5 Delicious Ways to Save on Ice Cream

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Discover how to save on America's favorite dessert throughout the year.

Just about everybody screams for ice cream, and those cries will only get louder this Sunday, July 17, which is National Ice Cream Day.

Even the most disciplined of dieters can easily find their reserves melt in the face of a heaping scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked, Cherry Garcia or Chocolate Fudge Brownie — the ice-cream maker’s three most popular flavors last year.

Or perhaps you favor good old-fashioned chocolate, cookies-and-cream or vanilla, the top three finishers in a 2014 poll by Vision Critical and Yahoo.

Ice cream has a long history in the U.S. According to the National Day Calendar website:

It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them.  Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.

Whatever your flavor of choice, we’ve got a roundup of Sunday’s best deals — plus some ideas for saving some cold hard cash on America’s favorite dessert throughout the year.

Read on before you get the next cone of your own.

1. Celebrate this Sunday with ice cream deals

Girl with ice cream coneMaryna Pleshkun / Shutterstock.com

Perhaps you overdid your July 4th celebration with a bit too much ice cream, preferably a red, white and blue variety. If so, you are carrying on a fine tradition. Founding Fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all were said to be fans of the frozen confection.

Maybe that’s why another president — Ronald Reagan — declared July to be National Ice Cream Month. And on the third Sunday of the month, we devote a single day to our love of the cold and creamy treat. That means deals at many shops around town. Here’s the scoop:

  • Baskin-Robbins. At this chain, you won’t get anything free. But you can do a good deed by ordering an ice cream float on July 17. Baskin-Robbins will donate 75 cents from every float sold to the military charity United Service Organizations.
  • Friendly’s. A company representative tells Money Talks News that instead of celebrating National Ice Cream Day, Friendly’s is celebrating the entire summer with Sprinklefest. Among the treats are a single-scoop cone of any flavor for $1.99 and a $2.99 Sundae Funday Cone — a single scoop in a waffle cone topped with hot fudge and whipped cream.
  • Cold Stone Creamery. This chain has been celebrating with deals throughout National Ice Cream Month. As for this Sunday, the company is a bit cagey. But it declares the following: “But you best believe that when the big day arrives, we go big!”
  • Sonic. The famous drive in is offering half-price ice cream cones all day. A great way to cool off for less!
  • PetSmart. Does your pooch have a soft spot for soft serve? While we can’t exactly help you with that, we can tell you that PetSmart is offering free sample of doggie sundaes at its PetsHotel locations.

2. Join email lists for free ice cream

Ice cream plateViktor1 / Shutterstock.com

Several ice cream vendors reward you for joining their mailing list. Join Baskin-Robbins Birthday Club, and you’ll get a free scoop of ice cream and $3 off an ice cream cake. You also will be eligible for other offers throughout the year.

Over at Cold Stone Creamery, join the My Cold Stone Club and get an offer of two creations for the price of one. Cold Stone Creamery will email you a similar offer on your birthday and notify you of other members-only deals throughout the year.

Join the BFF Club at Friendly’s, and you will get 25 percent off your next visit and a free scoop, as well as $1 off two Friendly’s ice cream cartons. You’ll receive other sweet deals during the year, including free birthday sundaes.

Want free Dippin’ Dots on your birthday? Get those and other promotions for joining the Dot Crazy Email & Rewards Club. And you get a buy-one, get-one Blizzard coupon — plus other treats on your birthday and sign-up anniversary — for joining Dairy Queen’s Blizzard Fan Club.

3. Try store brands

Ice cream shopperlightpoet / Shutterstock.com

The ice cream aisle at your local grocer is a veritable Garden of Earthly Delights for those who love frozen treats. But those expensive prices can bring you back to reality in a hurry.

Fortunately, you can save a bundle simply by trying out a store brand.

For example, right now at my local King Soopers, I can purchase a pint of Kroger brand ice cream on sale for just $1. That compares with a sale price of $3.49 for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (normally $4.79) and a regular price of $4.49 for just 14 ounces of Häagen-Dazs.

And the Kroger flavors are fabulous: Everything from basic strawberry, chocolate and vanilla to mint chocolate chip and rocky road. You’ll even find varieties with bits of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth.

4. Go Yonanas

Frozen bananasAdriana Nikolova / Shutterstock.com

The cold, hard truth about ice cream is that it can be lousy for your waistline and your health. But there is a much healthier way to satisfy that cool, creamy craving.

A Yonanas dessert maker machine allows you to transform frozen bananas into a delicious treat that converts swear tastes exactly like banana ice cream. You can also mix in other fruits, such as strawberries.

5. Protect the ice cream you’ve already got

Father and son ice creamLevent Konuk / Shutterstock.com

Few things will put your enthusiasm for ice cream on ice faster than a bad case of freezer burn. Those ice particles can put a serious strain on the love affair between your taste buds and a carton of butter pecan.

Throwing out ice cream because of freezer burn is a big waste of cash. Fortunately, Cary Frye of the International Dairy Foods Association knows how to turn a blowtorch on freezer burn. According to Epicurious:

Frye places a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream before replacing the lid. By minimizing permeable surfaces, you’re making less places for the ice cream to be exposed to air. This won’t make your ice cream invincible, but it’s enough to keep it fresh for a little bit longer.

Also, keep ice cream in the back of the freezer, where it is exposed less to air in general, and temperature fluctuations in particular.

Do you have any tips for saving cold cash on ice cream? Let us know why by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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