Doing your 20’s under 40

The individuals generally associated with the Capricorn sign are notorious for being “birthday haters.” I should know as I am one of them. This haterade is due to an understanding that unless we plan something “low cost, alcohol-free, junk food free, and most importantly not involving people having to go outside in -30” that we either aren’t doing anything or we are paying for it.

This year as we entered our 20’s I decided it was my second chance at turning 20, and instead of having another 20th birthday that left me broke and in tears, I decided I was going to own the joy I experienced.

Saving money and free items bring me the most joy, so I decided to take the “Free Birthday Challenge” but the Edmonton version. In my version, I would spend less than $40 but end the day with a full belly and bag of swag. The week before, I subscribed to multiple emails promising birthday fun and made my game plan. Although in the middle of my adventure, I ran into a friend who also shared the same birthday. We decided he would join me on the experience as we convinced stores to provide him with swag if he subscribed on the spot.

Overall the day was great because I did spend less than $40 and engaged in a mid-day nap from all the food!. I got to spend a portion of it with a fellow Cappy who understood the joy that came with FINALLY being the centre of attention with no real responsibility. Everywhere I went, the staff were excited to share in my birthday adventure and went out of their way to make me feel like a million dollars. I had intriguing conversations and learned about so many things about the products and people in stores I usually frequented. Thus in conclusion; take your birthday off and make your own joy…If possible, find a birthday twin and take advantage of the extravaganza’s as I received approximately $300 in free items.

Below is a list of stores I made my way too ( in order) and the ones I missed along with their special birthday offers.

Dennys: Free Stuff Value Appx $ 11.69

(Downtown Edmonton)

My total savings: $11.69

Total spent: $3.14 + $7 tip

When you subscribe to their emails online, you will receive a FREE Grand Slam with no purchase required.

I still ordered a coffee and tipped my waitress as though the meal was a regular price as she was a gem, and the food quality was superb.

London Drugs: Free Stuff Value Appx $5.00

(Oliver Square)

My total savings: $7.20

Total spent: $5.30

When you subscribe to their membership, you get $5 to spend.

No minimum purchase is required.

I grabbed an organic linen spray that was on sale for 20% off and a thin pair of gloves for $1.00

Starbucks: Free Stuff Value Unknown

(104ave Downtown)

My total savings: $0

Total spent: $7.46

If you are actively using your Starbucks app, they will provide you with a free drink on your birthday. Unfortunately, I deleted the app earlier this year because it annoyed me, and the staff would not honour it ( even with photo ID). Because I grabbed a coffee for my twin, I spent 7.46 here.

The Starbucks team on Twitter has been in contact with me, so I believe they are going to rectify it, but make sure you check your account before going so you are not disappointed.

Note: I choose Kingsway Mall as the roads were terrible, but West Edmonton Mall has a few additional locations offering free stuff that will be listed below.

La Senza: Free Stuff Value Appx $15–45

My total Savings: 45.94

Total spent: $18.95

Maybe it is because I am a January baby, and there are sales or La Senza is that great. But I received a PJ Set ( Reg $44.95), a Flirt Perfume ( Reg $9.99) and a membership for the year (Reg $10)

MAC Cosmetics: Free Stuff Value Appx $25

My total savings: $25

Total spent: $0

As long as you have purchased something from MAC in the last year, they will provide you with a surprise.

I received an adorable tote bag and lipstick holder.

The Disney Store: Free Stuff Value Appx $5

My total savings: $5

Total spent: $0

A Birthday endorsement from Mickey Mouse: Priceless

The Disney Store will have a sales associate take a moment out of their day to write you a customized birthday pin and card to let the world know it is your birthday.

David’s Tea: Free Stuff Value Appx $6

My total savings: $6

Total spent: $0

Subscribe to the emails(free) and David’s Tea will give you a free drink of your choice. I got a Peach Matcha Ice Tea.

The Body Shop: Free Stuff Value Appx $10

My total savings: $10

Total spent: $3.95

Become an LYB member (free) and get $10 on your birthday. I grabbed a tea tree oil as it is that season for me; however, I would highly recommend their bouncy sleep mask.

Sephora: Free Stuff Value Appx $30

My total savings: $60+

Total spent: $0

Subscribe to the emails, and you can choose between a few products, so I grabbed the new blush/mascara set. I also had points on file that I did not know about; this allowed me to get TWO new deep cleansing face sets.

Purdy’s: Free Stuff Value Appx $2.49

My total savings: $2.49

Total spent: $0

Purdy’s will provide you with a free chocolate of the months’ feature.

This time it was pumpkin chocolate.

Note: No membership is needed — just a friendly conversation.

Hot Topic: Free Stuff Value Appx $5

My total savings: $5

Total spent: $7.90

I grabbed these Beauty and the Beast inspired hair chopsticks that were the regular price of $12.90

Sage: Free Stuff Value Appx $50

My total savings: $50

Total spent: $0

Although officially Sage doesn’t do anything, a little kindness and being a regular goes a long way. The team gifted me with a pain oil and my favourite headache halo.

Lush: Free Stuff Value Appx $9.95

My total savings: $9.95

Total spent: $0

Although officially Lush doesn’t do anything, a little kindness and being a regular goes a long way here too. The ladies gave me a great conversation, jokes and a bath bomb!

Boston Pizza: Free Stuff Value Appx $17.98

My total savings: $17.98

Total spent: $13.64 +tip $6.82

If you sign up for the Bp’s emails, you receive a free Bandera bread/cactus chips and a dessert for your birthday when you spend $10. I went at lunch which allowed me to order off the lunch menu which meant I ate the following for a total of $13.64

Coffee, Bandera Bread, Quesadilla, caesar salad, and brownie explosion.

Yes, I napped after this meal.

Mary Brown’s Chicken: Free Stuff Value Appx $6.99

My total savings: $6.99

Total spent: $2.09

If you sign up for Mary Brown’s emails, you get a free birthday sandwich. This visit was my first time eating there. I was thoroughly impressed and will have another. The sandwich was yummy, and I grabbed a pop since I was already indulging.

Menchies: Free Stuff Value Appx $5

My total savings: $4.89

Total spent: $0

If you sign up for Menchie emails, they will provide you with $5 towards frozen yogurt.

This visit was also my first time their and I will be back.

My Cinema Clock: Free Stuff Value Appx $26

My total savings: $26

Total Spent: 12.95

When you subscribe to Cinema Clock, they will randomly offer you sneak peek passes to upcoming movies. I won tickets to “Just Mercy” featuring Michael B. Jordan for the day after my birthday, so they get credit too. I did buy snacks though.

Stores offering deals that I did not make it too:

Note: The below stores require email subscriptions

  • Marble Slab — Buy 1 Get 1 Free

Additional Notes: The following stores do not offer anything, although you would think they would. Don’t go if you are trying to stay under budget.

Cookies by George

Mr. Pretzel

Bath & Body Works

Indigo/Chapters

Earls in Sherwood Park

Kernels Popcorn

Clinique or any counter in The Bay

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