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 Chip Cookie Dough — the ice-cream maker’s three most popular flavors in 2016.
Or perhaps you favor good old-fashioned chocolate or vanilla, the flavors with the most Twitter mentions in the past year.
Whatever your flavor of choice, we’ve got 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. Join email lists for free ice cream
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Several ice cream vendors reward you for joining their mailing list. Join Baskin-Robbins Birthday Club, and you’ll get a free 2.5-ounce 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.
2. Try store brands
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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, at my local King Soopers, I can purchase a pint of Kroger brand chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream at full price for $1.69. That compares with $4.99 for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or Häagen-Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough.
Even if you love Ben & Jerry’s, is it really worth paying three times the price?
Other Kroger flavors also are fabulous. You’ll find 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.
3. Go Yonanas
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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 its converts swear tastes exactly like banana ice cream. You can also mix in other fruits, such as strawberries.
4. Protect the ice cream you’ve already got
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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.