Smart Buying

Ways to Get Free Ice Cream

Here's how you can treat yourself on a hot day -- or any day -- at no cost.

Ice cream is one of Americans' favorite treats. In fact, it's so popular that an entire month is dedicated to it. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day.

 

Whether you want to enjoy ice cream on a hot day in July or any day of the year, there are plenty of ways you can get this frozen dessert for free. Several ice cream (and frozen yogurt) shops offer freebies if you join a club and sign up for e-mail alerts, but others simply give it away.

Baskin-Robbins. You can get a free 2.5-ounce scoop on your birthday (plus special offers and coupons) if you sign up for the Baskin-Robbins Birthday Club.

Ben & Jerry's. The Ben & Jerry's scoop truck is traveling along the East and West Coasts all summer giving away free samples of its new flavors. Find out which cities the truck will visit and when. Also, its scoop shops have a Free Cone Day every year, usually in April.

Bruster's Real Ice Cream. This ice cream franchise with 220 locations in 18 states offers free mini ice cream cones to children shorter than 40 inches. If you join its Sweet Rewards e-Club, you'll receive a coupon for a free sugar or cake cone with the purchase of a waffle cone, a free waffle cone with ice cream on your birthday, and a buy-one-get-one-free ice cream on the anniversary of the date you joined. And if you show up in your pajamas on PJ Day (varies by location), you'll get a free waffle cone. Bruster's also is giving away free ice cream for a year to four winners of its 25 Days of Selfies Contest.

Carvel. Join Fudgie Fanatics to get a coupon for buy one sundae, get one free and a free treat on your birthday. Plus, if you sign up by July 20 -- that's National Ice Cream Day in 2014 -- you'll be automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win free ice cream for a year.

Cold Stone Creamery. You can sign up for the eClub to get two ice cream creations for the price of one and a coupon on your birthday for a buy-one-ice-cream-get-one-free creation.

Culver's. Kids get a free scoop of frozen custard with a kids' meal at this restaurant chain with more than 450 locations in 19 states.

Dairy Queen. Join the Blizzard Fan Club to get a buy-one-Blizzard-get-one-free coupon. Kids also get a free ice cream treat with a kids' meal.

Friendly's. Join the BFF Club and get a free sundae on your birthday -- as well as special offers and discounts throughout the year.

TCBY offers a loyalty card you can use to earn points with each purchase. Once you get 30 points, you get a $3 store credit at the frozen yogurt chain.

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