Food Holidays: When to Score Free and Cheap Food All Year
National Doughnut Day usually falls on the first Friday in June (this year it's June 1) or in early November, according to some calendars, but June is when Krispy Kreme typically gives away free doughnuts to customers, no purchase required, and Dunkin' Donuts often serves up a freebie for customers who buy a drink. Tim Hortons has gone the coupon route, offering a half-dozen for $3, while other times offering up freebies or other special offers like this year's promotion of 24k gold-dusted doughnut holes and free donuts for the year offered to the first customers at select locations.
July heat means there's no better time for National Ice Cream Month and a bunch of tag-along days, including National Ice Cream Day, on the third Sunday (July 15 this year). Baskin-Robbins, Graeter's, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab Creamery, Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery, Burger King, McDonald's and more have all had deals for the month.
October is National Pizza Month. In the past, Papa Johns offered BOGO pizza deals, and look to other national chains such as Pizza Hut to also offer deals.
National Nachos Day at the beginning of November has seen deals from restaurants such as On The Border (half off popular versions) and Salsarita's ($5 nachos throughout the day).
Keep an eye out for National Pie Day specials in mid-March; in the past, Long John Silver's and Burger King have offered a free slice, and pie specialists Marie Callender's and the Village Inn have served up coupons for the day.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurants celebrate National Margarita Day in February with specials on margaritas and related products.
IHOP restaurants traditionally go all out for National Pancake Day in February, giving away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for an optional donation to charity. Other pancake-serving chains have also been known to get in on the action.
Look for pretzel deals for all of National Soft Pretzel Month in April but especially for National Pretzel Day, which usually happens toward the end of April. Several chains typically celebrate; Snyder's of Hanover has done giveaways and Auntie Anne's pretzel shops have offered free-pretzel coupons and the chance to win free pretzels for a year.
DoubleTree by Hilton is known for giving guests chocolate chip cookies as one of their hotel perks and has even gone outside its hotels on at least one National Chocolate Chip Day in May. 7-Eleven and Potbelly Sandwich Shop have also offered deals in the past. Another way to mark the day is by baking up a batch of the treats.
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