Friday, May 21, 2010

Frugal Lessons from the Field - Taking Advantage of Free Stuff with Little Ones

On Tuesday, Haagen Dazs celebrated its 50th birthday by offering up free scoops of ice cream.
Obviously, a stellar afternoon time killer family fun activity for my two big guys.

Luckily I was not 100% blinded by joy at the promise of Free Haagen Dazs, and kept my wits about me before cashing in.  Here are some things I did before taking advantage of that amazing free offer:

1.  Find the nearest location.  There's only one Haagen Dazs here in Columbus - luckily, it's only about 9 highway miles away.  For a different freebie, we might have decided that this was too much of a schlep, but for the time sucking sheer fun and deliciousness value of free ice cream cones, I thought it was totally worth it.

2. Call to make sure your location is participating.  This took three phone calls for us.  Nobody answered at the number listed for our location, so I called Haagen-Dazs' corporate number.  They let me know that each shop is a franchise and could decide whether to participate in the promotion (this is also true for giveaways at other franchises, like Dunkin Donuts, so watch out!)  I finally called the mall where our Haagen Dazs is located, and they gave me the correct number to call.  It took about 10 minutes of phone time, but I finally verified that our location was participating in free scoop day.  Imagine if I had schlepped the whole family into their car seats, down the highway, into the stroller, and through the mall only to find out we couldn't get free scoops!


3.  Make an event of it.  See if there is anything close by the location of the giveaway that you could combine with free stuff to make an even more exciting outing for your family (although seriously what could be more exciting than FREE ICE CREAM!?!?!)  Our Haagen-Dazs happens to be in a mall with an awesome kids' playspace. Even though Rami wasn't into his ice cream cone, he still had a great time rough-and-tumbling it with the other kids at the mall.

So, now that you're drooling over all that free ice cream we got, make a plan to get your own!  Wal-Mart is offering a free sundae tomorrow.  So, those of you who aren't shomer Shabbat, click here to enter your zip code to see if a Wal-Mart near you is participating!  (And to the rest of you, Shabbat Shalom and treat yourself to some ice cream after Havdalah.)

Who's got more tips for me on how to make the most out of free stuff?


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