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Things you can get for free on your birthday

Birthday expert, Erin Farrugia, knows hot to celebrate – and where to go to pick up birthday discounts and special offers.

Last updated: 19 March 2020

This month we're celebrating CHOICE's 60th birthday, which reminded me how much I love birthdays. Not just my birthday (classic Aquarius) – I love friends' birthdays, I love my cat's birthday, I love my dog's birthday… it doesn't matter whose birthday it is, I just love celebrating birthdays.

But if there's anything I love more than birthdays, it's getting free stuff on your birthday! This  year I set out to make the most of my freebies for my birthday (or as I call it: 'The Best Day of the Year').

It all started with a free cruise (that's right, a free cruise!) on Sydney Harbour, where I saw the sights and lived the 'tourist life' for the morning. You too can snag this freebie by signing up to Captain Cook Cruises' membership club – one of the perks is a voucher to use on your birthday. 

 Free food is the ultimate perk

Since I was already in full Sydney tourist mode, I headed over to Taronga Zoo. On your birthday you pay just $1 for an adult admission. OK, so it's not exactly free, but talk about a hot deal!

But you don't have to live in or visit Sydney to nab a birthday bargain. Nationwide cinemas such as Hoyts give members a free small popcorn or choc top on their birthday, or you could head to Zone Bowling where, on your birthday, you can play two free games. 

Now when I said I love getting free stuff for my birthday, free food is the ultimate perk, so this year I signed up to my favourite Chinese restaurant's email list. Why? Because they give you a complementary serve of dumplings during the month of your birthday. Free birthday dumplings? Yes please!

 Cinemas such as Hoyts give members a free small popcorn or choc top on their birthday

And for dessert, the Ikea Princess Cake, which has become a bit of a birthday tradition for me. It's a sugary delicious cake that, on your birthday, you can enjoy for free while perusing the latest in kitchen storage. (Hot tip: the best time to go to IKEA is around 7:30 on a Friday night when it's far less busy and you can roam the aisles relatively undisturbed. Wild Friday night, I know!)

The moral of my story is that lots of stores will offer you free items or discount vouchers for your birthday. Most of the time you just need to ask or sign up to a loyalty email, which can also be a window to some great discounts, not just on your birthday. So from me to you, happy FREE birthday in advance.

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.