Grocery shopping is an essential part of our lives - and eating out is a treat that many of us enjoy from time to time.

The bill, however, is never very enjoyable.

It's no wonder that budget supermarkets such as Aldi - the cheapest in the UK - are now so popular.

And following the news that interest rates have gone up for the first time since 2007 , lots of people will be trying to save even more money.

The good news is that there are opportunities to get food and drink for free at restaurants and supermarkets.

Here's our pick of the best offers around.

Free drinks at Pizza Express

Vegan pizza at Pizza Express
Vegan pizza at Pizza Express

Pizza Express restaurants run an offer for free drinks if you're going there for birthday celebrations.

You need to sign up to the restaurant newsletter at least four weeks ahead of your birthday.

Pizza Express will contact you on the Wednesday before the big day to send you a code for the offer. Make sure you check your spam/junk folder in case their email ends up there.

This offer gets you a bottle of prosecco or wine, or up to four Peroni beers or six soft drinks.

Free fries or side at KFC

Download the app for the Colonel's Club and you'll get a free side for signing up, plus free fries on Fridays.

In addition, every purchase over £3 earns you stamps that you can exchange for food. Three stamps gets you a free side and seven stamps gets a free snack.

Free cake and coffee from Greggs

Christmas Gingerbread Muffin at Greggs
Christmas Gingerbread Muffin at Greggs

If you register online for the Greggs app , you will get a voucher for your birthday that offers a free cupcake, cream cake or doughnut.

You also get a free coffee after you've bought seven coffees.

Free burger/hot dog - and a free shake - at Ed's Easy Diner

If you sign up online to Ed's Easy Diner club , you get a welcome email offering you a free burger or hot dog with the purchase of any drink - plus a free shake on your birthday.

Free birthday drink at Bar Estillo

Sign up to Bar Estillo's E-Club and you'll get a free bottle of cava or prosecco on your birthday.

Free doughnut at Krispy Kreme

Get a free glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme if you sign up to the Friends of Krispy Kreme newsletter and fill in a short survey.

The offer works at any Krispy Kreme including stands in Tesco and service stations. There are also birthday treats for subscribers.

Free cake from Patisserie Valerie

Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea
Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea

Join the Patisserie Valerie Cake Club and you'll get promotional offers plus a free cake on your birthday.

Become a mystery shopper/diner

There are loads of market research firms that offer the chance to be a mystery shopper or diner.

If selected, you'll be offered a set amount to spend at a restaurant or supermarket.

For instance, you could get a £100 gift card to spend at Aldi if you sign up to UK Mystery Shopper. You then give written feedback on your experience - and can keep all the goods you've purchased.

Mystery diners get a set amount of spend at a named restaurant, and then have to give feedback. But do check beforehand to make sure the payment will actually cover the full cost of a meal.

It might take a few weeks to get the payment back after you give your report on the meal.

Sign up to Olio for free food

Olio is a free app offering the chance to get free food (and other household items).

The idea is that instead of surplus food being thrown away by shops and restaurants, it's offered to the local community. If you see something you want, you request it and then arrange to collect.

Olio is available for free in the app store.

Get the O2 Priority deals app

O2 smartphone customers can download the free app O2 Priority from the app store.

This gets you deals - with previous offers including free coffee, free chocolate and lots more.

Moneysavingexpert says the app can still be used if you are not on O2 - they suggest temporarily inserting a free Pay As You Go Sim card from O2,. downloading the app and then reverting to your usual Sim. According to their reports, the O2 app has remained usable after that.

Free tea or coffee at IKEA

Coffee time at the Bistro
Coffee time at IKEA

You can get a free cup of tea or filter coffee at IKEA when using the IKEA Family Card at the in-store restaurant.

You can sign up to the Family Card online or in stores.

Only one card needs to be used to get free drinks for everyone you are with.

But note that the free drink offer applies only on weekdays, not at weekends.

Free £10 voucher for Frankie & Benny's

Sign up to the Frankie & Benny's app and you'll get a free £10 voucher to use on your next visit to one of the restaurants.

These are the things you NEED to know when shopping at Aldi

Get the Wuntu app for Three UK users

The Three phone network has an app called Wuntu, launched at the start of 2017 and available in the app store.

The app comes with rewards including free food and drink.

  • Let us know if you aware of any other great food and drink freebies