but a few of the participating Regal Cinemas around the country. All who watch the movie are encouraged to share images and responses on social media using the hashtag #SelmaforStudents.

MONEY deals

Two-for-One Ice Cream Promo Encourages You to Ditch New Year Resolutions

Ice Cream cone filled with Maple Ice Cream Graham Crackers Skor Bar in Dark Chocolate and Skor Cone at Marble Slab Creamery.
Rick Eglinton—The Toronto Star via Getty Image A cone at Marble Slab Creamery, which is offering two-for-one ice cream on National Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions Day .

Marble Slab and MaggieMoo's are offering a special buy one, get one free ice cream deal on Saturday, January 17, which happens to be National Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions Day.

Sister ice cream franchises Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moo’s are “celebrating” National Ditch Your Resolutions Day—one of the many fake holidays that fill up the calendar nowadays, this one supposedly based on the premise that January 17 is the most common day for people to give up on resolutions—with a special two-for-one ice cream promotion. To participate, just go into a MaggieMoo’s or Marble Slab on Saturday, and humbly (or proudly) announce that you’re too weak to keep your resolve for more than a couple of weeks into the new year.

“All customers who declare ‘I’m ditching my New Year’s resolution’ will receive the offer,” a press release from the ice cream chains explains.

The shops have periodically been promoting the “Ditch” deal on social media since the new year began, with photos of banana splits and phrases such as “MAKE THIS YOUR YEAR TO EAT MORE CHOCOLATE.” The posts have prompted comments like these on Facebook:

I gained a pound just looking at this!

There goes my diet…lol

cheat night?!?!?

For those who aspire to be strong-willed enough to make their resolutions stick, we’ve offered plenty of tips to help the cause, no matter if you’re resolving to save more money or ease off the sweets. If you’re aiming to do the latter, one obvious strategy is to stay away from ice cream shops, especially when they’re hosting two-for-one promotions.

One common piece of advice for keeping resolutions is to enlist a friend, either by asking them to pledge to reach the same goals as you or simply by making them aware of your goals, with the hope that they’ll help keep you on track.

On the other hand, hey, if you’re going to cave on your resolution by digging into some ice cream on Saturday—with unlimited mix-ins, by the way—this too is an opportunity to involve a buddy. That way, at least you won’t eat both of the two-for-one ice creams yourself.

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