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Freebies You Can Get When You Turn 50 (and Older!)

Score a free lunch — plus magazine subscriptions, medications and more

spinner image freebies after age fifty such as books medication food and museum visits
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Turning 50 is a milestone, and there are plenty of ways to mark that big day. Some of them are free. Give yourself a treat by seeking out a few benefits of being older that don’t cost a thing. ​

Some freebies start at age 50 and others have no age requirement. All you need is a little patience when it comes to doing your research and to know where to look.​

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Dallas retiree Tatia Woldt, 56, often gets free drinks and groceries and has won weekly Italian meals and burritos for a year from two local restaurants. She says she typically finds three or four free things a week.​

“It’s fun to see how much I can save,” Woldt says. “With prices going up, it’s really nice to get something free once in a while.”​

And in times of high inflation, freebies “can give you little bits of a quality of life you couldn’t afford otherwise,” says Molly Moorhead, a certified financial planner and editorial director of The Penny Hoarder website.​

Many giveaways require you to sign up for a loyalty program or promotional emails, download mobile apps or provide your address, email address or birthday. Some deals are based on age or income; others are open to anyone.​

If you have privacy concerns, experts recommend creating a separate, free email account specifically for freebies so your personal or work email is never compromised and those inboxes aren’t cluttered. You also can get a free Google Voice phone number for this purpose.​

These are some of the top freebies you can get starting at age 50:​

Happy birthday to you

Ryan Eubanks, owner of the Hey, It’s Free! website, says the most popular page on his site is “birthdays.” Most places require you to join their rewards program at least one month before your birthday to redeem a gift, but there are exceptions. ​

While some companies, including Dunkin' and Sephora, recently have changed or narrowed their birthday rewards, hundreds of businesses provide a birthday gift — from airline miles to movie popcorn. Check if your birthday freebie requires a purchase. Some of the best birthday deals are face and body products for rewards members from businesses like Aveda, Tarte Cosmetics and Ulta Beauty.

Get free food

Perhaps the most common birthday freebie is food. Olive Garden diners can receive a free birthday dessert without joining anything. If you register for Benihana’s Chef’s Table, you get a $30 birthday certificate. Members of The Spaghetti Warehouse club get a free meal, and if you join Houlihan’s email club, you get a free entrée. Krispy Kreme Rewards members get a free dozen donuts during their birthday month. ​

Woldt receives many free items by downloading restaurant and grocery apps, “liking” Facebook pages and registering for emails and newsletters. She also watches social media for restaurant grand openings, where they often have giveaways or free food.​

Health & Wellness

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When you join Buca di Beppo restaurant’s eClub, you get exclusive offers and coupons — and you’re automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win pasta for a year for free. Chili’s rewards members get free chips and salsa or a nonalcoholic drink with every visit. At sign-up, Cold Stone Creamery’s club provides a buy-one-get-one-free coupon.​

Stay healthy

Some pharmacy chains offer free generic prescription drugs and other supplies. Not all locations participate, and you may need a doctor’s prescription. Good Neighbor Pharmacy, a national network of independent pharmacies, provides free multivitamins for older adults each month. In the Northeast, Price Chopper pharmacies offer blood pressure screening, several diabetes medications, a blood glucose meter, a lancet device and lancets — all for free. ​

Many health and personal care companies give away samples to test new products, boost sales or for marketing purposes, Eubanks says. Most don’t ask your age, he adds. Popular samples include pain relief, like a Salonpas Flex Patch, Breathe Right nasal strips and adult underwear, such as a Tena free sample kit.​

Get a ride

Some older adults may no longer drive or don’t have access to rides, but there are many community-based free transit options. If you live in Dallas or the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area, AARP’s Ride@50+ Program provides free transportation to people starting at age 50. In the Miami area, Social Security beneficiaries or adults age 65 and older can apply to ride transit for free. Check in your location to see what’s available.​

Free reading

Books at public libraries are free with a library card. Many libraries also offer patrons access to free digital books and movies through the Libby and Hoopla websites and apps. Join Goodreads, a reading social network, and you can enter giveaways for print and digital books.​

Free subscription offers for magazines — such as Condé Nast Traveler, Elle and HGTV Magazine — for one year or longer change frequently, but about two dozen exist at any one time, Eubanks says. “You’ll never get a bill because you never give your payment information,” he says.​

Libraries also offer lots of other free things ranging from museum passes to conference space.

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Fewer banking fees

Some banks offer free checking and other perks to adults age 60 and older, but a couple do so for people in their 50s. Starting at 55, online bank Axos’ Golden Checking Account charges no monthly maintenance fees and provides free checks, up to $8 domestic ATM fee reimbursements per month, and 0.10 percent interest. If you have a U.S. Bank credit card, join the bank’s Smart Rewards program. If your monthly direct deposits total at least $1,000 or you’re at least 65, the bank's Smartly Checking Account is free, plus you get free paper statements and a 50 percent discount on personal check reorders and safe deposit box fees.​

Tour a museum

In addition to the free Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., others across the country, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art and Missouri’s Saint Louis Science Center, are always free.​

Some museums, including the Denver Art Museum in Colorado and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, offer free admission on certain days for anyone or state residents. In California, many library cardholders can access free tickets to local museums and cultural sites through the Discover & Go program. ​

Take college classes

In most states, some colleges and universities offer free tuition for people in their 60s to support lifelong learning, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison which waives tuition for adults that age or older who live in the state. Colorado State University in Fort Collins permits free resident instruction classes for people age 55 and over. Programs differ by state and typically are based on space availability and instructor approval.​

Stream shows

Many public libraries also offer cardholders free digital movies through Libby, Hoopla and the Kanopy app. Some streaming services, such as Apple TV, BritBox and Hulu, offer free trials of a week or longer.​

“It’s just fun to get something free,” Moorhead says. “You feel like you’ve won — like you’ve scored. We all have that motivation in us to get something you didn’t have.”​​

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