January specials: Your monthly guide to freebies and meal deals

January is the month of resolutions.

And if you’re resolving to save more money in 2019, you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to USA TODAY’s January guide of free food, meal deals, made-up food holidays and other savings.

One of the month’s sweetest days is Jan. 23, which is National Pie Day not to be confused with Pi Day held March 14.

Bookmark this page because it’ll be updated frequently with more specials.

Here are the deals, big days and ongoing specials, available at participating locations. To be on the safe side, always check with your closest location before heading out. Also, some will require you to have a restaurant’s app or be signed up for emails.

If you know of a deal not listed here for a business with at least 20 locations, email the details to kelly.tyko@tcpalm.com.

More: Be on the lookout! New Dark Chocolate Oreo cookies hitting store shelves

More: McDonald’s brings back 2 for $5 Mix Match Deal, includes new Quarter Pounder with Cheese

More: Free coffee, doughnuts, cheeseburgers and more: How to fill 2019 with freebies and deals

Limited-time specials

IHOP: For a limited time at participating locations, get all-you-can-eat pancakes with any breakfast combo or get just the pancakes for $4.99. Dine-in and buttermilk pancakes only. Some exclusions apply and this offer isn’t valid with senior and kids meals.

Taco Bell: Not a deal, but in a tweet Taco Bell announced the Naked Chicken Chalupa is back on the menu “for a hot second” and to “get it ASAP before it disappears again.”

More: Taco Bell testing new items for menu: Beefy Potato Flatbread, two new Nachos Boxes

Jan. 4-11: Get a free Wendy’s Frosty with purchase and app

Friday, Jan. 4 was National Roast Day and to celebrate Wendy’s invited brands and fans to volunteer for a signature roast on its Twitter account, which is known for being sassy.

Participating locations are also away a free small Frosty with any purchase with the Wendy’s app through Jan. 11, according to this tweet.

Jan. 7-13: Fazoli’s furlough freebie

Through Sunday, Jan. 13, participating Fazoli’s restaurants invite furloughed federal government employees with a valid ID to come in for a free Pizza Baked Spaghetti with the purchase of a regular-size or larger drink.

“We wanted to do our part to make life a little easier on the people in our communities who have been affected by the shutdown,” said Carl Howard, CEO of the Italian fast-casual chain in a statement.

There’s a limit of one meal per eligible guest per day.

Jan. 9: National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Some businesses are recognizing law enforcement officers on Wednesday, Jan. 9 for National Law Enforcement Day. Check with smaller chains and local restaurants for additional deals.

Biggby Coffee: On Wednesday, active and retired law enforcement officers get a free hot coffee at participating locations when the show their ID.

Biscuitville‏: All emergency services personnel get a free biscuit with uniform or valid ID Wednesday at all locations except for the Elon University location.

Sonny’s BBQ: Law enforcement officers with a valid ID or badge get a free pork sandwich Wednesday at all locations.

Jan. 10-16: Jersey’s Mikes deal

Jersey Mike’s Subs is now partnering with Uber Eats to deliver its subs. To introduce the delivery option, Jersey Mike’s is launching a promotion. From Jan. 10-16, customers ordering $20 or more through Uber Eats will receive $10 off their order with promo code SUBS19.

Jan. 10-17: BJ’s EnLIGHTened meal deal

BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse has an early deal for National Ditch Your Resolution Day held on Jan. 17, which the company calls “a little nudge to keep their resolutions going.”

Starting Thursday, Jan. 10 and through Jan. 17, the chain’s new “EnLIGHTened” entrees will be $9.95 with a coupon that will be posted at www.enlightenedentrees.com. 

BJ’s EnLIGHTened menu includes Blackened Chicken Zucchini Noodles, Grilled Chicken Antipasto Salad and Moroccan Chicken.

Jan. 11: Free coffee for 7-Eleven’s half-birthday

Friday, Jan. 11 is 7-Eleven’s half-birthday and America’s largest convenience store chain is celebrating by giving away free small cups of coffee.

This freebie is only for members of the 7Rewards members, who will get a coupon on the 7-Eleven smartphone app.

Sign up for the free loyalty program at the 7Rewards website, by downloading the 7-Eleven app, messaging the 7-Eleven bot on Facebook Messenger or by picking up a physical 7Rewards card at participating locations. 

7-Eleven celebrates its birthday July 11, also dubbed Free Slurpee Day, by giving away free Slurpee drinks.

Jan. 15: National Bagel Day

In 2017 and past years, the “hole-iest” food holiday was held in February. 

“After years of watching National Bagel Day share the spotlight with National Pizza Day, Thomas’ (Bagels) hosted a poll where hundreds of bagel lovers across the country “hole”-heartedly voted in favor of changing the date and giving the iconic breakfast staple its very own day of appreciation,” according to the food holiday’s website, NationalBagelDay.com, noting the move to Jan. 15.

Thomas will have a contest on its Facebook page on Jan. 15 and bagel chains are expected to mark the day with deals and freebies.

Jan. 19: National Popcorn Day

In past years, some movie theater chains have offered deals on the classic movie snack in honor of the made-up holiday. Tip: Use theater rewards programs to save on popcorn and movie tickets throughout the year.

Jan. 23: National Pie Day

Mark your calendar now for some sweet deals. And since Pie Day falls on a Wednesday this year, it means it’s also Free Pie Wednesday at restaurants including Village Inn and Baker’s Square.

Ongoing specials

Applebee’s: The January drink of the month is the “$2 Captain and Cola,” made with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Pepsi and served in a 10-ounce mug.

Chili’s: The chain’s first $5 margarita of the month for 2019 is a fan favorite from 2018, The Cherry Blossom. The drink features of Lunazul tequila, St-Germain, Fresh Sour and Grenadine.

Dunkin’: Through March 3, get a medium-sized latte or cappuccino, hot or iced, for $2 from 2 to 6 p.m. at participating locations.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen: For a limited time, get three pieces of chicken tenders or bone-in chicken with a biscuit for $3.99.

Taco Bell: Get a free drink with any purchase through the app or website once-a-day through Feb. 1. According to the fine print, this deal is available at participating locations for web and app pay ahead orders only.

Wendy’s: The fast-food chain has brought back its Giant Junior Bacon Cheeseburger – also known as the Giant JBC – and its signature $5 meal deal. The combo deal, available for a limited time at participating locations, includes the Giant JBC, four-piece chicken nuggets, small fries and a small drink for $5. The burger also is available a la carte for $3.49. Pricing and participation can vary.

Kelly Tyko is a consumer columnist and retail reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers and TCPalm.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista, follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko and email her at kelly.tyko@tcpalm.com.

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