With the music industry, print media and the economy all struggling (to put it mildly), I imagine there are a lot of people in Austin trying to pinch pennies however they can. At least, I am. Now, I don't want to be a piker when it comes to bringing home music and souvenirs, but as for the essentials--beer, food and parking--I'm going to pretend my expense account doesn't exist. Because it doesn't.
It's too early to tell how realistic a goal it is to be thrifty. Music festivals are usually a great way to hemorrhage money, but there are several parties offering free beer and food in Austin during SXSW, and this year is no exception. If nothing else, I've got a few energy bars and my swag bag included a snack-size "nutrition bar" and some gum.
Earlier in the evening yesterday I lucked out of paying for parking while I picked up my badge. A line of cars were parked along the I-35 northbound on-ramp at 6th Street. It looked completely illegal, but I was optimistic that if I got back fast enough I could get away with it. Sure enough, no ticket an hour and a half later. Didn't manage to find any free food, so I splurged on East Side Pies for myself and the friend who's putting me up for the festival. They serve amazing crispy-crust pizza that was worth every cent.
Later I found a spot off 7th Street a few blocks east of the highway. Totally worth the hike. So far so good. Today, my first full day here, I begin foraging.
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Total spent: $24.75 on a large pie plus tip.