Author Archives: Simrat Sharma

Free Yoga by Art of Living Austin

Post by Simrat Sharma

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Motivate Yourself for Free!

Mother's inspiration. Photo by Gold41, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Mother's inspiration. Photo by Gold41, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

I know that cheesy motivational speakers can work wonders in their own stead. But you don’t have chant a juvenile acronym to make you feel like you need to make some significant changes in your life. All you need is a little nudge and some good advice. Here is some free (and useful!) advice for certain specific topics.

  • BiGAUSTIN is a non-profit organization in Central Texas for promoting entrepreneurial education, providing business counseling specific to you as well as flexible loans. They micro-lend to small start-ups and have an annual business competition for people with a sustainable idea that could thrive in the region. Check out the winners of the 2009 BiG Idea Business Competition. BiGAUSTIN has free workshops and classes in Borrowing Basics and Start-Ups on a regular basis. Their next free session is on Friday, May 1. Details about the event are here. Directions from UT campus here.

More after the jump!

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Dancing With the Stars!

In Flight Entertainment, Austin Dancer, Photo by loudtiger, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

In Flight Entertainment, Austin Dancer, Photo by loudtiger, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

No, I don’t mean the stars from the hit tv series but you, yes, you sitting and reading this post right now! Dancing is a wonderful art, a great way to meet new people and learn a little more about other cultures. Here is the best part: Austin has a whole bunch of cheap, even free, ways to get your groove on!

Austin Uptown Dancing has a free workshop on April 30th in two step, swing and salsa. No partners are necessary. A Jack and Jill competition on April 26th for dance partners who want to challenge their lead and follow skills is a great opportunity for people who already have some dancing experience. Entry fee is only $2 per person. Check out other upcoming events at Uptown here.  Their weekly events include lots of workshops and classes and almost all of them are no more than $6-7! Here are maps to their North and South locations.

Austin Swing Syndicate is a great resource for swing lovers. It is a non-profit community of dancers and they promote swing, lindy and hip hop dancing in Austin. I personally think swing dance is the most fun for groups and couples because it is simple and the music is upbeat and cheerful. It is a great beginners dance too. With an annual membership of only $25 with the Syndicate, you can get free classes every Thursday. Their events have entry fees of only $2-5. See their calender here. Also, see some reviews about it at Yelp.

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Do it Yourself, Austin!

I’m sure you’ve heard that some of the best things in life come for free. Since we have dedicated this blog to helping you find those free and wonderful things, here is an idea you may be familiar with. Do It Youself! Exactly, pick up that hammar, gardening hose or baking tray and get to work because there is nothing like doing a home or work-related project on your own and even better, save the money you would have paid someone else to do it. Remember, moved saved is money earned!

Kids at Home Depot, Photo by patterbt, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Kids at Home Depot, Photo by patterbt, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

After the jump, check out some useful websites that will make your life more fulfilling and leave your wallets a tad heavier.

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Cheap Gas Prices

Low Gas Prices, photo by Tim Patterson, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Low Gas Prices, photo by Tim Patterson, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Although gas prices are on the low, it is one of the major expenses for anyone who has a vehicle. SUV and truck drivers have an even harder time filling up the tank without making a giant dent in their monthly expenses. Here are some ways you can save gas in Austin:

  1. Check Austin Gas Prices to be aware of the lowest prices at gas stations closest to you. The site maintains an up-to-date list of the lowest regular gas prices in the last 36 hours, along with maps and directions to the stations. There is a also a corresponding list for the highest regular gas prices in the last 36 hours. All prices are entered by ordinary Austin residents and it is a great way to rally as consumers and save on gasoline expenses.

There are also several forums and polls on the site for residents to discuss gas and transportation related queries and legislation.

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Austin’s Indie Coffee Shops

Soy Latte by BrittanyBush, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Soy Latte by BrittanyBush, Flickr. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Before coming to the States, I hated coffee. I could not fathom why people would torture themselves with espresso shots and macchiatos when there were sweeter alternatives like hot chocolate or tea. Being Indian, I’ve always loved chai and the only coffee-based drink I ever had were the sugar-loaded frappuccinos from Starbucks. But living in Austin for nearly three years has made me a 360 degree convert. Lattes are now an integral part of my life. Recently, I have been on a quest to get cheaper coffee when I found myself spending a fortune on my caffeine fix.

I found several independently owned coffee places which served larger portions, had friendlier staff and cost much lesser than the larger chains. A decent-sized, regular latte at these places costs around 2 dollars lesser than the same amount at the bigger coffee chains.  For people who pick up coffees outside on a regular basis, that translates to about $450 savings per year overall!

Here are some places I like/have been recommended to visit:

  • La Tazza Fresca is a quaint, little place on Guadalupe and 37th and makes the most amazing mocha shakes! Their drinks are cheaper than those sold by the larger coffee chains and their ambiance is much prettier. I really liked the music they played the last time I went and best of all, they are open till 2am everyday! They have free wifi and if you like hookah, they have that too (I’m not trying to make you a decadent, I swear!) Get map and directions from the UT campus here.

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Austin City-Wide Garage Sale

If you like vintage clothing, chintz and antiques, plan to up early on Saturday, April 25, because it might just be worth the while. The Austin City-Wide Garage Sale, organized by The Vintage Market and Events Company, is held once a month at the new-and-fancy Palmer Events Center. The next sale is the weekend of April 25th.

If you have a house or apartment full of stuff you don’t use, make some easy money while making your living space clutter-free! If you want to find some good deals on quality, second-hand goods belonging to people within the city, indulge in some guilt-free shopping! Everyone wins!

Photo by Sharon Kay11, Flickr. Coffee Table from Austin Garage Sale. CC 2.0 Attribution.

Photo by Sharon Kay11, Flickr. Coffee Table from Austin Garage Sale. CC 2.0 Attribution.

I was a garage sale skeptic once but I went to UT Austin’s Trash to Treasure garage sale at the end of last summer and found all the furniture that now sits in my living room. I have now turned over a new leaf. If you navigate your way intelligently through these thrifty carnivals, you can find some surprisingly chic but cheap stuff. If you don’t believe me, check out what Ana Louise, a fellow Austinite, found at the garage sale when she went in March. She says it all on her blog, Grown-Up Shoes. Other people interested in memorabilia found old photographs at the sale.

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