During a time when everyone seems to be looking for ways to cut corners one expenses, it isn’t imperative to cut quality or fun. Houston , Texas is full of activities that are low-cost or free, and it’s easy to find ways to save a little money on nearly everything. Here are some ideas to get you and your family started:
Social media: Have a Facebook or Twitter account? “Friend” your favorite places and watch for rebates or coupon codes. A lot of companies will share information about early sales or send coupons for special products to try. Also do a search for “cheap” or “coupon” for users like @Houston Entrée, @HOUcheap or @couponfanatic who summarize savings opportunities.
Grocery stores: Before TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” aired, a good number of American families knew the value of couponing. Involve the whole family in looking for coupons or going through Sunday’s newspaper and reap the benefits at the store.
Power of the pen: I learned while doing a middle school science project that if you write to companies requesting samples, you almost always get them (plus a few coupons). Involve the kids for an educational opportunity: how to write a business letter.
Groupon, LivingSocial, and OurBlok: All websites or services that feature at least one daily special that is usually a product or service at 50%+ off of retail. Check the website itself or subscribe to the daily email for the latest deal.
Wholesale Clubs: Costco usually has a pretty wide assortment of gift cards that can be purchased for less than the face value of the gift card. The assortment varies by location, but I have seen everything from chains to 5-star restaurant gift cards offered.
Restaurant.com: This website offers gift certificates for sometimes 90% off of the face value. Be sure to check the fine print: most are valid during weekday lunches and exclude alcohol and gratuity.
Free kids’ meals: Offered usually during the week, at a specific time, kids’ meals are free at quite a few Houston area restaurants. Check out this website for a guide to local restaurants that offer this perk.
Parks: Houston is full of parks that are open to the public. Though specific activities (like paddle boats in Hermann Park ) do usually have a cost, entrance to the parks are free. Some of the biggest and best known (Memorial Park, Hermann Park, Discovery Green) have the most to do.
The Miller Outdoor Theatre: Featuring free children’s performances during the week, the Miller Outdoor Theatre offers quality live entertainment for free!
Children’s Museum of Houston : Like most museums in the Houston Museum District, the Children’s Museum has a free family night (Thursday). Days and times do change, so be sure to check the website for the Children’s Museum (or the museum of your choice) before you go.
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