Hungry for more than just a call from Aunt Pearl on your birthday this year? With a little planning, you can live it up on your special day — without spending a dime. Many businesses offer free birthday treats, from free flan, pizza, ice cream and burgers to beauty products and services. Even Disney joined the action this year with a complimentary trip to the House of Mouse. With the economy in a coma and your friends being unemployed and all, freebies might be the only birthday gift you can count on this year. Local marketing experts say birthday freebies are just good business, especially in these tough times. "The companies get word of mouth out of it," said Don Capone, owner of Media Rockett, a small-business consulting service in Tampa. "It's just self-promotion. It's a kind of schmoozing. It's for someone to say, 'We got something for free from this company and isn't that nice.' " Most businesses require patrons to sign up for a membership or purchase something in order to get the freebies, so call ahead before you go. And remember — you must bring a valid identification card that includes your birth date to cash in.
Add some sparkle to your pearly whites with a teeth cleaning at Gordon Dentistry in Palm Harbor.
Get a chiropractic spinal adjustment from Back N' Balance in Dunedin.
Get organized with an hour of help from the Organizing Queen in Tampa.Free eats
Get a meal at: J. Christopher's Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch in Tampa, the Crazy Buffet in Tampa, Texas Cattle Company in St. Petersburg, Bella Brava in St. Petersburg, Fresco's Waterfront Bistro in St. Petersburg or Captain Al's Waterfront Restaurant in St. Petersburg.
Get a sandwich at Firehouse Subs or a burger at Fuddruckers.
Top all that free food off with a free cappuccino or latte at Cappuccino's Bakery Cafe in Dunedin, a slice of key lime pie from Sea Sea Riders Restaurant in Dunedin, some cake from California Pizza Kitchen or Spanish Caramel Flan at Pepin Restaurant in St. Petersburg.
None of that float your boat? Other locales that offer free birthday sweets: Applebee's, Baskin-Robbins, the Cheesecake Factory and Tropical Cafe in Dunedin.
Get in to Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg (an $8 savings for adults), Disney World ($75 savings) and Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa.
Neither Dinosaur World in Plant City nor the Improv Comedy Center in Tampa let you in for free, but they do offer discounts for you and your friends.
Other freebies to snap up
An Aveda product at salons nationwide
A rental at Hollywood Video nationwide
A sample at Sephora nationwide
A balloon for children at Toys "R" Us nationwide
A wine charm set at Stirling Tropical Wines in Dunedin