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How do you save money living in a town that is begging to be explored? It’s easier than you might think.

Lindsey Mills
August 28, 2018

Moving is expensive, even when your jobs offer moving bonuses, even when you make a sincere effort to budget accordingly, even when you move to a place where the cost of living is not outrageous.

When you pick up your life and plant it somewhere new, it’s going to bite at your bank account. Deposits, moving trucks, furniture ... it all adds up fast.

Our excitement about moving overshadowed a lot of rational thought. We fell in love with a house that was outside of our original budget. We spent a lot of money trying new restaurants and cafes. We bought things to transform our house into a home. We went out with co-workers and new friends because after long work days, we were desperate for some time to kick back and relax.

All of those things have been worth spending the extra money, but it isn’t a sustainable way of living. We realized quickly that we need to make a change, and that started with re-evaluating our spending habits.

First, we said, “No more eating out.” That lasted all of 24 hours, because the next day we’d go grab dinner after work at a restaurant on Brookside. Next, we said, “We need a budget.” A week later, we would look dumbly at our bank accounts and wonder where all the money went. Finally, we told ourselves, “We won’t buy anything nonessential until our credit cards are paid off.” We work in retail, so I don’t even have to tell you how that one went.

New coffee shops, great breweries, and special events are incessantly calling our names. We blame you, Tulsa, for being so cool.

How do we save money living in a town that is begging for us to explore? We answered that question with a decision to, at least for a little while, only entertain ourselves with things that are free, or at least mostly free.

With parks all along the way, you can ride, run, or walk all day long on the Greenway Trail System without getting bored.
With parks all along the way, you can ride, run, or walk all day long on the Greenway Trail System without getting bored.

We started doing some research. We asked around, questioning our co-workers and customers about their favorite free activities in Tulsa. We even Googled ‘free events in Tulsa.’ We followed Tulsa social media accounts and kept our eyes peeled for taglines that used the word ‘free.’ An invitation to anybody and everybody with no cover charge attracts us like bees to pollen.

So, how do you find out what’s happening in the 918? Here are a few tips.

Ask somebody
I’ve found that native Tulsans like to talk about Tulsa. Everyone has something good to say about it, and I love it. Ask your cashier at the grocery store. Ask your co-worker. Ask the barista at the local coffee shop. Ask the guy in line with you at the coffee shop. Even if you’re a social butterfly, with all the things going on in this town, there’s a 99.9 percent chance that someone knows about events happening that you don’t. Ask around. You may even hear about something you’ve never heard of but would really like to try.

This Week In Tulsa on Instagram
This has been a great tool for searching for what’s going on in the upcoming days that we might’ve missed via other means of traditional media. This platform does a great job at updating its followers on different kinds of events in the area just before they’re happening, so it’s great for last-minute planning when you have an unexpected day off.

Preview 918 Online
Clearly, you picked up this magazine because you hoped it would give you some ideas about the area and what you might be missing out on. I singled Preview 918 out because I appreciated all of the localized coverage on the area and, being a newbie, I needed help. The site gives a terrific overview of what, when, and where everything is happening in Tulsa.


Four Suggestions for Having Fun Without Breaking the Bank

Guthrie Green:  I’m sure most Tulsa residents know about this perfect little park downtown, but I think very few Tulsa residents take proper advantage of it. I come from a smaller town where there isn’t anything like this park. Soak it up, Tulsa. Free concerts, movie nights, a splash pad, fitness camps … it’s all there for the taking.

The Greenway Trail System:  If you read my last article, you know I think Tulsa’s Greenway system is top-notch. This amazing trail system is worth the second shoutout. With parks all along the way, you can ride, run, or walk all day long without getting bored. Grab a friend, take a picnic, play some disc golf, snap pictures of the river, read in the shade, and just enjoy this pedestrian paradise.

Woodward Park:  Words won’t do this garden justice. Whether you need a beautiful background for some photos or just a stunning backdrop for an afternoon read, this is the place. I was surprised to find it uncrowded on a lovely day. Take advantage of this sprawling park by going for a stroll or lounging under the trees. And it’s pet friendly as well.

Just Hang Out:  You must have heard by now that ‘hammocking’ is officially a verb. Hammocks make it super easy to kick back and relax anywhere you can find two trees. In your backyard or at a park, grab a book, some music, a movie, or whatever floats your boat to enjoy the (hopefully) cooler temps that September brings.

I want to hear your suggestions, whether you’re a native Tulsan or a newbie like us. We want to know where to hang out, pig-out, shop ’til we drop, and everything in between. If you know a place with a great story, share it with us so we can go check it out.

Every day is an adventure with our little family, and I’m sharing our story because I think some people can relate. Follow us on Instagram and/or search #TakenWithTulsa or #NewInTtown to check out our latest adventures as we seek out new experiences and share our advice on how to embrace Tulsa.