Visiting San Antonio Texas on a budget

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San Antonio is one of my family’s favorite getaways and it’s a perfect day trip from Houston!  It’s only a three hour drive from Houston, and there are plenty of things to see and do even if you’re on a budget.  When my family was on a very tight budget, we planned a quick trip to San Antonio to visit all of the San Antonio Missions.  My kids had both just finished studying Texas history in school, and they really enjoyed being able to see some of the things that they had learned about.  I’m a history buff, too, and have fond memories of visiting the Ysleta Mission and Socorro Mission growing up in El Paso.  Even though we didn’t spend much money, this ended up being one of their favorite vacations!

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When most people hear “Texas History” the Alamo is one of the first places that comes to mind.  I can still remember my first visit when I was 8 years old.  You can visit the Alamo for free, or you also have the option of purchasing an audio tour (currently $7 per person) or a guided tour (currently $15 per person).  Both tours offer discounts for military personnel.  We haven’t tried either tour because there are plenty of free activities you can take advantage of:

  • Free history talks in the Cavalry Courtyard (15-20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions & answers)
  • Live living history demonstrations including firing demonstrations, fire starting, leather working and more! (15-20 minutes)
  • Crossroads of History film (17 minutes) – it is indoors, so a great way to learn about the history of the Alamo and get a break from the heat!
  • Alamo Church (20 minutes)
  • Alamo Long Barracks Exhibition & Museum – exhibits vary (20 minutes)

Here are some tips for your Alamo visit:

  • Check the events calendar and daily programming calendar before your visit to find out what activities will be taking place.  Hours vary throughout the year, so make sure you check on open and close times, too!
  • Review the Rules of Reverance prior to your visit and prep your children for expectations while on the grounds
  • Arrive early – this is especially true if you have young children!  You may have to wait in line and the lines get longer as the day goes on.
  • Stay hydrated – during the summer months, it will be HOT!  Bring water with you.  There are also vendors who sell food and drinks on site.
  • Allow enough time for your visit.  You really need 1 1/2-2 hours to see everything, especially if it is busy and you have to wait to see things.

Once you’re done visiting the Alamo, check out these missions, too:

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Mission San Jose – Next to the Alamo, this is probably my favorite mission to visit.  It was almost fully restored in the 1930s and allows visitors to experience what the mission actually looked like when it was fully functioning.  We spent the most time here (about an hour and a half).

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Mission Concepcion is the oldest unrestored church in the country and you can still view remnants of the fresco artwork that once covered the walls.

These two missions are smaller and only take about 30 minutes to visit:

Park rangers offer free tours at each of these four missions on a daily basis!  Check the website prior to your visit or stop by the visitor center or information center on site to find out about tour times.  All four missions have current fully functioning chapels, too!

If you’ve got time to spare, and you enjoy nature, make sure you visit Brackenridge Park!  They’ve got playgrounds plus you can feed the ducks, check out the birds, or just take a walk and enjoy the fresh air.  While you’re there, make sure you also take time to check out the Japanese Tea Gardens.  A fun and easy way to check out the entire park is via the San Antonio Zoo Eagle Train ride.  It’s just $3.50 for every 3 and older and children under 3 are free!

If you have not been on a Rio San Antonio River Tour, it’s definitely worth budgeting the time and money to check it out!  The cruises are about 35 minutes long and will take you along approximately 1.5 miles of the San Antonio River Walk.  Tickets are $4 for children (ages 1-5) and $10 for everyone else.

If you’re traveling around town, you can also check out the Via Streetcar, which provides transportation to and from popular attractions including the San Antonio Historic Missions, Brackenridge Park, Japanese Tea Garden, San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Witte Museum, and more!  It’s only $1.10 to ride and $4 for a day pass!

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If you’re looking for somewhere to eat where you can stay on budget, Lulu’s Bakery & Cafe isn’t too far away and it’s home to the famous 3 pound cinnamon roll that was featured on Man vs Food.  They also have a famous 21 ounce Texas Ranger chicken fried steak that has been rated one of the top chicken fried steak meals in San Antonio!  If you can finish it in less than 12 minutes, it’s free!  We’ve had the cinnamon roll several times, and it’s delicious!  Our family of 4 can only get through about half of it in one sitting.  We’ve loved everything we’ve tried from their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.

If you’re craving Tex Mex or just want a sweet treat, you can’t go wrong with Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia.  I’ve been going there since I was a child and I’ve never been disappointed, but if you’re planning on sitting down and eating a meal, be prepared to wait!

A family of four can do all of the activities included here for $100 or less and you’ll make some great memories as well!  Be sure to check out my post for more ideas about fun and cheap things to do with kids in San Antonio.  For even more ideas including discounts on hotels and attractions, make sure you check out Visit San Antonio.

NOTE:  I was not compensated for this post in any way and there are no affiliate links in this post.  I just wanted to share some of my family’s favorite places to visit in San Antonio!

Ring Doorbell on sale for $149!

This post contains affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information.

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The Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Doorbell is on sale right now for $149!  I got one of these for Christmas, and I absolutely LOVE it!  We can see who is at our door, speak to them, and record video footage, even when we are not home.  Even when I am home, I love being able to see who is at the door.  The regular retail price is $179.  These do not go on sale very often, and when they do, they usually sell out quickly.

Click here to check out this deal–> Ring Doorbell on sale

  • See, hear and speak to anyone at your door from your smartphone, tablet or PC.
  • Get instant alerts when visitors press your Doorbell or trigger the built-in motion sensors.
  • Watch over your home in crystal-clear HD video.
  • Protect your home – day or night – with infrared night vision.
  • Communicate with visitors via two-way audio with noise cancellation.
  • Check-in on your property at any time, and get streaming video and audio with Live View.
  • Set up your Doorbell in minutes with the included tool kit and installation guide.
  • Loading EDP related metadata
  • Dual-powered: Runs off the internal battery or can be connected to existing Doorbell wiring.
  • Lifetime purchase protection: If your Ring Doorbell gets stolen, we’ll replace it for free!
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10 devices.Wi-Fi Connection: 2.4GHz

Don’t forget that this week you can also get the Amazon Echo Dot on sale for just $39.99!  That’s $10 off the regular retail price!  My kids each got one for their birthdays and they LOVE it (and I have to admit the adults around here love it, too!)

Amazon Echo Dot on sale for $39.99!

This post contains affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information.

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The Amazon Echo Dot is on sale today for $39.99!  If you haven’t heard of the Dot, it’s basically a smaller version of the Amazon Echo.  I got my kids each one for their birthdays, and they have been a HUGE hit!

Here are some of the features we are loving so far:

  • It’s voice activated – use it to make grocery lists, set alarms, play music, and it can even do things like order pizza for you or turn on your lights!
  • The “skills” features – you can play trivia games (including Jeapordy!), hear a daily joke, find recipes, and more!
  • It works as a bluetooth speaker – Use it to play your favorite music from Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music and more!  My kids like to use it at night to play soothing background noise, too.
  • Use it as an alarm clock – you don’t need an alarm clock because you can tell Alexa when to wake you up!

Click here to check it out for yourself–> Amazon Echo Dot sale

This would be great to put away as a Christmas gift for tweens or teens!

 

 

Swagbucks Team Challenge Starts TODAY!


To help make your June a little sweeter, Swagbucks is holding a fun team challenge to help you earn free gift cards! For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the “Swag Wars” Team Challenge, begins Monday, June 12th at 8am PT.

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:  

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team.

2. Starting June 12th at 8am PDT, in addition to earning SB you’ll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card!

Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before July 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you’ve signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 60 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 40 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 20 SB Swag Up Rebate, and members of the 4th place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate, Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, June 16th and will expire on Friday, June 30th at 11:59pm PT.

Earn extra cash back during the Swagbucks Father’s Day Sale!

Swagbucks is currently offering double cash back or more at a number of stores for Father’s Day.  From Best Buy to Lowes, you’ll get cash back (in the form of SB points) for buying your gifts online through Swagbucks. They also have offers where you can earn SB points towards free gift cards for getting the Dad in your life a subscription to Hulu or Dollar Shave Club! It’s a smart way to buy the gifts you were already going to get, and Swagbucks offers coupons and deals when you shop online to your favorite stores on top of the points you earn.

You can find all of the details here. If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks yet, you can also do that at this page and start earning points towards your first free gift card. As a bonus, if you sign up through me a spend at least $25 shopping online through Swagbucks, you’ll get a 200 SB bonus – that’s $2 in addition to the points you get for each dollar you spend.

These deals will run all the way through Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18th.