Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: Signing your kids up for various birthday clubs is a no-brainer. Kids like mail and they like more stuff. While we might not like more stuff, we feel better about it if it's not costing us anything.
Most kids' birthday clubs have to do with food and a free kids' meal (Denny's, California Pizza Kitchen, Boston Market, Burger King) or ice cream (Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, Ben and Jerry's). But some are more interesting. Toys"R"Us, for example, has a birthday club that sends your child a birthday card and a $3 gift card that's good for over a month -- and when you visit to redeem the card, they get a balloon crown and an in-store announcement. (Too much for some kids, but mine lap it up ....) There is also a strange birthday call from "Geoffrey," the Toys"R"Us giraffe, which is confusing to my youngest and hilarious to my oldest, but I think it's a nice touch.
Ace Hardware (of all places!) has a birthday club where kids get a coupon to come in for a free gift on their birthdays
. I'm not sure what it is, but my kids love tape measures and those rectangular contractors' pencils, so how could it not be a hit?
Kmart just started a birthday club that gives your child a $5 gift card, a birthday crown and a "birthday surprise pack."
Birthday clubs aren't just for the kids, either. Black Angus, Tony Roma's and Fuddruckers all send out free meal coupons for adult birthdays
, and Denny's, IHOP and Round Table will give you a meal on the actual day for just stopping in. (Dennys' birthday meal is a Grand Slam breakfast, and Round Table's is a personal pizza. Check with your local IHOP to see if they participate.)
Buca di Beppo lets you sign up the whole family
for offers on each birthday, and Maggiano's gives a $10 coupon. Ace Hardware will send you a coupon on your birthday for $5 off $20, and The Children's Place will send those elusive 20-percent-off coupons during the month of each of your children's birthdays
I'm waiting for the bookstore birthday clubs for the whole family
Oh, and lest the animals feel left out, Petco and Petmart also offer birthday clubs for the pets ....