Happy birthday to you! Five food freebies for your birthday week

Survived another 365 days? May as well turn the party into a week-long celebration with all the goodies you can scoop up during your birthday week. After cashing in on a few big-ticket food items to mark my big day, I thought, "What better way to pay it forward then to pass along the knowledge to all you hungry, aging people?"

Even better, many of these places will give you a freebie right away, just for joining their email lists.

First up: sweet, sweet donuts from LaMar's.

This freebie requires a physical visit to the store to pick up a LaMar's Lover for Life card. But the effort is totally worth it. Once you register your card online, they automatically load a free coffee and doughnut on it for your next visit, along with a free doughnut for your birthday. You get further perks throughout the year for purchasing doughnuts and coffee, and if you don't go often, you'll be reminded of what you're missing every time the sugar house loads your card with "We miss you!" free doughnuts. A birthday guy or gal can't live on doughnuts alone, which takes us to our second birthday food pick: a Spicy Pickle entree. Signing up for the chain's VIP (Very Important Pickle) club gets you a free offer right away, then another free entree on your birthday. Small caveat: You have to buy a medium drink to get the free food, but $1.70 is still a steal of a deal for all that goodness. Still ahead: Starbucks, noodles and ice cream... To get your free Starbucks reward, you've got to have a gift card from the coffee shop in your hands, regardless of how old or empty it is. Register the card on their website, and you'll see your birthday drink come up when you check your rewards. Irritant: Despite the fact that I went on my actual birthday, this was the one freebie that didn't go down as well as the latte. The drink price ended up coming out of my card's balance, and while the preoccupied cashier promised a forthcoming coupon in the mail, it hasn't arrived, and a follow-up note to Starbucks has gone unanswered. Others have had luck with this, but fair warning: I didn't. UPDATE: The coupon did come in the mail a couple weeks after the big day. Good for any drink you can dream up, so not too bad. Who wants another free lunch? How about a plate of noodles from Noodles & Co.? All you gotta do is sign up for their Noodlegrams and you'll not only get a free entree on your birthday, but a BOGO offer just for signing up. Unlike Spicy Pickle, this one really is free. In fact, they let me add tofu, usually an extra $2, ti my noodle dish for nothing. Finally, you can end your birthday week on a sweet note with a free creation from Cold Stone Creamery. Sign up for their birthday club here and you can pick your location and print out a coupon good for a small scoop with one mix-in.

Even though this load will easily get you through a work week, if you're hungry for more, you can find an amazing number of meal deals out there. I missed my $30 free bar tab at Charlie Brown's and still have a lingering Ben & Jerry's coupon. I can only hope my losses result in your gains.

Did we miss your favorite birthday reward? If so, let us know in the comment section below.

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