Austin, TX

Life in Austin: 6 Ways to Enjoy the Bat City Without Breaking the Bank

Toni Koraza

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Austin is not as expensive as San Francisco, but it is far from being cheap.

The city has shattered all immigration records this year. This only extends to an already existing uptrend of people moving to Austin. The city’s bustling tech sector, tasty food, and vibrant live music scene have made the city the place to be for young adults.

Great food, music, and jobs mean more people. More people means fewer parking spots, fewer places to rent, and more competition. In short, more people equals higher prices. As a result, your rent, utilities, and other expenses may already be shooting up through the roof.

Here’s how to make the most out of Austin without breaking the bank.

1. Check out free live and dance music events

The Austin area is home to some of the most diverse live music and dance events in the country. Austin is known as the capital of live music. These events are not just for old locals. Newcomers and visitors can have a blast as well.

Many concerts don’t even charge a cover fee, so you can save money before even getting through the door. Visit Eventbrite's schedule for exact dates.

2. Get a bike, seriously

Biking is the most underrated and the best way to get around the city of Austin. It’s a bike-friendly city with many bicycle lanes and paths. If you are looking for a healthy mode of transportation in the capital of the Lone Star state, biking is what you should do.

3. Use rideshare services like Uber and Lyft

After a long hiatus, Uber and Lyft are back on Austin’s streets.

With the return of Uber and Lyft, getting a ride home from a night out has never been easier. Whether you’re trying to get home after an evening at your favorite restaurant or bar or just want to go for a late-night walk around town without having to worry about driving yourself back home, these services are perfect for Austinites looking for safe transportation options. Ridesharing in Austin is easy as calling Uber or Lyft.

4. Rent a place with roommates that’s not too expensive but has great amenities (like an on-site gym)

Renting a place with roommates can be an excellent way to save money and live in a great place with luxury amenities. Here are some things you should consider before signing your lease:

  • Is the rent too expensive? You may want to reconsider if it’s more than $800/month.
  • What is the quality of housing like in the area? Do you need something cheap but decent, or do you have higher standards?
  • How many bedrooms do you really need? Is one enough for you, or would two make life easier when friends come over?

These questions will help determine what type of roommate situation is best for your needs.

5. Shop for groceries at HEB or Trader Joe’s instead of Whole Foods or Central Market

There are two types of grocery stores: cheap grocery stores and expensive grocery stores. There is no in-between. It’s either one or the other, but never both. Whole Foods and Central Market are luxury markets that sell various products with possibly quality food items at high prices. At the same time, HEB and Trader Joe’s are cheaper, more affordable options for people who aren’t looking to spend a lot on groceries but still enjoy good food.

6. Eat at home as often as possible —  it’s way cheaper than eating out

The best way to save money on food is to eat at home. Many people don’t realize that eating out can cost up to 3 times as much as cooking at home. The average person spends $1,900-$2,600 a year on dining outside the house, and it’s not uncommon for someone living in big cities like Austin, Houston, or Dallas to spend over $5,000 a year.

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