Big Living on a Small Budget

By Devaney Devoe – August 1, 2016

Don’t let exercise, leisure, and groceries break the bank. Austin is full of free and low cost options for budget-friendly recreation.


Enjoy free rentals and lessons at SUP ATX every Sunday at 9 a.m. They provide the gear; all you have to do is show up and have a good time out on Lake Austin. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

There are over 25 Austin pools that locals have access to at no cost. Confirm each pool’s hours of operation before you visit, and if they’re too crowded for your taste, check out one of the seven municipal pools in Austin that charge very little for entrance.

The “Pints & Poses” series will continue on Aug. 1, then every second Monday of each following month for the rest of the year at Hyatt Regency Austin. The event varies slightly each time, so you can always go back for more. Previous events featured pop-up shops by a local athletic-wear company, and this month’s event will feature a live yoga DJ. But you can count on one thing to stay the same each time: free yoga followed by a free pint of beer.

Juice Society hosts a weekly Summer Sunday Run, where you’ll be greeted with complimentary mimosas, discounted juices, and other freebies post-jog. Different guests such as Natural Citizen, Chameleon Cold-brew, and others also make guest appearances to the refreshing after-party once you’ve completed the casual three-mile jog with the JS squad.

Three times a week, Project Austin leads a free community workout for the early birds at 6 a.m. Mondays are at Butler Park, Wednesdays are in front of the state Capitol, and Friday you can get your sweat on at the steps of the Federal Courthouse (across from Republic Square Park). Bring a workout buddy or come ready to make friends.


Got a dream of sailing the blue but can’t afford a boat’s price tag? Boatbound is the largest and fastest growing “pier-to-pier” boat rental marketplace in the world, creating safe and unique experiences at a lower price. Choose to rent a boat with a captain, or lead your own adventure on anything from a sailboat to a yacht. Plus, renters and owners can review and document their Boatbound experience, helping each new user find the perfect boat for his or her needs.

All this exercise and leisure got you hungry? Keep reading for food on a budget!



Fruit Tray vs. Individual Fruit

Winner: Fruit Tray

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but when it comes to fruit, it seems that the more popular it is, the more it costs per pound. We compared the price of a large fruit tray to the individual, whole fruits themselves to see which was a better option. Although buying fruit separately ensures your favorite choices and less man-handling, it is more expensive and time-consuming to chop up.   With a fruit tray, you’ll save at least a few dollars,and with it chopped up and ready to eat, there will be less of a chance that the fruit will go bad before you can eat it.

Veggie Tray vs. Individual Vegetables

Winner: Individual Vegetables

Maybe vegetables don’t have the same glamorous look that fruit has, but consider it a blessing for your budget. When it comes to greens (and browns, oranges, reds, and yellows), buying individually costs less and provides more protein into your diet. Plus, since veggie trays typically only include carrots, celery, and tomatoes, buying veggies separately gives you more creative direction in what you want to consume.

Counter Deli vs. Packaged Deli

Winner: Counter Deli

There is no contest when it comes to the appeal of deli counter meat over packaged deli, but it helps when you know your wallet prefers it too. Pre-packaged ham and turkey cost the same, sometimes more, than meat from the deli counter. Plus, depending on how manyyou’re feeding, the pre-packed meat will either go bad before you can use it, or even worse, be drenched in preservatives to make it “last.”

Refillable Water Jug vs. Water Bottles

Winner: Refillable Water Jug

By choosing a water jug over water bottles, you have the option to refill the jug as many times as you need at the grocery store and prevent the littering of plastic bottles. We know it can be tempting to quickly grab a plastic water bottle on your way out the door, but it only takes 30 seconds to fill one of those S’well bottles and Camelbaks. You’re not losing any money on helping the environment since both options run the same price.

K-Cups vs. Coffee Grinds

Winner: Coffee Grinds

Keurig may be the best thing to happen to caffeine addicts since iced lattes, but our wallets would not agree. That’s why we searched for the most optimal method when it comes to getting your daily caffeine dose. We found that $15 can get you 15 servings of K Cups, or 150 servings from a coffee grind container. Don’t have a coffee maker, just a Keurig? Spend a week’s worth of your coffee budget on a reusable Keurig filter and save more money.


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