Denver Art Museum

9 Ridiculously Easy Tips On How to Save Money in Denver

Denver is not a cheap city. In fact, it’s still surprising to me that so many people still believe that it is. Denver should be considered a high cost of living city, fortunately, there a ridiculous number of ways to save on events/resources/and activities in town. I won’t touch housing costs in this blog post (we’ll save that for another day). If you’ve been wondering how to save money in Denver-it’s not too hard. In fact, it’s possible to save money while living in Denver and I’m excited to show you some of the ways that I watch my money and still have a great time living in Denver.

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How to Stay Fit in Denver

Without going broke! There are an endless number of ways to stay fit in Denver and attend your favorite fitness classes without going broke. Here is a short-list of strategies that I use.

  • Attend Civic Center Moves Classes! These are free classes held all year around in Civic Center Park. During the winter, they are held inside. Then, around the end of May/beginning of June, the classes move outdoors. Participants do have to fill out a waiver, but that’s to be expected. Classes include: yoga, yoga cross, and hip hop fitness. Also, The November Project hosts a workout every Wednesday morning in conjunction with Civic Center Moves.
  • Use Classpass-I am obsessed with Classpass because I get bored with my workouts. How it works, users choose the subscription that works best for them. Then, they sign up for the different fitness classes they’re interested in. You can use Classpass across the United States. I love this because I travel pretty frequently. My current favorite class is a hip hop fitness class called Groov3 held at PassionForce studio in the Baker neighborhood. New users get $30 credited towards your new subscription when you sign up with my affiliate link.

  • Run Clubs-These are hosted around the city and are typically based out of restaurants or bars. They are free and oftentimes have free refreshments after your run. Bring cash though, because you’ll most likely end up purchasing a drink.

Ibotta

Savings apps are all the rage. But, one of my favorites is Denver-based Ibotta. Users are able to save on the following:

  • Groceries
  • Booze
  • Retail
  • Amazon

And, every new user gets $10 towards their first $20 payout when they redeem their first savings within a few weeks of downloading the app.

How Ibotta works:

  • Download the app Play Store (Android) or the Apple App Store for Iphone users.
  • Check out the app and see which retailers are included. My favorites are: Safeway, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. Hey, I like to eat!
  • Then, I begin checking out the savings for the store that I intend to shop at next. Typically, in order to access savings offers you will answer short questions, watch a SHORT video, or view an information page about a product.
  • Once you go shopping make sure to check your app so that you don’t forget to pick up your items.
  • Scan those items as you put them in your cart. There is bar at the top of the app that has a barcode icon on the left-hand side. When you touch that the “Scan Product Barcode” screen will open up. You want to do this so that you can make sure that you can redeem that savings, every once in awhile a savings can’t be redeemed. This is unusual, but, it just will save some aggravation for later.
  • Either at the store, or right when you get home, upload your savings. Basically, this means scan your receipt and items that you saved on into the app. You want to do this as soon as you get home, or you’ll forget.

Free Days

Thanks to the SCFD (Scientific and Cultural Facilities District) that Denver voters approved for another 12 years until…2028. This is great because we’ve approved a tiny percentage of sales tax towards arts and culture. What does this mean? Denver (and surrounding counties) have money for the arts!

And, free days.

I love free days because they give access to museums, festivals, and other art focused events to all residents. Here is a short-list of free days to check out. Please note: you will need to show that you’re a resident of one of the counties upon admission.

  • Denver Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Denver Art Museum
  • The Denver Zoo
  • The Botanic Gardens (Chatfield and Denver)
  • $10 tickets at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (basically, that’s free for theater)

Here’s a link to check out free days throughout the year.

South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market

My current favorite farmer’s market in Denver is the South Pearl Street location. I just love the atmosphere and the energy. It feels like there is something for everyone as you walk up and down the street.

My favorite stall to save offers a $10 all you can stuff bag of goodies. The only downside, the veggies and fruits at this stand are shipped in from all over, but if you’re looking to save-this is an incredible way to eat fresh throughout the summer. The best deals happen at the end of the year as the bulk of the harvest starts to come come in.

By the way, there is an ART to stuffing the bag.

Ego CarShare

I LOVE this non-profit! There are a ton of different car share programs that have a presence in the Denver/Boulder metro area. I decided to go with a locally based company because I felt like I wouldn’t get lost in the crowd.

The experience with Ego CarShare has been fantastic and it’s been super easy to use.

Why did I decide to go with a car share program? There were several reasons.

  • To save money-In addition to running Square State, I also run a website about personal finance. Currently, I am paying off debt and using a car share gives me access to a car while reducing my transportation costs by thousands of dollars a year. Previously, I had a paid off car, but it still cost around $350 a month to own it after factoring in insurance, gas, maintenance, and random stuff.
  • Reduce my carbon foot print-Yep, I think about stuff like that. But, I grew up in Boulder.
  • Simplify my life-not owning a car has drastically simplified my life. I don’t worry about parking, maintenance, hail damage, etc.
  • Public transit-I actually use it and am within walking distance of three light rail stops.

How to Use Ego Car Share

It’s actually super easy. Once you sign up, you will need to pick up a key fob from either downtown Denver or somewhere in Boulder (depending on where you live).

You will reserve your car either via the app or website (I use the website). The cool thing about the reservation system is that cars are placed throughout the city. Your key fob will unlock the doors and clock you in and out of the car.

I’m very fortunate in that I have a car that is parked within 6 blocks of my house. But, sometimes I will pick up a car in Boulder or other parts of Denver depending on what’s going on, the weather, and the type of car available.

I believe that all of the cars are hybrids.

It will be easiest to live car free in Denver if you live along the light rail line or closer to downtown.

Facebook Events

There are so many cool events happening in Denver that it’s hard to keep up with them all-especially during the summer. Different businesses throughout town host free and inexpensive events as a way to connect with citizens, let people know who they are, and to get people into their retail spaces.

Past events that I’ve signed up for and discovered (free or discounted)

  • Denver Start Up Week
  • Puppy Yoga for $5
  • Yoga at Denver Milk Market
  • Free Tequila tastings
  • Concerts
  • Fitness classes

The Financial Independence Retire Early Community: F.I.R.E.

Previously, I mentioned that I am a personal finance blogger. Well, there is a really fun community of personal finance bloggers focused on what’s called: F.I.R.E.

For some reason, Colorado, in particular the Denver/Boulder metro area has become a hot bed of people who are hyper-focused on living well, while spending less, investing more, and enjoying their lives.

Bloggers such as:

The great thing about hanging out with the F.I.R.E. community, no one will make you feel weird for wanting to save and stretch your dollars.

Meetup.com

If you’ve been sleeping on joining Meetup and live in Denver (or, are moving here) sign up STAT. They have a ton of amazing communities that you can join for every interest that you may have.

If you’re looking to hike, grow a business, connect with a certain interest group-then, you need to be on Meetup. It’s a great way to build community and connect with new people-even if you’ve lived in Denver for years.

Denver Public Library

And, the Library of Things. I cannot rave enough about the Denver Public Library. I still may be sketched out by the main branch, but I continue to obsessively visit local branches throughout the city and near my house.

The library has a ridiculous amount of programming, access to wifi, and even the opportunity to rent out a podcast studio at one of the local branches.

Programming includes (but, isn’t limited) to the following:

  • A talk given by a forensic pathologist!
  • Conversations about personal finance
  • Play groups for kids (these are incredibly well attended)
  • Technology classes
  • Social Media Marketing

DPL does an incredible job of providing an endless amount of resources that enrich the lives of Denver citizens…and the services are basically free.

Now You Know How to Save Money In Denver!

You don’t have to go broke in Denver. Start using the above resources, strategies, and community spaces to begin saving money while living in Denver.

There are a number of other strategies and services that I didn’t share. Drop some of your favorite ways to save in the comments!

Want to Start a Blog?

Have you been thinking about starting a blog but not sure if you should? Want to shout out your favorite town, lifestyle ideas, or ways to save? What are you waiting for? Use Siteground to host your website. Not sure how to set up your self-hosted blog? Useh this free tutorial from Elite Blog Academy that will walk you through all of the steps. Can’t wait to read your blog!

save money in Denver
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10 Items for Your Next Trip to Denver

Until I went to college in New York State I was always confused by the fact that everyone thought that Denver was in the middle of the mountains. That it was always snowing and that it was endlessly cold. It really confused me, until I was watching the news one day and finally figured it out. Denver always gets the tight shot on the news. Then, there is an epically beautiful panned shot of the mountains. I finally got it, people are convinced that Denver is in the mountains.

Plan a Trip to Denver

Denver is not in the mountains. On your trip to Denver you’ll find this out.  In fact, it’s about an hour’s (fast) drive to the base of the mountains. I thought I should warn you. That said, when you visit there are some very important items that you should bring or you’ll find yourself running around town trying to buy stuff instead of enjoying yourself.

Water Bottle

Denver, Boulder and all points West are a minimum of 5,280 feet above sea level. The air is dry, crisp, and arid. You will see people (who live here) walking around with bottles of water EVERYWHERE. With good reason. It’s freaking dry here and you are at risk of dehydrating. Coloradans will kindly advise, remind, IMPLORE you to drink water while you are here because we know what can happen. Just believe me and pack a nice Collapsible Water Bottle * for your trip. You’ll thank me later.

Backpack

You will see people with backpacks everywhere. In fact, it seems as if everyone is running, walking fast, or biking while carrying who knows what in their backpacks. I used to carry lunch, my exercise gear, and my water bottles in my backpack. As well as a change of shoes. Be prepared for fun hikes in the mountains, long walks around town, and day trips to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll be happy that you brought your backpack when you visit. You’ll also be somewhat bemused by your friends newfound enthusiasm for all of these activities since they moved to Colorado.

Chapstick and Lotion

I’ve already warned you that you should drink lots of water while here. I failed to mention that your skin will be incessantly dry, and that your lips will immediately be leached of all moisture upon exiting Denver International Airport. Your lips will then begin to crack with hours of roaming around which every beautiful city that you decide to visit. Your skin will be so dry that you will feel it becoming taught with the tightness that happens when your skin gets too dry. If you are from a humid environment you won’t know what hit you and it will be incredibly unpleasant. Bring lotion. That’s all I can tell you.

Sunblock and Sunglasses

It is sunny here. The kind of sunny that is referenced to in songs about California-even though we may get more sun. The sun on a hot day can hurt your eyes and make your skin burn. Remember we are at least a mile above sea level. Also, I don’t care what color you are-wear sunblock (especially if you move here) your skin and your future self will thank you.

Hiking Items

I can almost guarantee that you’ll be taken on at least one hike if you’re here for at least a week. Ask my friends!  Make sure you have the following items:

  • Garmin-In case you get lost.
  • Beanie*The weather in the mountains can change pretty quickly.
  • Fleece-You may get hot and cold during the same hike.
  • Hiking boots-Your feet will thank you.

Check your home to see what you already have, borrow from friends, or feel free to pick up these items so that you have a much more comfortable stay while your here. The non-negotiables are the lotion/chapstick/and sunglasses.

What Do You Wish You’d Brought With You

The Last Time You Visited?

 

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BCycle Station

B-Cycle Your Way Around Town

I am an avid bicyclist. Every since I started learning how to ride a bike when I was four, I’ve always enjoyed seeing life from two wheels. Colorado has a great competitive bike racing culture and a strong bike riding culture in general.

If you decide to visit Denver (or Boulder) during the warmer months  and enjoy riding your bike, you can take advantage of the B-Cycle bike sharing (rental) program. Throughout those two cities you will find a series of stations where you can pick up or return a bike that you rent and ride around town.

I would say that if you don’t know how to ride a bike have a friend work with you for awhile before unleashing yourself on our streets!

Here’s a B-Cycle Station

BCycle Station

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when riding your bike around town.

Denver specifically, seems to have a very high rate of hit and run accidents. It seems like every week there is a report of someone being hit crossing the street and subsequently killed by a driver that we can’t find.

Be Cautious!

Just exercise extreme caution when riding your bikes especially if you’re riding in the streets-even in the designated bike lanes.

Bring water, it is very, very dry in Colorado you risk dehydrating pretty quickly especially during summer. Keep a bottle of water with you and there is a cute little basket on your bike so you don’t have to worry about holding it while riding.

There are designated bike lanes on the roads, while my understanding is that other cities are a bit more bike friendly, I think that the biking culture is improving in Denver.

Tour De B-Cycle

I just learned about this when researching B-cycle for this post. You basically ride to all of the B-Cycle stations throughout the City and check into each one. You do win  a prize if you complete it and basically are pretty hardcore if you manage this. There are a ton of stations, so I’m pretty impressed by anyone who manages to do this. If you do, email and let me know!!

Biking your way around town is a fantastic way to see a city from a totally different angle. Whenever I’m riding my bike I discover: new coffee shops, new book stores, markets, and once I saw an eagle eating  a squirrel-really!

It just changes the pace of your trip and slows it down so that you can take in more than just the typical touristy things that you would normally seek out.

Seeing a city by bike allows you discover the hidden gems known about by residents, and not covered in tourist guides.

I hope you check out B-Cycle and spend a couple of days riding around town discovering what we have to offer.