Archive for the ‘Houston on the cheap’ Category

UH 2007 School of Art Annual Student Exhibition

Tonight the Art Dept. at University of Houston is having their student show opening at the Blaffer Gallery. The opening is from 7 to 9 in the Fine Arts building on the UH central campus (Entrance 16 off of Cullen, near Cullen & Elgin).

In addition to the works shown in the gallery proper, tonight all four floors of the building will be opened up for touring the studios of the various disciplines and media within the department.

Dunkin’ Donuts Free Iced Coffee Day


To commemorate the first day of Spring, Dunkin’ Donuts has made today, March 21st, their Free Iced Coffee Day. Go to a local Dunkin’ Donuts and get your freebie 16 oz double-brewed cup o’ liquid crack – the offer is going on all day.

Houston Public Library wants to rock your earphones


Cool Houston Library service that I never knew about (quote and image via Aaron at LongStation):

“Here is an “underpublicized gem” that Houston residents can enjoy (please check your local area for availability). The Houston Public Library offers a huge collection of Downloadable Audiobooks for easy access with your current library card. Here are the details:

* Your HPL PowerCard is required to download the audiobooks.
* The audiobook files are in Windows Media Audio format (WMA).
* Checkout period is 3 weeks.
* Users can check out 6 titles at a time.
* To listen, download the Audiobook to your PC and use your audio player.”

I know this isn’t really new news for most of you, but I am really stoked. Especially about the Pimsleur Language programs they have – I’m a big fan of the series, but not of the hundreds of dollars you have to shell out to buy them retail.

It’s been said before, but it bears worth repeating – the library rocks!!

Shopping Spree! Or Frenzy?

Get your shopping gear on cuz we have HUGE sales for this Friday, November 24th! I must be silly, but I’m kinda excited for this event. I’ve never been to one before, so I’m planning to go with the family to get some early Xmas shopping done. *Hints*

But I have heard some outrageous stories of how people waking up like 4 in the morning just to be the first in line and then scrabble and hustle toward the most coveted items they want to get before it’s all gone! Talk about survival of the fastest, or is it the most strategic?

Known as Black Friday, the origin of this holiday is unknown, or at least that’s what Wikipedia says. I didn’t know that there are this many stores participating.

You can check them out with these two links below:

Good luck with the rush of the shopping frenzy! I’m not sure if the crowd is too nice on this day. If you all see a 5-foot Asian girl hidden under a stampede of feet, yeah, that’ll be me… *winks*

Eat out for cheap, courtesy of

I’m not exactly sure how this works, but you can buy gift certificates to almost 100 different Houston-area restaurants for up to 70% off on Amazon’s Restaurant pages.

All you have to do is pay, print and go – which means you save on shipping and that you could be munching at Cafe Artiste, Mary’z Mediterranean Cuisine or Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet for fewer pennies than usual.

Just a thought for all of you Houstonians on a budget or anyone looking for good gift ideas (people like to eat and you spend less cash – it works!!).

Museum District Day!

This year is the 10th annual Musuem District Day, in which participating museums will open free to the public! This is a great opportunity for family outings and for those who love the Museum District.

Participating museums are:

o Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
o The Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum
o The Children’s Museum of Houston
o Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
o Holocaust Museum Houston
o Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
o Houston Center for Photography
o Houston Museum of Natural Science
o The John C. Freeman Weather Museum
o The Health Museum
o The Jung Center of Houston
o Lawndale Art Center
o The Menil Collection
o The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
o Rice University Art Gallery
o The Rothko Chapel

When: Saturday, September 16 from 10 AM to 5 PM.
For more information, you can go to for more details.

Hope to see you there! I’m booking this on my calendar!

“No Tax” Holiday!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the long hiatus. I didn’t exactly disappear, but I’ve made it up by keeping up with the reading and commenting on some of the entries posted here…

Anyway, heads up for the wonderful “No Tax” holiday! I’m always looking forward to these few days of blissful I-don’t-have-to-pay-for-tax after purchasing stuff. It’s always a nice bargain, and I need a new wardrobe anyway. I’ve been wearing almost the same clothes for over a year (but I have enough to mix and match). However, it’s limited to certain footwear and clothing for Texas.

I’d rather go to the Carolinas for better deals overall. I mean, they have stuff like computers and software that would be exempt from state and local sales taxes under a certain price, of course. Why can’t we have that in Texas?

Anyway, for us, our “No Tax” holiday starts on August 4 through 6, 2006. Good time to start shopping for school supplies, clothing and shoes for our kids, eh?

You can read about all of this holiday at these two sites:

Happy shopping, everyone!

Magic and gore onstage at the Houston Shakespeare Festival


The City of Houston and the University of Houston theater department are teaming up for another Houston Shakespeare Festival at Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre from July 20 – August 12.

They’ll be presenting Titus Andronicus – a veritable bloodbath of a play and a personal favorite – and The Tempest – much more date-friendly and famous.

All shows are free – but you do need to arrive early to get tickets for covered seating. You can call for more info at: 713-284-8352. Showtimes:

“The Tempest”: 8:30 p.m. July 29, Aug. 2, 4, 10, 12
“Titus Andronicus: 8:30 p.m. July 30, Aug. 3, 5, 9, 11

Houston on the Cheap: Library Magic


I know this isn’t rocket science, but I’ve been saving money like crazy by skipping Border’s and heading towards the Houston Public Library instead.

The Heights library is the closest branch to our house, but just doesn’t have the majority of the books that we are addicted to. Enter the online catalog, full of pretty much everything (even some out of print surprises) that you could possibly want. Do a city-wide search and have the books delivered to the nearest location to you – and never be book-less again!

Easy as pie and way cheaper than indulging at the bookstore for every little summer reading craving you get. If you like what you see, head over to Half Price Books or, even better, 1/4 Price Books and bring it home for keeps. This is especially a lifesaver for more expensive books – like cookbooks, photography books, etc.

Call me cheap… but alas, my reading habits don’t ever pay any attention to my book budget. Lovely bookcase photo from Chotda on Flickr.

Houston on the Cheap: Bubble Tea

Today we’ll have some cultural expansion! One of my favorite cheap things to do in Houston is to get Bubble Tea.

Bubble Tea is a drink made from iced milk, your choice of flavors and little pearls of tapioca. They share the same name, but its not like tapioca pudding at all. The tapioca pearls are little black balls of chewy goodness that sit conveniently at the bottom of your cup waiting to be sucked up into your oversized straw. The pearls don’t provide much flavor in specific, but the drinks come in literally hundreds of flavors depending on where you get it from. Bubble Tea originally comes from Taiwan before spreading throughout Asia and to America, so some of the flavors aren’t familiar to us Americans. If you don’t feel like being adventurous, they’ve got plenty of really sweet favorites like green apple and chocolate.

Depending on where you go and what you get, drinks cost about $3.50. So, to be really technical, drinks costing the same as Starbucks isn’t exactly cheap. But, there are a few reasons that make those dollars stretch: 1) The pearls are surprisingly filling. So filling in fact, it can almost be used as meal replacement. 2) The cafes where you get bubble tea are almost always full of stuff to do. They’ve got lots of seating, board games, magazines, TVs, wi-fi and internet terminals. 3) Most of the places have frequent buyer’s card that gets you free drinks eventually.

So, to review, for $3.50 you get: 1) A really tasty drink 2) A small meal 3) Cultural expansion 4) Something to do and someplace to hang out.

“That’s a great deal!” you say. “Where can I get some?” you cry. Worry not, there are tons all over the city and I’ll get you started. I’m sure everyone has their favorite place, but I’ll cover my two favs:

Tapicoa Teahouse
The Tapioca Teahouse is an awesome shop with tons of flavors, decent service and a great atmosphere. I’d definitely recommend the #109 Thai Tea. On top of their board games, magazines, free wi-fi, internet terminals, they just added a whole new wing with really comfy couches. The Teahouse is located at Westheimer and Shepherd, next to the Randalls. There’s another one in Hong Kong City Mall, but the location isn’t as nice.

Tapicoa Express
Tapioca Express is very first-timer friendly. Fewer, more familiar flavor selections make it a whole lot less intimidating. They’ve also got a great twist on the standard drink called the Snow Bubble. Basically, it’s a cross between bubble tea and a smoothie. It’s really really good. The #23 Almond is absolutely fantastic. The shop itself is a nice atmosphere with the usual games, plasma tv, wi-fi and internet. But they’ve also got a full blown internet cafe/gaming center in the back. So, you can pwnt some n00bs while you’re enjoying some Bubble Tea. Tapioca Express is located at Westheimer and Winrock.

There are countless others all over Houston, so feel free to search around or stop in if you happen to see one. In your exploring, just remember that if you don’t like a flavor, don’t give up, just try another. There’s some really tasty stuff in there.

If you already know the fantasticness that is Bubble Tea and have a favorite place, leave a comment with a review and we can build a good list here.

Houston on the Cheap is a regular feature highlighting things to do, eat, drink or see in Houston for cheap or free. If you have something you want to contribute, suggest it!

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