We all want to live a bit greener, don’t we? You help the environment and you help your wallet. There aren’t many better causes out there! Here are a few steps you can take in your daily life to have a greener day. Some are obvious, but others not as much.
Don’t drive so fast
Although driving at a high speed isn’t bad in and of itself (in fact, most cars get better mpg going highway speeds than in stop-and-go in the city), accelerating too quickly, or not allowing gravity to do the work on hills can use gas unnecessarily. Say for example, if you’re approaching a slight downward hill towards a red light, release the gas pedal. Doing so will allow gravity to pull your car toward the light which saves your gas and saves your brakes.
Try public transportation, or biking
Taking the bus every day to work, or school, can be tough, but that’s not the only way to save some gas! Why not take your bike when you’re picking up your takeout? Why not ride your bike to the convenient store? Try biking around when you’re meeting up with friends (in fact, UT West Campus in Austin is a great place to start because of the neighborhood, non-major roads). Taking your bike on small trips may convince you to start taking your bike farther and farther which saves money, gas, and the environment. Then, on those rainy days, revert to the bus.
P.S. Living as close as you can to where you work or go to school makes doing these two much easier. Plus, if you need to drive, being closer means less gas.
This seems like a no-brainer: putting items in recycling saves them from the landfill and allows their materials to be reused and recycled in awesome new ways.
Turn up your A/C when you leave your home
This one requires some thoughtfulness, because our A/C is often the last thing on our mind when we’re leaving home in the morning, but it is very important. What do you normally set your home at? 76? 72? Try this: when you leave your home, set the temperature 7-10 degrees higher than what you normally set it to. You’re not there anyway. Why spend all that money and energy to cool an empty home? You can just as easily set it back to your preferred temperature when you get back and have a nice, freshly-cooled, and newly-circulated home.
P.S. Having some plants and a fan, or two, can aid in the feeling of coolness in the home. This allows you to leave your home at a higher temperature even when you are there and save more money.
Go outside for your fun
One of the best things you can do for the environment is be healthy and outside. When you’re outside you’re not spending energy running electronics, cooling your home, or wasting energy at all, really! Not to mention, the more you do it, the more fun it becomes. Find creative ways to be outdoors all while raising your awareness for environmental issues.
Try a vegan, or vegetarian meal
The United Nations has said that livestock and meat production now produce more greenhouse gases than transportation. That’s more than planes, trains, and automobiles combined. Imagine what an impact we can all have by adding a meatless day, or meal, to our week. If you like it, you can even try going vegan, or vegetarian, completely. Plus, with all the great veggie options in UT West Campus and Downtown, why not try a new restaurant?
Walk Around Town Lake
Town Lake is part of what makes Austin, Austin. 10 miles of hike-and-bike trail set between Downtown and South Austin that is dog-friendly, what more could you ask for? Inviting more than 2.6 million visitors per year, this trail is fun for anyone and totally free (not to mention, with restaurants, grocers, and the occasional farmers’ market along the way, you’re bound to not be going hungry).
Visit Barton Springs
According to the Austin History Center, “Uncle Billy” Barton bought the springs in 1837 (just before Austin was named the capital of The Republic of Texas), and was under private ownership until 1918 when Andrew Zilker donated the land which then became Zilker Park. The current entrance building was even built back in 1946 after a flood in 1935. All this is to say that Barton Springs is a part of Austin History. In fact, it is integral to Austin history and has been attracting swimmers from all over for a very long time. If you ask me: nothing beats jumping into that cold water on a 100+ degree day.
P.S. If you’re looking for something dog-friendly, there’s a free-of-charge side to Barton Springs that allows dogs (a lot of locals, call it “Barkin’ Springs”).
Go Kayaking/SUPing/Canoeing on Town Lake
One of the favorite pastimes in Austin, all three are great exercise, loads of fun for everyone of (almost) all ages, pet-friendly, and a great exposure to the beauty of Austin (both nature and the skyline). There are plenty of Kayak and Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) rentals along the Town Lake Trail and if you don’t see one, a quick Google search will definitely yield many results quickly.
Visit Zilker Park
What’s better than a picnic at a park? A picnic at a giant park in the heart of Austin, that’s what! Zilker Park (the home of Barton Springs) is another iconic location of the city. With concerts throughout the year, free (or donation-based) yoga sessions, places to swim, restaurants nearby, and beautiful shade trees, Zilker Park is a park-lover mecca. It’s totally free and normally has great parking. How better can you relax on a budget? Grab a picnic, grab some friends, grab you dog (or your friend’s dog), and have a great time.
Visit A Famous Overlook
This list could continue on for a long time with all the things to do in Austin, especially outdoors, but I end this list with those sometimes-overlooked gems: the overlooks. The two that I tend to visit and bring my guests to are the 360 Bridge Overlook and Mt. Bonnell, both amazing options with a short hike and an amazing view (if you know of more please leave a comment for others to see). Both of these places are outdoors, beautiful, fun, and have a great view of the city. Catch one of these at sunrise and you’re in for a real treat.
City life gets more expensive by the month. Now it’s the New Year and you’re short for cash. You’ve paid your credit card and apartment bills and now you’re counting the pennies. Texas, especially Austin, is becoming a place for the rich and not the poor. Trying to figure out how to live the high life on a budget is an age-old question. Luckily, students are the masters of this art, they have to be. Here is how to live in Austin on a budget.
Learn the Secret Menu at Fast Food Chains
No-one really wants to have to eat fast food, unless you’re yearning comfort food. It’s convenient and comparably cheaper than a sit-down restaurant. However, the secret menu at these institutions could actually spare you some dimes too. Note: not all branches participate but there is no harm in trying.
Located not far from West Campus and Downtown, near the Perry-Castañeda Library on the UT Austin Campus, is Wendy’s. I know the secret menu works here for sure, and it is very convenient for students. The secret menu item is known as ‘4 for $4 or four for four’, it gives you chicken nuggets, a choice of a chicken sandwich or a burger, fries and a drink. It’s really good value as a filler meal. This has saved me those precious pennies so I recommend you do the same.
Subscribe to Store Loyalty Programs
This is an amazingly simple way to save some money. Oftentimes, for example in CVS, there is a different price for whether you have a card or not. Sometimes the discounts might not seem like a bargain, but it all adds up.
Additionally, as a side-note — most of these grocery stores have reduced zones where you can buy food near expiry. Mostly, these items aren’t perishable and can be eaten days after expiry. Try those stands to save on the biscuits or cleaning supplies that otherwise would be too expensive.
Avoid Eating Out
As tempting as Pluckers might be on West Campus, or any of the Downtown or Drag restaurants might be — they will undoubtedly shrink your bank balance. For the health of your pocket and your body, cook more. We all use the excuse that we haven’t got any time, the answer to that is simple — meal preparation.
On the weekend, cook all the meals for the week and freeze them so you can just reheat and consume.
That was my take on living in Austin on a budget, there are definitely more ways but these are the basics to get you started.
Austin is the undisputed ‘live music capital of the world’ and its nightlife tends to completely represent this fact. The city of Austin has always attracted the most diverse crowd to celebrate the night in the heart of central Texas. There’s much more to do in Austin than party the night away, while that is the main attraction, there are 5 things you should try and do whilst in Austin at night.
If you’ve come to Austin for live music, and you’re not in town for ACL or SXSW then look no further than The Sidewinder. Class acts from all over the Southern states perform on a weekly basis. The best part and the reason it is number one on this list, is that it’s open to anyone older than 18.
The Sidewinder is located on 7th and Red River, not far from University of Texas and downtown Austin. It’s perfect for letting off some steam and listening to the best that Austin has to offer.
Under the Congress Avenue bridge, in the summer time bats emerge at night time to fulfill their nocturnal nature and they are quite the spectacle. They attract tourists and residents alike in swathes to witness the largest public display of these wonderful creatures. Located a short bus ride from UT student hub, west campus and minutes’ walk from the heart of downtown Austin — you will not want to miss this opportunity while the animals are still prominent.
This is the start of two vantage points of the city and I separate them for good reason. This first area is secluded and unlike the other one, has been least photographed. If you want to see the city lights from an elevated standpoint and be one of few to experience such beauty so close up; Lookout Point is the place for you. Located in the depths of Zilker Park, it is minutes from Mopac Freeway and on the southwest intersection between the west campus and downtown areas.
The unofficially named ‘360 point’ is located near the Pennybacker Bridge and the N Capitol of Texas Highway. It provides a scenic look over Austin Country Club and the Colorado River, a must see whilst in Austin, by day or by night.
Austin’s Poetry Slam
Located at the Spiderhouse which is north campus near Guadalupe St, the Austin Poetry Slam has a renowned history at enthralling Austin’s population. Perfect for the small outing to feel like you’re embracing the city in all its glory.
Go out and explore Austin, it’s waiting on you.
Austin is increasingly becoming the heart of Texas culture, with Houston and Dallas over spilling by the year; Austin is fast developing into a creative and colorful environment in which to surround yourself. There are tons to do away from the basic tourist sites such as the Capitol or Graffiti Park, as exciting as they are, they aren’t sustainable sources of fun and entertainment. This post will explain some fun parts of Austin, that will keep you satisfied for all your time in the Texas state capital.
Zilker Metropolitan Park
Zilker Metropolitan Park is an integral part to Austin lifestyle, located on Southern tip of the city. There is multitude of things to do while you’re basking in the sun. This 350-acre plot is located a few bus stops downtown Austin so your apartment is never too far away. Barton Springs Pool is a must visit during the warm winter months, the open water environment is great for socialising whilst cooling off all-in-one. Feeling more adventurous? You can try some water sports on the Lady Bird Lake or go for a bike ride along one of the many trails around the large green space available.
Austin City Limits is a festival that takes place in early October at Zilker Park, it draws in artists such as Martin Garrix, Ice Cube and Jay Z. The Austin community love when it comes around and it’s one for the calendars for sure.
Students love to get into the football spirit even if they’re not the biggest sports fans. The UT Longhorns are a spectacle to see. The Darrel K Royal Stadium seats over 100,000 people, according to the Texas Sports website; which means you’ll be more than welcome amongst the crowds. Located on East Campus, the hub of off campus apartments is within walking distance as well as other apartments near UT Austin. The atmosphere is electric and you become enthused with the quality of football and the performance the UT Longhorns create for their loving fans.
School work taking a toll on your social life? Had enough of being stuck in the book, around the apartments that surround UT Austin? Look no further than 6th Street for the best time of your life. Scattered with bars and music clubs, you’ll be overwhelmed with the possibilities. Best part is that the bus network that connects campus to the rest of Austin takes you to 6th Street and back.
There you have it, a list of how to entertain yourself when you get bored of the apartment lifestyle. Although it’s fun, sometimes we all need to escape and explore our surroundings; now you have no excuse.
Jokingly referred to by some as The People’s Republic of Austin - The place where locals encourage one another to keep it weird and nothing seems to stay complacent for long. Home of the University of Texas, the South by Southwest festival (SXSW), Fortune 500 companies alongside home-grown business, a ton of live music venues, festivals celebrating everything from kites to beer to dogs, and enough hike-and-bike trails to make any outdoor sport enthusiast happy, the City of the Violet Crown has a lot going for it.
Need more convincing? Consider this:
1. We Have The Jobs
Ranked #9 on Business Insider’s “Top Best Big Cities for Educated Millennials,” the City of Austin has a lot to offer in terms of job placement. Tech jobs make up a large employment cornerstone in this city, with major employers including UT Austin, Texas State, Apple, Hewlett Packard, eBay, GM, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Visa, and Blizzard Entertainment operating in and around the area. But this city doesn’t live and die by the tech industry alone; biotechnology companies, startups, and pharmaceutical organizations also make a big impression on the city’s employment geography, as do the Fortune 500 companies like Whole Foods Market and Dell.
This next-level job market can work with various professional skill levels, from a young educated professional looking for an exciting industry to break into or a college student hunting for a prime internship, the professional opportunities in Austin cannot be overstated. There are also few affordable apartments near downtown that you can choose from for those who prefers to live where most of the action and activities are.
2. A Plethora of Culture
“Keep Austin Weird.” The unofficial slogan of the city started out as a way for civic-minded residents to express their concerns over rapid area growth and development, and has since evolved to include the preservation of local businesses and events. Oddly enough, the phrase also captures the odd variety of culture and nightlife contained within the city limits. Offering nearly 200 music venues and advertising itself as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin has more music venues per capita than any other city in the U.S. and also hosts the annual South by Southwest festival. But if live music alone doesn’t sound appealing enough, Austin also boasts zoos, theaters, museums, and a host of festivals from Austin Gay Pride and Spamarama to Carnival Brasileiro and the O. Henry Pun-Off. Basically, boredom won’t be ever be an option in this town.
3. Take It Outside
Whoa, boy, where to start? Zilker Park, Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail, Shoal Creek, Dinosaur Park, Mount Bonnell, Barton Springs Pool, the Cathedral of Junk, countless trails… the City of the Violet Crown practically screams at residents and guests to come explore the great outdoors, especially those people who might shy away from such an invitation. Take Barton Springs Pool, for example. The spring-fed pool with a usual standing temperature of 68 degrees just begs swimmers to jump in and enjoy (fair warning: this place is also nudity optional). If swimming doesn’t sound appealing, there’s also Lady Bird Lake, which offers paddle boarding on the water and a hike and bike trail around its perimeter. And the 351-acre Zilker Park, aside from being a huge place to walk and explore, hosts some of the city’s outdoor culture festivals.
4. Did We Mention the Benefits?
Right, so let’s set aside the professional offerings, the massive amount of culture, and the outdoor activities for a moment and ask the big question: What exactly are the benefits of living in Austin?
Well, for one thing, there’s the politics. In a state known for being almost entirely red, Austin is one of the isolated blue spots and sports a “live and let live” philosophy as evidenced through the low taxes, business-friendly environment, and general open-minded approach to day-to-day life (i.e. the Barton Springs nude-optional swimming). Austin cuisine has claims to fame for its barbeque, queso, stuffed avocados (really), and food trucks, but balances that out by being one of the fittest cities in the country thanks to yoga enthusiasts, all those hike-and-bike trails, and the walkability of the city itself. And while Austin has no professional sports teams, they do have the University of Texas Longhorns, minor league baseball and basketball, and roller derby. Oh, and dog owners will find the city very receptive to Man’s Best Friend with its dog parks and fairs.