How To Live In Boulder On A Budget While Having A Blast

Lindsay Hayden | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Views from the Red Rocks Trail
An elusive Lindsay enjoying views of Boulder from the top of the Red Rocks Trail.

So, you’re a broke college gal working an unpaid internship whilst living in Boulder, Colorado. Oh wait…That’s just me. I’ve been living in Boulder with practically zero personal income for four months now. Needless to say, I’ve had some major highs along with some major lows. From hiking up The Flatirons and feeling on top of the world to nearly burning my apartment down while trying to cook (not once but three times), looking back I guess I’ve gained some valuable knowledge along the way (and some ridiculous stories). So if you’re thinking about trekking out to Boulder, below I’ve chronicled some of my most basic and best tips on how to save money while having a really freaking good time!

  • First off, get a backpack…

    • This piece of advice is essential to budgeting and adventuring. I use my trusty Montbell Rose Pack for everything, whether it’s carrying my groceries (10 cents per grocery bag used here in Boulder) or accompanying me on a hike. At this point, it’s safe to say that I’m attached to my little yellow backpack.
A girl and her backpack.
Me and my trusty backpack on one of our many adventures.
  • If you’re willing to live with a roommate, do it!

    • While living in Boulder can be uber expensive, if you find somebody to bunk up with rent becomes much more do-able. Don’t worry there is no shortage of people in this town, so finding a roomie is a snap!
    • If you’re looking for a place to live, I suggest scoping out The Hill. This location is a popular place for CU students to live so prices aren’t too bad, and it’s proximity to amazing restaurants, bars, and trails is unbeatable.
  • Get a bike and a bus pass.

    • I got my bike for $80 at a bike swap at Fat Kitty Cycles right on Arapahoe Ave. I decided to purchase a second-hand bike and I’ve used it a few times a day, everyday for four months without any issues. Also, you’re going to need a lock to keep your set of wheels safe; bikes DO get stolen around here (I recommend a sturdy U-shaped lock with keys).
    • I also purchase a monthly bus pass ($90 per month) because I sweat too much to be able to ride my bike to work, and on rainy days it’s a lifesaver. I’m a huge advocate of the Boulder bus system; the buses usually come every fifteen minutes and there are a ton of stops all over town so you’re never more than a 5 minute walk to your pickup destination. Side note: If you’re riding the bus I highly recommend the Transit App and the RTD-Denver website for easy ways to check bus schedules.
  • Nightlife for a poor ski bum…

    • Sundown Saloon- This little dive bar has unbeatable deals for when you’re ready to let loose on the weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights slug back $4 Redbull Vodkas and $1 Kamikazi shots. And if you’re just having a rough week, “The Downer” serves up $6 PBR pitchers everyday.
    • The Sink- Nothing beats Monday nights at one of the oldest bars in Boulder, with the opportunity to get a 25 cent shot if you win the coin toss. If not for the drinks, go for the history because the wacky murals, low ceilings, and fun atmosphere make The Sink a great time and a great deal. (Look for my name on the ceiling).
The bar at The Sink in Boulder, CO.
The Sink has been open since 1923. Photo courtesy of The Sink.
  • Take advantage of all the free concerts and activities.

    • Go on a hike.
      • The best thing about Boulder is that you have access to a ton of great hikes right in town. Chautauqua Park, the Flatirons, and Mount Sanitas are all great choices, and are conveniently located close to The Hill and Pearl Street
    • Bands on the Bricks
      • Located right on Pearl Street, the line up is different every week
    • Thursday Night Cruiser Rides
      • Meet up at the Scott Carpenter Pool every Thursday to bike through town with some of the coolest people in Boulder
    • Rocky Mountain Anglers’ Free Fly-Fishing Classes
      • A beginner’s class at the Rocky Mountain Anglers fly shop is FREE! At these classes you learn all the basics, from casting to tying knots
    • The Boulder County Farmer’s Market
      • Every Wednesday and Saturday boogie on down to Canyon and Arapahoe for local treats, live music, and a food truck frenzy
    • Facebook
      • If you need some to-do suggestions, search “Boulder Events” on Facebook and you’ll get fast and fun results for local happenings
    • Bumble
      • For a good time…Get on Bumble (it’s popping in Boulder), especially if you don’t know that many people around here. See if anyone suits your fancy, chat ’em up, go out on the town for a date, and potentially get a free meal (if your date wants to pay)…

Boulder is by far one of the best places for living and adventuring on a budget! Learning how to budget takes time, and once you’re settled you’ll have a better idea of where you can cut corners. But first you need to get out here…Save up your spare change and book a flight because this is the place where you want to be if you’re looking for a good time, an active community, and a never ending list of things to do!

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