The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Skip the Nashville party bus, load up on birthday freebies instead

Save money on a birthday cake and try a smorgasbord of Crumbl, Jeni’s, Nothing Bundt Cakes and more on your special day.
Sofia El-Shammaa
A graphic depicting birthday snacks and gifts. (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)

The start of the school year comes with a lot of stress: moving in, adjusting to classes, joining new clubs and… birthdays. If it seems as though everyone and their mother were born in August and September, the data backs this up. August is the most popular month for birthdays, while September holds the three most popular birthdays of the year: Sept. 9, 19 and 12, respectively. Born on Sept. 16, the former most popular birthday until it was overtaken by the ninth, I’m no exception. 

Whether you’re trying to plan a celebration for a friend’s birthday or celebrate your own, it can be challenging to find ways to make the day as special as possible. For my 20th birthday this year, my friends and I decided to explore the city — and pick up birthday freebies along the way. Keep reading to learn what surprises await you on your birthday in Nashville; after all, who doesn’t love free stuff? 


Most birthday freebies, as expected, are food items. Though fleeting, these options certainly do leave a delectable impact in the moment.

1. Starbucks

By far the best treat you can get on your birthday is at Starbucks. With a (free!) Starbucks® Rewards account on the app, all you have to do is enter your birthday, and you’ll receive a reward for a free drink of any size, type and add-ons every year. My go-to birthday drink is a venti chai latte with vanilla cold foam and one pump of brown sugar syrup — but feel free to go as crazy as you’d like. It’s your birthday, after all!

2. Crumbl

Located mere minutes away from campus in Hillsboro Village, a Crumbl cookie on your birthday is a must. Download the app, join Crumbl Loyalty and enter your date of birth to receive a free cookie of your choice. Though some flavors can be hit-or-miss, I went with the Sea Salt Toffee Cookie and didn’t regret a crumb! 

3. Auntie Anne’s

After all that sugar, you may want something savory to reset your palate. Fortunately for Vanderbilt students, Auntie Anne’s is a quick bus ride away at The Mall at Green Hills. Upon joining Auntie Anne’s Rewards and entering your birthday, you will receive a free birthday pretzel of your choosing every year. 

4. Nothing Bundt Cakes

I’m honestly not too much of a cake person, but Nothing Bundt Cakes has my whole heart. Though not within walking distance from campus, it is a short bus ride away, located near Target and Trader Joe’s. Joining Nothing Bundt Cakes’ eClub signs you up for the usual newsletters, but — more importantly — awards you a free Bundtlet on your birthday. How cute is that? 

Honorable mentions: There are countless other chains and restaurants that offer you free food on your birthday — it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. If my above recommendations didn’t entice you, you can also get free coffee at Dunkin and Cinnabon, ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and Jeni’s, a cronut at Five Daughters Bakery, a pastry at Panera Bread and even a Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze at Taco Bell. Often, these rewards are valid for your entire birthday month, so don’t at all feel pressured to stop by every single place in one day. The world is your oyster, and on your birthday, you are the pearl. 


If baked goods aren’t your thing, you’re still in luck! A trip to Green Hills also offers plenty of retail and cosmetic stores with their own share of birthday specials.

1. Sephora

If I could only stop at one store, Sephora would be the one. With a free Beauty Insider membership, you are eligible to receive a free Sephora birthday gift, which consists of a few different gift bundle options ranging from perfumes to haircare products to mascara and lipstick. Note that the gift is only free if you visit Sephora in-person; online birthday gifts are only sent alongside a minimum $25 purchase. Plus, you may even be able to get a complimentary “mini-makeover” (at participating locations) by Sephora beauticians if you so choose. 

2. Ulta

Ulta’s birthday freebies are incredibly popular as well. They’re so popular, in fact, that they were entirely out of giveaway items when I stopped by. Pro tip for this one: Snag your free birthday gift early in your birthday month. Wait too long — especially for any August and September birthdays, and you may be left empty-handed. 

3. H&M

Unlike Sephora and Ulta, H&M does not provide its customers with items that are entirely free. It does, however, offer its H&M Loyalty Program members 25% off an online or in-store purchase. Something is better than nothing!

Honorable mentions: If those stores didn’t catch your eye, check out the rewards programs at Banana Republic and Forever 21 — they’ll earn you coupons ranging from $10-20 off your purchase for your birthday.

Classes, clubs and more will always be there, but your birthday only happens once a year. So, go out there and have fun!  These restaurants and shops have created programs to celebrate you. However, it’s up to you to explore the city, collect your freebies and, most of all, cherish the memories you make along the way.

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Brina Ratangee
Brina Ratangee, Editorial Director
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. She previously served as News Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys trivia nights, solving NYT crosswords and biking around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Sofia El-Shammaa
Sofia El-Shammaa, Staff Writer and Photographer, Data and Graphics Staffer
Sofia El-Shammaa (‘27) is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When they’re not writing or making graphics, you can find them with their cat, Mochi, watching bad movies or reading good books. You can reach them at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments