Gifts from people I don’t know 

November 30, 2016

For the last three years, I have been in Las Vegas when my birthday rolled around. (How great is that!?) This year, I was at home BUT I still figured out how to feel like a high roller on my special day.

…Discounts. Coupons. Free. Those words sure make me smile…

A few days before my birthday, I took to Facebook to find out which places in Grand Forks offered free birthday food. It turns out that I could only find THREE places in which you can get a free birthday meal with no strings attached. I discovered in most places, you needed a companion to  pay for a meal to get the free birthday entree …OR… you had to sign up for a rewards program.

Starbucks 1

After realizing there were only three places with truly free birthday meals, I got two identical e-mails from Starbucks wishing me a happy birthday. Included in each email was a coupon for a free food or drink item.

How could this be?!

It turns out that I used to have an active Starbucks account with my maiden name. Now, I have one with my married name. Being both accounts have had activity, they sent a birthday surprise to each!

Starbucks allowed me a window of a few days to use up my birthday giftS. Trying to get the most out of my free food or drink item, I ordered a sandwich the night before my birthday because it costs more than my regular drink. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture before I ate it. Please enjoy the photo of my empty bag instead.

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Starbucks 2

My big day had arrived! I started the day off with a trip to Starbucks after school drop-off. A few seconds after taking the photo, I realized that I should have ordered a venti instead of a grande because a venti is larger AND still free. Next year I will remember!

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Mama Maria’s 

I finished up my duties at work around 1:00 and headed to Mama Maria’s for my free lunch. I forgot to bring cash for a tip so I ordered a glass of wine, which allowed me to add gratuity on my card.

After triple-checking with the waitress that my entree would be free, I placed my order, and hung out with all of my imaginary friends.

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Paradiso

Onward I went. My next stop was Paradiso. After once again confirming that my meal would be free, I ordered a glass of wine and my entree. After a few bites, I asked for a to-go box and the check. I was in and out before I could take more than a sip of my drink.

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Cherry Berry

After leaving Paradiso, my car smelled of leftovers and my belly was full. I ran a few errands and squeezed in a workout before picking up our son at school. Together, we traveled to Cherry Berry for a nice treat. Upon our arrival, I quizzed the kind employee as to how to redeem by birthday treat. At the Grand Forks location, I was able to get 10 ounces free with my ID. Being I was full, I let our son fill up the cup and added a few gummies for myself.

When there was one gummy left, he told me I could have it because it was my birthday! How sweet is that?!

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Overall

Growing up, my dad was always gone on my birthday because he would be hunting out of state. Now, every few years, my husband also goes on that trip. When I told Jared of my birthday plan, he mentioned it sounded a little depressing and apologized that he couldn’t come with me. He was right. In fact, I was a little hesitant to eat alone. Thankfully, it turned out to be a great experience! I am going to make this a new birthday tradition.

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