Food Holidays Calendar: When to Get Discounts Year-Round
Did you know that many days of the year are marked on the calendar as a national food day? From doughnuts to bagels and lox, this means big savings on some of your favorites. With the inside skinny on which food holidays fall in each month, you can keep an eye out for the deals and freebies that pop up as each one approaches. Here's a quick rundown to help you take advantage of discounted, and sometimes free, food all year.
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January.Jan. 4 is National Spaghetti Day, when Texas-based Spaghetti Warehouse offered buy-one-get-one-free spaghetti in 2014; similar deals may be in the offing for 2015. 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. This is also National Soup Month.
February.The month of love is a month of cheap food, as well as being National Snack Food Month. Valentine's Day shares Feb. 14 with a complementary holiday -- National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. Feb. 7 is Fettuccine Day, and this past February, quick-service Italian-food chain Fazoli's offered the dish for just $1 with a coupon; perhaps discounts will show up again. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville has historically celebrated National Margarita Day on Feb. 22 with specials on margaritas and related products; check nearby spots for similar offers. National Bagels and Lox Day falls on Feb. 9 and National Tortilla Chip Day follows on Feb. 24.
March.Many of this month's featured foods reside in local grocery stores. It's National Frozen Food Month, with deals and coupons from brands such as Stouffer's and Healthy Choice. March 7 is Cereal Day, March 14 is Potato Chip Day, and March 23 is Chip and Dip Day. March 4 is National Pancake Day, and IHOP restaurants traditionally go all out, giving away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for an optional donation to charity. Other March food holidays include National Ravioli Day on March 20, when restaurants such as Buca di Beppo and Brio Tuscan Grille offer coupons and discounts, and National Waffle Day on March 25, when restaurants such as Bob Evans, Denny's, and Waffle House have offered coupons, buy-one-get-one-free meals, or a free waffle.
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. 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 soften the bite of April 15 for some taxpayers. Other notable national food days this month include Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (April 2) and National Prime Rib Day (April 27).
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 watch for: White Castle offered 25-cent sliders throughout May in recent years in a promotion called "Slider-bration." May is also host to several other celebrations of food. It shouldn't be all that surprising that the month of Cinco de Mayo has been declared National Salsa Month. And lest we forget 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 that's good for the entire month, while local restaurants in Maine, New York, Boston, and elsewhere offer lobster deals on June 15, National Lobster Day. This is also National Candy Month and Iced Tea Month, but most noteworthy is National Doughnut Day, which falls on the first Friday (June 5 in 2015). 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.
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July.July equals summer (at least in the northern hemisphere), and there's no better time for National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month. The ice cream day celebration falls on the third Sunday, and previous years have netted deals from Baskin-Robbins, Graeter's, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab Creamery, MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery, Burger King, and McDonald's, as well as local ice cream shops. 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 the first seven months of the year, August is a slow period for food holidays -- but high time for vacations. In the spirit of the laid-back, warm-weather season, National Root Beer Float Day surfaces on Aug. 6, when A&W Restaurants offered a free float to each customer in 2014. The entire month of August lays claim to National Catfish Month.
September.As summer comes to an end, there's International Bacon Day on the Saturday before Labor Day, which, in 2015, coincides with National Cheese Pizza Day on Sept. 5, marked in the past with a $5 coupon for a large cheese pie at some Papa John's locations. National Guacamole Day arrives on Sept. 16, when several brands will probably offer coupons for the popular dip. National Cheeseburger Day hits two days later, prompting Ruby Tuesday restaurants in years past to give away free cheeseburgers. 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. In honor of National Chicken Month, Popeyes restaurants usually celebrate with a month-long chicken meal deal. September is also National Potato Month and National Rice Month.
October.October is for taco, pizza, and cookie lovers. National Taco Day is Oct. 4 and both Baja Fresh and Taco Time have offered discounts for the occasion in prior years. October is also National Pizza Month and National Cookie Month. Ironically, pizza purveyor Papa John's has observed the moment with an offering of sweets -- a family-size chocolate chip cookie for $5 with the purchase of any pizza; 2015 plans TBD.
November.November is a food days natural: Is there any bigger, more extravagant, national food holiday than Thanksgiving? For 2015, the month gets fleshed out with National Candy Day on Nov. 4 and 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 present opportunities to find deals, coupons, and discounts at your grocer and 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 all month long, whether because of the food holidays or just the festive time of year. Quiznos has traditionally offered a free cookie to customers on National Cookie Day (Dec. 4), because apparently Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and Cookie Month just aren't enough.