Tax Day Freebies & Deals in Houston 2014 (Updated)

Tax Day Freebies 2014Businesses are gearing up for Tax Day deals and freebies. It’s always a favorite list here at Houston on the Cheap! Here is what I’ve seen in Houston to ease the pain April 15:

Arby’s — Get a free Snack-sized Curly Fry at Arby’s nationwide April 15. You need to print a coupon, which will be available on Arby’s social media Monday, April 14: Arby’s Facebook or @Arby’s on Twitter.

Boston Market — The food retailer is offering the “Tax Day Deal Chicken Meal” April 15. The deal includes two half-chicken individual meals for $10.40, including two sides and cornbread. One meal is normally $7.99 each. Valid April 15 only. No coupon is required.

Entertainment Book — Get a 2014 Entertainment Book for just $10.40 + $2.49 shipping ($35 retail) April 15-17. Coupons expire 12/30/14.

Great American Cookies — Folks can get a free Original Chocolate Chip Cookie at Great American Cookies April 15, thanks to its “Income the Sweetness” promotion. No purchase is necessary — or proof of taxes filed!

Hard Rock Café — Houstonians can earn a free dinner entree from Hard Rock Café’s new menu just by “singing for their supper.” Folks simply select their favorite song and perform it live on the restaurant stage. The promotion is the day after Tax Day, April 16, 5 pm – 7 pm. Houston’s Hard Rock Café is downtown at 501 Texas.

HydroMassage — Get a free massage at participating HydroMassage locations across the United States April 14-18, 2014.  Just print out this coupon for this free deal. Due to high demand, massages may be limited to 10 minutes. Consider calling ahead to reserve your spot. Eleven locations in the Houston area are participating including Houston, Katy, League City, and Conroe. Check out the locations online.

Menchie’s — It’s not a Tax Day Deal, but it’s a freebie on April 15! Get a free 6oz. cup of Menchie’s frozen yogurt April 15, noon – 2 pm, thanks to the Houston Rockets win last night. This has been an amazing promotion all season, but it’s winding down! Valid at participating locations. One Houston-area location changed it to 4oz!

RA Sushi — Enjoy an extended happy hour for its Tax Day Tuesday from 3 pm  to close. Keep some money in your pocket with $3-$7 cocktails and 35 appetizers, tapas and sushi from $2.25 – $7.25.

Schlotzsky’s — On April 15 only, get a free small Original sandwich with purchase of a 32 oz. drink and chips. No coupon required.

Sonic —Sonic Drive-In is offering half-price Happy Hour all day April 15. Get your favorite soft drink, slush, or combination of flavors at 50% off!

The Green Run — Save 15% on race registration for The Green Run, a 10K held April 26 at CityCentre. Use code TAXDAYG6214 April 15 only. Adults: $45, kids $15 (before discount). Register online here.

Willie’s Icehouse — Get your tax deducted from your bill at Willie’s Icehouse April 14-16. Print this coupon to take advantage of this savings.

“Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate” Discounts in Houston

Disney on Ice discountsA new Disney on Ice show hits Houston tomorrow, Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate, featuring Mickey and Minnie plus a Royal Ball with the princesses, Disney villains at Halloween, and a medley of holiday and birthday celebrations.

There are still a couple of ways to save:

1) Attend April 16 and get the Opening Night discount. Tickets are $14 on opening night plus a service fee of $8.66 per ticket for $22.66. No promo code needed. Go online to Ticketmaster here to get Opening Night discount.

2) ScoreBig is offering 10% – 25% off tickets to Disney on Ice in Houston. (The Friday at 7:30 pm show is 25% off). Performances include matinee and evening shows April 18-20. ScoreBig is similar to Priceline where you bid for your ticket price. Best of all, there are no additional ticket fees added per ticket. That saves a bundle. Purchase your discount Disney on Ice tickets here.

Disney On Ice: Let’s Celebrate will be at Reliant Park April 16-20. Parking is $10.

I partner with ScoreBig to bring you great ticket deals. If you purchase through my link, I get a little something in return.

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Entertainment Book: $10.40 Tax Day Sale ($35 value)

Entertainment Book Tax Day SaleEntertainment Book is offering a Tax Day Sale April 15-17. Get a 2014 Entertainment Book for just $10.40 + $2.49 shipping ($35 retail). My family loves using the coupons for restaurants, movie tickets, airport parking, and bowling. Access mobile coupons through the Entertainment Mobile App. Coupons expire at the end of the year, December 30, 2014, so there is still plenty of time.

Order the Entertainment Book online here and select any city book you want. If you travel frequently to another city, it might make sense to buy a second book, too!

Affiliate link included. Thanks for supporting my site!

Sam Houston Race Park Dollar Day, April 19

sam houston $1 dayDollar Day return to Sam Houston Race Park, Saturday, April 19! This is a great chance to bring the family to the race track for cheap family fun. Dollar Day at the Park features tons of stuff for $1: admission, hot dogs, sodas, draft beer (4:30 pm – 10 pm), and live racing programs. Don’t miss the free children’s petting zoo from 6 pm – 8 pm and free parking, to boot. It’s a great deal for everyone! General admission tickets are normally $7 each.

Live horse racing begins at 6 pm with gates opening at 4:30 pm. Sam Houston Race Park is located at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West of Beltway 8.

6 Free Things to Do in Houston April 14-18

We Love Houston sign words 600pThere’s never a dull moment in Houston. Here are 6 options for free and cheap fun this week (April 14-18) before planning your free and cheap weekend!

Tuesday (4/15) — Get ready for Monster Truck fun at Discovery Green’s Toddler Tuesday. The free weekly event begins at 10:30 am, but arrive as early as 9:30 am for photo opp with the Monster Truck. Toddlers over 30 inches can ride in a real monster truck at the park! Kids also will build their own monster truck out of cardboard boxes. Bring your own box in case they run out! Located at 1500 McKinney.

Wednesday (4/16) — It’s Family Rewind night with a $2 movie (almost free!) at Studio Movie Grill. This month’s feature is Goonies (PG-13) staring Sean Astin and Josh Brolin. Watch at both Houston locations: Copperfield and CityCentre.

Wednesday (4/16) — Enjoy a free kayak class at Discovery Green, thanks to Buffalo City Adventures. The Wednesday session is for adults 18+. Kids can attend on weekends. No registration required — just show up and have fun. This free class meets every Wednesday April through October.

Thursday (4/17) — Attend a free opening reception at University of Houston-Clear Lake Art Gallery, 5 pm – 7 pm. The gallery will be featuring work in a variety of media by Bachelor of Fine Arts graduating seniors. As the sponsor, Saint Arnold will be providing free craft beer! Free parking also is available in the Visitor Lot or Lot D.

Thursday (4/17) — Catch a free documentary for iFest’s Inaugural Film Festival honoring Australia. This week’s feature is Breaking Boundaries, a documentary about the Houston Ballet featuring Australian native Stanton Welch, artistic director for the Houston Ballet. Seating is first-come, first-served. Located at Sundance Cinemas, 510 Texas Ave.

Thursday (4/17) — Unwind with a free outdoor Spring concert Thursdays at LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch. This week features a young Latin group, Jalea, from 6 pm – 8 pm. Located at Heritage Square at LaCenterra, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Discovering Houston on the Cheap: Brian Greene, President/CEO, Houston Food Bank

Welcome to Discovering Houston on the Cheap, a weekly series highlighting ideas for cheap dates, cheap meals, Houston’s best-kept secret and more — all from the perspective of local chefs, media personalities, athletes, and folks in local business.

Brian Greene, President/CEO, Houston Food Bank
{Brian Greene has served in Houston Food Bank’s top spot since 2005. He helped the organization achieve its unprecedented growth that led to its new space four times larger than the old one.}

Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank1) Favorite spot for a cheap meal — Mission Burrito

Mission Burrito has fresh, healthy food that the whole family loves. Plus they have a rewards card!

2) Favorite spot for a cheap date — West Alabama Ice House

West Alabama Ice House is outside and always has an eclectic mix of friendly people. Plus it’s dog friendly! {note: open since 1928!}

3) Houston’s best-kept secret

The Hall of Paleontology at Houston Museum of Natural Science. We never tire of it and learn something new on every trip. Our annual membership pays for itself many times over.

4) Best place to save money in Houston — University of Houston Downtown

University of Houston Downtown is a bargain and does a great job accommodating working students.

5) Favorite Houston festival or annual event

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo! We encourage our friends and family who live elsewhere to visit us during this time every year. It’s unlike anything else around.

6) My perfect day in Houston would be…

Spending time as a family exploring the nature preserve in Memorial Park, roaming around the Children’s Museum of Houston and finding new books at Barnes & Noble on W. Gray.

Test Driving a 2014 Toyota Venza to Paris

Toyota gave me an opportunity to drive one of their vehicles for a week.
This is my experience — in my own words.

Just to put things in perspective, my personal vehicle is a 9-year old SUV with 140,000 miles. Gas mileage is atrocious at about 15.5 in the city. Fortunately I work from home! So obviously I was excited when Toyota gave me a chance to drive a brand-new vehicle and blog about it.

toyota waco mural

For the past week, I’ve driven a 2014 Toyota Venza that arrived with just 150 miles — brand new! I loved the new car smell, the car-like drive, double sunroof, and especially heated front seats. I certainly didn’t expect to use those in April, but I did!

The sticker price on my Venza was $38,000, so it was certainly loaded — with a V-6 engine, Navigation Package, leather, and more. Base price starts at close to $28,000 for a 4-cylinder engine. With seating for 5, the Venza works well for an average-sized family or those couples who want more space to haul their equipment or hobbies.

We decided to hit the road over the weekend for a quick trip to Paris (Texas, of course!). My inlaws were moving out of their hometown, so it was bittersweet. As we drove north towards the Red River Valley, we discovered plenty of power outlets (always important on our road trips), 10 cup holders, and satellite radio, which was perfect as we drove in and out of towns. My daughter also appreciated the rear air vents, which many smaller SUVs do not have.

toyota inside

Toyota Venza

toyota venza collage

The Venza has plenty of cargo space in the back for luggage, groceries, or equipment. It also features some neat extras such as the Blind Spot Mirrors, Navigation System that comes standard, and dual control temperature options for the front-seat passengers. It was 46 degrees in Paris, so I definitely used the heated front seats. And got spoiled too quickly!

Few fun memories of the adventure:

Paris TX trip

Since it was probably my last time to Paris, I took photos of some of the landmarks I enjoy in town.

Paris Welcome sign

 Paris banner

downtown Paris square

And my absolute favorite — only in Texas!

Paris TX Eiffel Tower

Houston SPCA: $10 Dog Adoptions April 11-13

Houston SPCA is kicking off $10 dog adoptions this weekend, April 11-13. Prices are usually $95 – $195. Limit two per family. Animals in the Spot Peabody room are excluded. My adorable dog, Ginger, (left) is a shelter dog!

The adoption fee includes everything you need (vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, complimentary wellness exam, microchip, heartworm testing, and deworm) — a $400 value. Go online here to search for your new forever friend!

The Houston SPCA is located at 900 Portway Drive. Hours are Monday through Friday from 11 am – 7 pm and Saturday & Sunday from 10 am – 6 pm.

photo courtesy Robyn Arouty Photography

Free Weekend Fun in Houston April 11-13

free weekend fun in HoustonThe weekend is almost here with lots of free fun. Here is a snapshot of 16 Free Things to Do in Houston April 11-13:


Catch a drive-in — The Katy campus of Houston Community College is hosting a free drive-in movie family night Friday. The free fun begins at 6 pm with inflatables, magician and more. The NutJob is the movie of the night beginning at 8 pm.


Celebrate the earthEarth Day Houston returns Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm, to Discovery Green. Learn from 50 Houston nonprofit green agencies, enjoy interactive environmental awareness activities, learn the benefits of healthy living, and entertain the kids with activities throughout the festival. New this year is live local music all day! Visit the Saint Arnold’s beer garden, food trucks, and Eco-Artists Village. Located at Discovery Green downtown, 1500 McKinney.

Chill with yoga — Don’t miss the free Blissful Warrior Yoga every Saturday, 9 am, at Discovery Green. This yoga class brings together elements of tai chi, kung fu, balance techniques and energy building poses. Located at 1500 McKinney on the Grace Event Lawn behind The Grove Restaurant. No pre-registration required.

Engage with the Scouts — It’s a big year at Scout Fair celebrating 100 years of service. This free annual event features 75 experts representing merit badges, outdoor cooking samples, weather balloon launch, welding demonstration, live entertainment, and more.  Some of the 100th birthday festivities include a birthday cake at 2 pm plus a special flavor by Blue Bell dubbed Scout Crunch. The event is April 12, 10 am – 3 pm, at Reliant. Free admission with $10 parking.

Japan Festival, HoustonCelebrate Japanese heritage — The Japan Festival returns this weekend, April 12-13, at Hermann Park.  The schedule features live entertainment including Japanese classic dance and drums, Japanese opera, fashion show, children’s activities, Cosplay contest, food, and more. Hours are 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm Sunday. Parking is limited in Hermann Park so consider garages in Texas Medical Center and along the METRORail route. Photo: vmiramontes

Go on an egg hunt — Kids have several options to enjoy hunting Easter eggs this weekend — from free egg hunts at 7 Acre Wood, Sugar Land’s EGGstravaganza, and Missouri City’s Eggpalooza including crafts and family fun. Get all the Easter Egg Hunt options in my earlier post this week, Houston Easter Egg Hunts 2014. There are two Bass Pro locations: Katy Mill Mall and Baybrook Mall.

Relax with jazz — Head outdoors for Music in the Park Saturday at Willow Waterhole Music Fest. The free event features 10 hours of live music in a relaxing setting.

Dye some eggs — This month’s Second Saturday Settler series features Natural Dye Eggs from 1 pm – 3 pm just in time for Easter. Bring hard-boiled or blown-out eggs to learn how to dye eggs with natural materials.Experience early settler life at the homestead. Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is located in Humble at 20634 Kenswick Drive.

Enjoy Easter fun — Easter activities kick off this weekend at Bass Pro Shops from April 12-20. Don’t miss free photos with the Easter Bunny 11 am – 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, crafts, and an egg hunt at 2 pm April 12-13 and April 19-20.

Relish the arts– The 15th annual Midtown Visions Cultural Arts Tour this Saturday is a great way to learn and enjoy all that Midtown has to offer. Discover some of Houston’s most creative and visual performing arts from noon to 5 pm through its art studios, galleries, and collectives. Items will be on display and available for purchase. The Wave will be providing a free shuttle between the sites. Check out the tour map online.

Enjoy outdoor fun — It’s another weekend of free family fun thanks to Second Saturday at The Depot. The monthly event in Tomball features themed activities and games, concessions, music and Hop on the giant inflatable screen. Event from 6 pm – 9 pm with the movie beginning at dark. Located at 201 S. Elm.

Enjoy a movie under the moon –There are several options for free outdoor movies Saturday: 1) IKEA Houston Screen on the Green presents Wall-E Saturday at 8:30 pm at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 2) Sugar Land Town Square presents Ratatouille from 7 pm – 9 pm.

Love outdoor musicMusic Night on the Strand returns Saturday, 6 pm, with the Fab 5, a Beatles tribute band. The free performance is held at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand.


Cooking with kids — Thanks to the Houston Food Bank, kids will enjoy a free seasonal cooking class at Sunday’s Urban Harvest Farmers Market. Children will shop for ingredients at the farmers market and do a hands-on demo and tasting. Recipes will be provided for participants. Sessions are 12:30 pm – 1 pm and 1:30 pm – 2 pm. The market is open 11 am – 3 pm at 3000 Richmond.

Celebrate the lake — It’s all things water at Towne Lake Lake-A-Palooza Sunday noon – 5 pm. The free water event includes waterskiing demonstrations, boat tours, fishing tournament, and kayak and paddleboard lessons. A highlight is the Heart of Texas Dock Dogs competition. Town Lake is located in Northwest Houston off Barker Cypress and 290.

Celebrate Japanese heritage — The Japan Festival returns this weekend, April 12-13, at Hermann Park.  The schedule features live entertainment including Japanese classic dance and drums, Japanese opera, fashion show, children’s activities, Cosplay contest, food, and more. Hours are 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm Sunday. Parking is limited in Hermann Park so consider garages in Texas Medical Center and along the METRORail route

Listen to music — Each weekend this spring, The Woodlands Township is sponsoring Concert in the Park Sundays from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. This week’s music features Vocal Trash with the weekly theme of Bike Bash. Ride your bike to stay in theme! Don’t miss special bike parking and party for those who ride. Located at 2505 Lake Woodlands Drive.

Easter Egg Hunts in Houston 2014

Easter egg hunts in Houston 2014There are lots of opportunities for Easter egg hunts in Houston, thanks to local businesses, communities and neighborhood churches. I can’t include every egg hunt around town, but here is a snapshot of a few that caught my eye. (Feel free to add your community or church egg hunt as a comment…)

Egg Hunt at Toddler Tuesday
Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney
Tuesday, April 8, 10:30 am
It’s a big downtown Easter egg hunt at Discovery Green with 20,000 eggs and treats! Two different egg hunt times: 10:30 (3-6 year olds) and 10:40 (2 and under). Lots of other festivities from 9 am – 1 pm including crafts and street teams from Houston Rockets and Houston Dynamo with inflatables and giveaways.

Easter Orange Hunt & Peeps Contest
The Orange Show Monument, 2402 Munger
Saturday, April 12, 11 am – noon
Kids can hunt Easter eggs in the maze of The Orange Show Monument along with oranges and other fun prizes. Craft a marshmallow masterpiece with Peeps and bring your entry to The Orange Show Monument by April 11, before 11 am. Gift cards and prizes for the top winners! A $5 donation is suggested per child for this nonprofit’s foundation.

Missouri City Community Park, 1700 Glenn Lakes Lane
Saturday, April 12, 3 pm – 5 pm
All ages are welcome at Eggpalooza’s afternoon of fun including an egg dash plus sidewalk chalk, tie-dying, dyeing Easter eggs, sand art, face painting and more. Egg dash times: 3:15 pm (1-4 year olds), 3:45 pm (5-8 year olds), 4:15 (9-12 year olds).

Sugar Land’s 30th annual EGGStravaganza
Eldridge Park, 5211 Eldridge Dr.
Saturday, April 12, noon – 3pm
This huge event features egg scrambles, characters, carnival tent, activities with Radio Disney crew, foam pit, football toss and more. The first 200 families can get a free photo with the Easter Bunny. Special needs children and those under four can particiapte in a continuous egg hunt throughout the day. The egg scramble schedule: 12:30 pm (5 year olds), 1 pm (6 year olds), 1:30 pm (7 year olds), 2 pm (8-9 year olds), 2:30 pm (10 -12 year olds). Don’t miss the 30 golden eggs to represent 30 years of this event!

Easter Egg Hunt and Market
7 Acre Wood, 4401 N. Frazier Street, Conroe
Saturday, April 12, 10 am – 4 pm
It’s a free Easter Egg Hunt out at 7 Acre Wood! The egg hunts are from 10 am – noon but after stick around for the petting zoo, Zip-line, mini golf, Western town, rockwall and more. It’s all free, which is fabulous! A few options have a fee including Easter Bunny photos, face painting, carnival games and paintball.

Easter Spring Festival
West University Place Recreation Fields
Saturday, April 12, 9 am – 11 am
Children up to age 11 are invited to West U’s Easter Spring celebration with the Easter bunny and Wally the Walrus. Free admission.

Community Easter Egg Hunt
Cypress United Methodist Church
13403 Cypress N. Houston
Sunday, April 13, 11:30 am
Enjoy an Easter egg hunt with thousands of eggs and more! Worship begins at 10 am with the egg hunt following.

Easter Thrill FestEaster ThrillFest
MacGregor Park, 5225 Calhoun
Saturday, April 19, 10:30 am – 6 pm
Dubbed the “city’s official and state’s largest Easter festival” featuring 100,000 Easter eggs for the hunt! The 12th annual Easter ThrillFest includes hands-on interactive stations, exhibits, demonstrations, live performances, carnival, face painting, food, and more.

Mountasia Easter Egg Hunt
Mountasia, 17190 State Highway 249
Saturday, April 19, 11 am
Thousands of hidden eggs for three different age groups, prizes, and more. Families need to arrive by 10 am to get ready for the hunt. Take advantage of a buy-one-get-one free unlimited admission (Champ pass) for $29.99 on April 19 only. Pay $20 Easter Sunday for an unlimited Champ pass with this coupon.

Easter Festival & Expo
Light House Church
Summer Creek High School, 14000 Weckford Blvd.
Saturday, April 19, 1 pm – 4 pm
This non-demonenational event features 50,000 egg Easter egg hunt, face painting, live gospel performances and food. The event is free but get a ticket online to reserve your spot. Register online here for free ticket.

Community Hunts
Sugar Creek Baptist Church in the community
Saturday, April 19
Sugar Creek Baptist members are sponsoring 11 community Easter egg hunts as an outreach to the community this Saturday. Watch here for a list of the different community hunts at various apartments, community club houses, playgrounds, and churches in Sugar Land, Missouri City and more. More than 5,000 guests attended the egg hunts last year.

easter blessington farmsEgg Hunt at the Farm
Blessington Farms
, 510 Chisolm Road, Simonton
April 12, April 18, April 19, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Don’t miss the Easter egg hunts at Blessington Farms! Kids can do the egg hunt at their leisure and find 10 eggs and redeem for candy and prizes. More fun includes sand mountain, pedal cars, hay ride, barrel train ride, giant slides, and more. Strawberry picking is $5/pound. The egg hunt is $3/child with Farm Funland admission ($8 fee). photo courtesy Blessington Farms

Easter Service and Egg Hunt
Stonebridge Church
One Stonebridge Church, The Woodlands
Saturday, April 19, 5 pm
Attend an Easter service (identical to Sunday) and stick around for an amazing egg hunt.

12 Eggs Hunts on church campuses
Woodlands Church
April 17-20
Woodlands Church is offering 12 different egg hunts on its variety of campuses including Fellowship of The Woodlands, Atascosita, and Tomball.

Easter Eggstravaganza
Clear Lake United Methodist Church
16335 El Camino Real
Saturday, April 19, 10 am to noon
The egg hunt kicks off at 10 am followed by petting zoo, moonwalk, Easter Bunny, train, pony rides, and free foEaster rabbitsod.

Easter in the Gardens
Moody Gardens in Galveston
Sunday, April 20, begins at 11 am
Free Easter Sunday event featuring egg hunts for three different age groups, games, petting zoo, Easter bunny photos, crafts, face painting, and more. All events are free!

photos: Vicki Powers
{love the photo of my daughter 12 years ago on a backyard egg hunt!}