Over 15 Freebies and Deals for Furloughed Workers During Government Shutdown

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Potbelly sandwich - government shutdown

Affected by the shutdown?

Thousands of federal workers are going without pay as we face the longest government shutdown in American history. But, many retailers and restaurants are offering “shutdown specials” to help lighten the load! From free bread to cheap meals, here’s where you can save money during the shutdown.

Fazoli's dip in a serving dish

1. Fazoli’s

Through January 27th, participating Fazoli’s locations are offering furloughed federal government employees with valid ID a free Pizza Baked Spaghetti with the purchase of a drink.

Great Harvest Bread Co bread on racks

2. Great Harvest Bread Co.

Over 50 Great Harvest locations nationwide are setting up “Shutdown Shelves” and offering free bread to federal employees impacted by the partial government shutdown. Head here for a list of participating Great Harvest Bread Co. bakeries.

Harlem Globetrotters smiling at the camera

3. Harlem Globetrotters

Any U.S. government employee currently on furlough can show their valid government ID at their local box office and receive two free tickets to a Harlem Globetrotter game in North America, while supplies last. This offer is only valid during the current government shutdown.

Hudson News man using a laptop

4. Hudson Group

Hudson Group, which has more than 1,000 stores in airports and transportation terminals in 87 locations, is offering TSA and customer workers 20% off food, beverages and core store products with their TSA or Transborder ID. This special will continue until the end of the shutdown.

museum sign

5. Museums

Many art museums, as well as select science and history museums, are offering free admission for furloughed federal employees during the U.S. government shutdown with valid ID. Contact your local museum for more details and to verify participation.

Notarizing and signing a document

6. Notarize

Notarize is offering free notarizations for all federal employees during the government shutdown. In order to qualify, participants must sign up for an account with a .gov email address.

Potbelly sandwich

7. Potbelly Sandwich Shop

From January 23rd through January 27th, government workers can get buy one, get one free entrees at Potbelly Sandwich Shop when they show a federal government ID.

Punch Bowl Social bowling shoes

8. Punch Bowl Social

Participating Punch Bowl Social locations are offering a 25% discount on food, beverages, and games to federal government employees with a valid ID (offers may vary). Be sure to check your location’s Facebook page to see if they are participating.

purina cat chow

9. Purina

Purina is offering free pet food for federal employees in need during the government shutdown.

To help ensure pets remain fed, healthy and in their homes during this time, Purina is offering a pet food and litter donation to their 47 Purina Shelter Champion partners across the country, their national pet food distribution partner Rescue Bank, and to the Humane Rescue Alliance’s Pet Pantry program in Washington, D.C. for distribution to federal employees. Check out the Purina website for more details.

Macaroni Grill spaghetti closeup

10. Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Through January 23rd, or until the government shutdown ends, Macaroni Grill is offering all furloughed federal government employees a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti from 11 am to 4 pm daily with federal ID (not valid at airport or international locations). Check out Romano’s Facebook page for details.

rosetta stone man reading book

11. Rosetta Stone

Through January 31st, furloughed government workers can get a free three-month standard Rosetta Stone online subscription for any of their available languages. Just email your name and the name of the government department or agency you work for to expandyourworld@rosettastone.com. Visit Rosetta Stone’s website for more details.

Ruby Slipper Cafe note on a napkin

12. Ruby Slipper Cafe

Affected federal workers and their immediate families with a valid ID badge or business card will be treated to a free meal and beverage at participating Ruby Slipper Cafe locations (Monday-Friday only). There are locations in New Orleans, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. For more details, visit Ruby Slipper Cafe’s website.

Sky Zone trampoline park

13. Sky Zone

Participating Sky Zone Trampoline Park locations are offering furloughed federal government employees or those currently without pay and up to three immediate family members 60 minutes of free play every Tuesday through Thursday in January. Note that a valid government ID and Sky Zone socks are required, but you can reuse SkySocks from previous visits. Visit Sky Zone’s websit for more details.

Taco Cabana tacos on a serving tray

14. Taco Cabana

Participating Texas Taco Cabana locations are offering federal employees affected by the federal government shutdown 20% off with valid federal government employee identification issued by a department affected by the shutdown. The discount will continue through the period of the shutdown unless otherwise announced and has a max cap of $20 in savings. Visit Taco Cabana’s website for more details.

Tanger Outlets storefront

15. Tanger Outlets

Through January 28th, any government workers affected by the shutdown are eligible for a free $20 gift card from Tanger Outlets with a federal ID. Visit the Tanger Outlets website or check out this “TangerCared list of Offers” PDF for more details.

ikea shopping hacks — download content before going to the store

16. Wireless Providers

Customers affected by the shutdown are eligible for flexible payment options or short-term account assistance to keep service including cell phones, television, and internet running. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all offering assistance. Contact your local provider for more details.

Join The Discussion

Comments 59

  1. Octavia

    Thank you Hip2Save for all you have done. As a government worker who is forced to work without pay this means a lot. Thank you for all you do.

    • Jenn

      Prayers to you and your family during this time.

      • Octavia

        Thanks Jenn 😍

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO very welcome, Octavia! ❤❤

    • Christine

      I appreciate as well…some offers that I had not seen before. My husband is furloughed (Homeland Security) and I am working w/o pay (Dept of Justice). Hoping this madness ends soon, and appreciate every little bit!

  2. Jer

    I love this!

  3. Emily

    Love these free deals for those affected. With all the negative things that are covered in the news, I love seeing how Americans and American companies are trying to take care of people who may be in need. I do believe for the most part we aren’t filled with hate like the news would lead you to believe and that in general, Americans really do care about their fellow man regardless of the color of their skin or religion. I’m hoping we can put the spotlight back on those stories and turn from the negative and letting people think it’s ok to be so hateful in how they speak to and treat each other.

    • MeliH

      Well said, Emily.

    • cathieh@live.com

      Emily, I couldn’t of said it any better.

  4. Laurie Higgins

    Thank you for posting. My Son is in the Coast Guard. Things are starting to get tough for all the coasties.

  5. Deanna

    My prayers are with all the families affected by this shutdown.

  6. cindy

    My husband is one of the furloughed employees. His last paycheck was 12/31. Fortunately we have my income. But, we are having to draw from savings to meet expenses. We have three kids, two college age, and one a senior in high school. I remember the 1995 shutdown, but we were at a different stage of life. I pray this ends soon. I can’t understand how this is a valid option for our leaders.

    • Stacey

      same here, my salary will not cover everything, he is the bread winner 🙁 I pray this ends soon as well.

  7. Catherine

    Thank you! 🥰

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome, Catherine!

      • Catherine

        It’s been hard to keep my 2 children fed and to make them feel safe. These deals will definitely help! Thank you!!

        • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

          You are VERY welcome! 💕 Super glad these offers will be helpful!

  8. Peggy2018

    I know how these folks feel. I’ve been out of work for over a year with no benefits or income. Western KY jobs are drying up and going away. It’s scary having to use your savings to keep you afloat with no end in sight. Hope the government gets its sh*t together soon.

  9. Patricia

    Some state employees are affected by the government shutdown. A few of our employees are paid with federal funds so they are off work until the government starts back up. I have been sharing your deals and dropping off food to a single mother that works for us. I couldn’t do it without Hip2Save. Thanks.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, You’re welcome! SO sweet that you have been able to offer help! How generous! ❤

  10. Gen

    Thank you Hip2Save for this post.
    We are also a household affected by the shutdown. My husband is considered “essential,” so he’s still working full-time…and hasn’t been paid since 12/28. Like most that are affected, we’re scrambling to make ends meet. Please, PLEASE continue to post deals such as these; they’re a bright spot in a dim, unknowable future.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO very welcome, Gen! We are glad to help and will keep an eye out for any other offers that pop up.

  11. somelikeithotandglutenfree

    My husband and I are both Federal employees forced to work without pay and the outreach of the community and local businesses is so heartwarming to see! Thank you so much for this list! I will be sure to share with my co-workers who are also struggling right now.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re most welcome! Super glad you can pass this along!

  12. Michelle

    Thank you for this. We’re another family affected…..my husband works for Homeland Security and is considered essential. No paycheck and no end in sight……the uncertainty is getting unbearable.

    • Gen

      I agree with you, Michelle. It’s the “uncertainty” of it that makes this situation even more infuriating. How long can government workers possibly hold on while working for $0? It’s appalling.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Michelle! Our thoughts are with you and your family.

  13. Angie Wallace

    My husband and I are both government employees who is forced to work without pay. I want to thank Tanger Outlet for the gift card, Great Harvest Bread Co. for donating food to federal families. I came into work this morning with tears in my eyes to see all that food. I can pack my kids lunch this week for school.

  14. Mo

    For those struggling, PLEASE use your local credit unions as a resource to help pull through! Many are offering payment deferrals on existing loans, and low or zero percent pay-alternative loans equivalent to a period of time of your net pay. Many are getting very creative in the options they are offering government employees to help you pull through this difficult time.

    • shop4mybabies

      credit card companies and mortgage companies are also offering help

  15. Dee

    I am so happy that these retailers and companies especially those that are giving free meals are sympathetic to the needs of these people.

    A mutual friend just moved to DC a few months ago for a job and now is out of work.

  16. DEE

    I always get valuable information on Hip2Save and pass along.

    Thank you for the posting!

  17. Jena

    I’m the breadwinner in the house and while I am eternally grateful for the extra time with the kids, going so long without pay that I have broken barriers to just earn the right to work for makes my heart heavy. The businesses and community members that have rallied around those of us furloughed is beyond a blessing. I went to Great Harvest today and grabbed bread (for three boys under 9) and they were so kind and understanding. A woman in line heard our convo and offered to pay for the extra stuff in line bc she had no idea how bad the shut down affected folks. I told her there are so many worse off and to spread the word of extra programs of help and kindest much like I learned from this site. Thank you so much for posting all of this!

  18. Patty d

    Thank you for posting.
    I am so glad that businesses are rallying to help those in need.

  19. Kristin

    I am a contractor for the federal government and have not been able to work since the shutdown started. Unlike the federal employees, contractors will not get back pay. I have been fortunate to build up my PTO bank over the years in order to still get a paycheck currently (by exhausting my PTO hours). Many of my co-workers don’t have any PTO left and are now left with no pay…and no back pay. I am also a single mother so I do not have a second income to fall back on. Just fortunate that I live below my means which has paid off for this unfortunate situation.

  20. FedUp871

    I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy, but praying is not going to end a government shutdown. Yes, it’s nice to see there are resources out there, and people coming together to help federal government employees. However, I rather have people call their senators, apply pressure on them , and ask their senators to help end the shutdown. As a federal government employee its disgusting having to USE Us as hostages. Nobody likes showing up to work for free.

  21. Fran

    Thanks for posting! As a furloughed worker, I’ve been trying to keep up with the deals but hadn’t seen a couple of these before. For finding local deals, I’ve found that news/radio/newspaper sites have done a good job of compiling lists. For those furloughed government employees and contractors with pets, many animal shelters like the one I volunteer with have been offering pet pantries to provide food for pets. Those haven’t been getting as much media attention but wanted to highlight that those may also be available in your area. We want to make sure all members of the family eat!

  22. Wendy

    Paypal is also offering $250-$500 no interest loans to affected government employees. Go to paypal.com to see details.

  23. India Dausch

    Thank you SO much for this! My husband is still forced to work with no pay and our family of 5 is really struggling badly. Unfortunately, in our area of Georgia, no help is being offered and my husbands port that he works at is refusing to allow donations as they are viewed as a “conflict of interest “. He works for Customs and Border Protection and they cannot accept things as they could be viewed as “bribes.” So, I just really appreciate this more than you know.

    • 4shankogirls

      I’m so sorry to hear your husband is not able to accept help. Totally unfair

    • Christy

      You can accept something (discount/meal/etc) if it is offered to all government employees but not if it is offered only to him or only to CBP.

      • Indiashea

        Christy, That was always the policy at every port my husband has worked at, but the Port Director in Savannah directly refused to allow a company to take the CBP employees as a whole to lunch, claiming it would be a bribe.
        Nothing is ever the same!
        Thanks though🙂

  24. Deb

    hi Hip2 Save, thanks for running this post to help the furloughed and essential workers. It might be useful to run a post listing sites where folks can earn points to turn into gift cards and cash. I do swagbucks and it’s timeconsuming. One thing some furloughed workers may have is time. There are other sites. Even though it’s only a little every bit helps when you’re in a cash crunch.

  25. Kathy

    Thank you so much! I’m a furloughed government employee! Please keep updating this list for us.

  26. Judy Trac @ Lipscomb

    I don’t work for government but I’m struggling to keep my image lol

  27. Melanie

    To those furloughed, check with your financial institution about offers they might have for you. Some have 0% loans that you pay back once you get paid again. Some have where you can skip your loans or get a low interest loan. Doesn’t hurt to see if you can get help through them.

  28. Erika

    I just saw on the Suave Facebook page that they are giving free suave to furloughed employees.

  29. Lisa

    Countless places here in Las Vegas are offering deals for food and services, and several companies are giving guaranteed jobs to those effected by the shutdown. Great city to live in.

  30. Maggie

    I needed this. Thank you! Working without pay since December 22nd. Never in my life have I gone without pay. Praying for those who are worse than us. Please say a prayer for us all. Thank you!

  31. Christine

    Email this AM – “Lidl will be offering $10 off an eligible purchase of $40 or more on January 26 and 27 for those employees impacted by the shutdown. All you’ll need is your grocery list— show your valid federal government employee ID at checkout to get this discount. If you have personally been affected by this, please stop by as we know times are tough”
    They just built one near me…hope this may helps others!

  32. coulter

    So what about now when all the “affected” workers get all their back pay ?? Seems quite overdramatic IMO

    • Christine

      My husband and I have both missed 2 paychecks; you try working w/o pay, and maintaining a household when the bills continue to come in, not knowing when this is all going to end. Remember, this all started before Christmas, so we have had to sell some of our possessions to pay off those charge cards we used to buy our children’s presents. And we may be in the same position again 3 weeks from now. I truly appreciate any business that wants to take away a little of that stress we have been going had through no fault of our own.

    • mgna

      Condescending much ?!!
      Over dramatic? There wasn’t an end date until yesterday, and the re-opening is only until Feb. 15th. Employees could easily be facing the same circumstances in 3 weeks.
      Our mortgage, teen’s university payment, utilities, groceries, and $4000 unexpected medical bills at Christmas didn’t halt when the pay periods printed $0 for the pay stubs. We still don’t have an official date when any pay will be received.

  33. Sympathy

    So sad contract workers do not get Back pay! Some I know even have terrible health benefits, ect. A shame all this affecting them like this No matter what we think of situation their pay checks and bills are suffering too. Hope it gets settled for good and the right way/whatever that is-not going political. Prayers for all.

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