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 apartments, 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.