National Food Days
Use Food Holidays to Get Discounts Year-Round
Did you know that almost every day of the year is a national food day? From National Doughnut Day to National Bagels and Lox Day, this means big savings on some of your favorites. If you know which food holidays fall in each month, you can keep an eye out for the deals and freebies to pop up as each one approaches. Here's a quick rundown to help you take advantage of discounted or even free food all year.
January.Jan. 4 is National Spaghetti Day, when Texas-based Spaghetti Warehouse offered buy-one-get-one-free spaghetti in 2013. Look for similar deals in the coming year. January also plays host to a number of other national food holidays, including National Cream Puff Day on Jan. 2 and National Croissant Day on Jan. 30. January as a whole is National Soup Month.
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February.The month of love is also a month of cheap food, with numerous national food days. Apparently Valentine's Day shares Feb. 14 with another, complementary holiday: National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. Feb. 7 is Fettuccine Day, and this past February, quick-service Italian chain Fazoli's offered the dish for just $1 with a coupon. Look for a similar discount in 2014. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville has historically celebrated National Margarita Day on Feb. 22 with huge deals, including cheap margaritas and related products. If there isn't a location near you, don't despair -- many restaurants offer cheap margaritas to commemorate the holiday.
Feb. 28, 2014, is National Pancake Day (the date jumps around from year to year and should not be confused with International Pancake Day, a day of indulgence before the start of Lent, which companies don't seem to see as a marketing opportunity). IHOP restaurants traditionally go all out for their signature dish, giving away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for an optional donation to charity. February also marks National Bagels and Lox Day (Feb. 9), National Tortilla Chip Day (Feb. 24), and National Snack Food Month.
March.Many of March's featured foods reside in the aisles of local grocery stores. It's National Frozen Food Month, promoted by an industry trade group and featuring deals and coupons from participating brands such as Stouffer's and Healthy Choice. In addition, March 7 is Cereal Day, March 14 is Potato Chip Day, and March 23 is Chip and Dip Day, so be on the lookout for coupons and deals on those snacks at your local grocery store.
Other food holidays in March include March 20, National Ravioli Day, when restaurants such as Buca di Beppo and Brio Tuscan Grille offer coupons and discounts on ravioli dishes. On National Waffle Day, March 25, restaurants including Bob Evans, Denny's, and Waffle House have offered customers buy-one-get-one-free meals, coupons for up to 20 percent off, or a free waffle to celebrate.
April.April brings showers of discounts for National Grilled Cheese Month and National Soft Pretzel Month. Look for pretzel deals all month long but especially on April 26, when Snyder's of Hanover has given out free pretzels in the past and several Auntie Anne's pretzel shops have offered $1 pretzels to celebrate National Pretzel Day. In previous years Red Lobster has marked National Shrimp Scampi Day on April 29 by offering 10 pieces of the scrumptious crustaceans for $2.99 with the purchase of an entree.
National Glazed Ham Day may help lessen the sting of April 15 for some taxpayers. Other notable national food days in April include Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (April 2) and National Prime Rib Day (April 27), which brings mostly local deals.
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May.For frugal foodies, May can be summed up in three words: National Hamburger Month. Look for deals all month on ground meat. One notable deal to seek out: White Castle offered 25 cent sliders all month in 2013 in a promotion called Slider-bration. May is also host to a number of other celebrations of food. It's not really surprising that the month of Cinco de Mayo has been declared Salsa Month. And how about some dessert? May 13 is Apple Pie Day and May 15 is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. On a lighter note, May is also National Salad Month.
June.June holds the title of National Seafood Month. In the past, seafood chain Captain D's has offered a coupon for a deluxe seafood platter good for the entire month, while various local restaurants in New York, Maine, Boston, and elsewhere offer lobster deals on June 15, National Lobster Day. June is also National Candy Month and Iced Tea Month, but most notable in June is National Doughnut Day, which falls on the first Friday. Last year Krispy Kreme gave out one free doughnut per customer with no purchase required. Dunkin' Donuts gave a free doughnut to patrons with the purchase of a drink, and Tim Hortons offered a free doughnut with any purchase.
July.July equals summer (at least in this hemisphere), so it's no surprise the month has the honor of being National Hot Dog Month and Ice Cream Month. National Ice Cream Day falls on the third Sunday and brings an abundance of deals. In previous years Baskin-Robbins, Graeter's, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab Creamery, MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery, Burger King, and McDonald's, along with many local ice cream shops, have offered Ice Cream Day deals. As for National Hot Dog Day on July 23, Sonic, 7-Eleven, and QuikTrip have all offered free or discounted hot dogs in the past. Additionally, July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day, which KFC usually commemorates with a deal of some sort.
August.Compared with prior months, not much happens in August on the food holiday front. International Bacon Day falls on the Saturday before Labor Day (Aug. 30 in 2014). Aug. 6 is National Root Beer Float Day, when A&W Restaurants offered a free one to each customer this year. August as a whole is National Catfish Month.
September.Several notable food days pop up come September. National Cheese Pizza Day is Sept. 5, and some Papa John's locations have celebrated with a $5 coupon for a large cheese pizza. National Guacamole Day is Sept. 16, when several brands will most likely offer coupons for the popular dip. National Cheeseburger Day is Sept. 18, and Ruby Tuesday restaurants often give away free cheeseburgers.
Now, here's a big one for you: Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day, and all the usual suspects -- Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Tim Hortons, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Krispy Kreme, and Dunkin' Donuts -- offer free coffee.
September is National Chicken Month, and Popeyes restaurants usually celebrate with a month-long chicken meal deal. It's also National Potato Month and National Rice Month, which may yield coupons and deals in the supermarket.
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October.In October it's taco time: National Taco Day is Oct. 4 and both Baja Fresh and Taco Time have offered discounts for the occasion in the past. October is also National Pizza Month and National Cookie Month. Ironically, Papa John's is currently observing National Pizza Month with a cookie deal -- a family-size chocolate chip cookie for $5 with the purchase of any pizza through Oct. 27.
November.November is a natural for food days -- is there any bigger national food holiday than Thanksgiving? This year you can also try National Candy Day on Nov. 4 or National Nachos Day on Nov. 6, as well as National Cake Day on Nov. 26 and National Chocolates Day on Nov. 29, all of which may be opportunities to find deals, coupons, and discounts at your grocer and various local restaurants.
December.December is a very predictable month by way of national food days. Think Pie Day (Dec. 1), Eggnog Day (Dec. 24), Candy Cane Day (Dec. 26), and Champagne Day (Dec. 31). Discounts on these items are frequent throughout December, whether because of the food holidays or just the time of year. Quiznos has traditionally offered a free cookie to customers on National Cookie Day (Dec. 4, because apparently a Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and Cookie Month just weren't enough).
There you have it -- a year of discounted food. Enjoy!